Lately there have been quite a few memes popping up regarding food stamp usage in America. Most of them are shared by the ignorant and bigoted people who feel the need to try to shame people who are using such benefits.
Why they do this, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because it makes them feel better to put down those less fortunate than themselves. Maybe it’s because they are truly ignorant of what it’s like to be poor enough to have to use programs like these. Maybe it’s because they’ve been brainwashed by their favorite politician, news program or religious leader to think that people on welfare are lazy and selfish.
No matter what reason they use, the people who post these memes are the ones who are wrong. Wrong for not bothering – or outright refusing – to fact-check. Wrong for lacking compassion. Wrong for not using common sense.
The most recent meme that’s been floating around is the one complaining about restaurants accepting food stamps. Again, those posting it or “liking” it are guilty of not fact-checking and not using common sense.
Federal SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) policies allow each individual state to determine whether or not to allow food stamps to be used in a restaurant. Some states do, some don’t.
Now before you get your panties in a wad, or start screaming, “See, I told you so!”, there are a few things you should know about how it works, who qualifies, and the reasoning behind the policies.
You can’t just walk into any restaurant willy-nilly and use food stamps to pay for a meal. There are restrictions.
The restaurants have to be approved to accept food stamps. That approval isn’t handed out to just any restaurant. There has to be a reason that restaurant gets approval. Most of the time, it’s because it’s in an area where there are a high number of people who are qualified to use food stamps in restaurants, or in an area where there aren’t many other options for qualified food stamp users.
Then there are the qualifications for food stamp recipients. The only people who qualify are the elderly, disabled or homeless, and rarely, those who don’t have functioning equipment at their homes (refrigerator, stove).
According to the USDA website:
“With very few exceptions, SNAP benefits cannot be used in restaurants – less than one-tenth of one percent of SNAP benefits were used in restaurants in FY11. The law permits States to authorize restaurants to serve meals to some elderly, disabled, or homeless SNAP clients, who are unable to prepare meals at home. Only four States have chosen to do so.”
In the Pennsylvania SNAP handbook, section 503.3 describes what is and isn’t allowed:
SNAP benefits may also be used to pay for meals prepared and served by any of the following:
- Authorized meal-delivery services
- Communal dining facilities for the elderly or SSI households
- Rehabilitation centers for drug addicts or alcoholics
- Group-living units
- Shelters for battered women and children
- Authorized providers of meals for the homeless
- Authorized restaurants serving meals to the homeless, elderly, or disabled 7 CFR § 271.2(9)
Only homeless persons may use SNAP benefits in qualified restaurants. The CAO must issue a PA 2SP to the eligible client. The CAO must make the case record show that a PA 2SP was issued as a controlled document and include the name of the person in the household who is eligible for the qualified-restaurant program.
The reasons for allowing such provisions are because “homeless individuals don’t have kitchen spaces to cook meals, so buying unprepared foods at a grocery store may not be all that helpful. Those with disabilities might have a harder time cooking. And lastly, studies have shown that seniors are less likely to eat if they don’t get hot meals.” [source: Findlaw.com]
Anyone who disagrees with food stamps being used in this manner are also guilty of lacking compassion. If you continue to post these memes, do so at your own peril, because I will call you out on being willfully ignorant, bigoted, heartless assholes.
1. lacking in knowledge or training; unlearned: an ignorant man.
2. lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact: ignorant of quantum physics.
3. uninformed; unaware.
4. due to or showing lack of knowledge or training: an ignorant statement.
a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race.
When I was growing up, I thought my grandmother was the meanest woman on Earth. I don’t recall any good memories of her at all until I was around 19 or 20 years old. I have one funny memory of a time, while at my Aunt’s house, my cousins and I played a practical joke on my grandmother. The joke went smashingly well! The aftermath … not so well; we got into so much trouble for that one! But at least it was memorable.
I have fond memories of my grandfather, even though he died when I was 6 years old. I remember times spent at their little corner store, and a flash of a memory or two about times spent playing with my cousins in my grandparents’ backyard.
My grandmother moved to Arizona around 1980 when I was about 10 years old. I don’t even remember the occasion of her actually moving! I just remember that she lived in Tucson, and I had the worst time remembering how to spell that word.
Some time in the early 90′s, my grandmother came for a visit. She brought her “friend” with her – a man named Joe. I was living in my own place, and dating the man who would be my first husband. I remember my grandmother taking a bit of an interest in me and my life, and asking me to show her and Joe around town a bit. They both sat in the back of my car like teenagers while I drove them around. It was kinda cute.
The next memory I have of her is when she was quite ill, and came to live with my father for a period of time in the mid 90′s. I remember visiting a couple of times, and how miserably grumpy she was, and not wanting to visit with her much because of her bad mood.
She ended up moving back to Arizona, where she eventually died in 1998. By that time, I was 27, divorced from my first husband, in a committed relationship, and my Son was just over a year old. I don’t even remember if she met my Son, or even knew I had a child.
As you can see, I wasn’t very close to my grandmother at all. Most of what I know about her came from stories I heard after she died. I’ve learned a good bit more about her since I’ve started doing genealogy research, which ironically started because I found out her side of the family came from Native American ancestry. I wish I’d known that growing up, and had taken the time to talk to her about what she remembered.
I’ve discovered that she and I have very similar qualities to our personalities. We both have a love of learning. We are excellent typists. And looking back, I’m thinking she wasn’t mean as much as she was someone who embraced her inner bitch, just like I do. In fact, I think she’d be pretty damn proud of me if she knew the person I’ve become.
The best evidence I have for this conclusion are the letters I uncovered while going through old photo albums. It looks like my grandmother was also an activist, in her own right! And that makes me grin from ear to ear!
The Case of the Missing Bandshell and Broken Lights
a.k.a. – The Verbal Bitchslap My Grandmother Gave the Mayor of Wilmington DE
Rockford Park is in Wilmington Delaware. It is one of the sites for the Summer Concert Series – free concerts in the park during the summer. This was something my grandparents enjoyed doing together in the late 1960′s.
There were some problems that occurred that must’ve made my grandmother downright furious, judging by the letters she wrote to the Mayor of Wilmington and the newspaper.
She received a note back from Mr. George Sargisson, on a membership letter, which is undated. The note at the bottom reads:
Many thanks to the [surname redacted] – thanks, too, for your letter to mayor, Frank, etc. It’s to the point & should get some positive results. Hope future concerts go OK & without a hitch.
George Sargisson -
Things didn’t go any smoother the following week, prompting my grandmother to show her skills at persuasive writing yet again. I may have to try this tactic some time in the future!
Finally, she received a reply from the mayor’s office. I must give proper kudos to the mayor’s Administrative Assistant, Allan C. Rusten, for a brilliant and funny reply!
Things seem to have been very different 40+ years ago … these days the typical kind of reply you’ll get from someone in office is a canned response that usually doesn’t even address your reasons for writing to them in the first place.
I’m also very impressed that the mayor remained calm and objective in his reply to my grandmother, even though he launched a bitchslap right back at her for her insinuation. (an insinuation that really pissed me off when I read it, thinking that not much has changed in 40 years when it comes to the vitriol aimed at those less fortunate)
And lastly, another written note from the Executive Director of RP&S, Wilmington DE. The note reads:
Thanks Mrs. [surname redacted], for showing Hal’s letter. You certainly got ‘em “moving” (slowly) – saw Hal yesterday at Rotary & told him that there were still 3 lights out! Hope remainder of concerts go well. Thanks again.
Incidentally, there was a write up about George T. Sargisson in 2007, about what he accomplished in Wilmington. There’s also a little bit at the end about the permanent bandshell that my grandmother was talking about. He appears to have been quite an extraordinary guy. I’m sure my grandparents were lucky to know him.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,700 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.
A dear friend of mine has a daughter who would really like to go on a trip to Europe with her Girl Scout troop. She’s been doing everything she can to raise the money for this trip, but could use a little help, as it’s pretty expensive. If anyone can help, even a little bit, you’d be giving this girl an opportunity of a lifetime! In her own words:
I have the opportunity of a lifetime. My Girl Scouts troop, 11132, is planning an educational trip to Europe. We will be visiting London, Paris, Rome, Florence, and Capri. My mom has been telling me how wonderful and important travel can be, and now I will get to find out for myself. To make this happen, I am working constantly on fund raising projects with my troop. We are busy almost every single weekend trying to supplement our trip. I even told my mom I am willing to give up every Christmas present and birthday gift from anyone, for the chance to make this dream happen. Opportunities like this may come only once in a lifetime. Will you help me to make this dream a reality? My trip will cost about 4000.00. That’s not too bad, considering it will be for 12 days and includes many famous places and museums. It includes my airfare, and most of my meals as well. I will try to send a postcard to every donor! I will also put together an online photo album of my trip, when I get back, so that you can share in my journey. For every 2 hours I am in Europe, it will cost about $25.00. If you would be willing to sponsor at least two hours of my trip, that would be amazing. If not, every little bit helps! Oh, and feel free to donate more if you want, or to sponsor a few hours as a birthday or Christmas gift. Thank you so much for supporting me in this opportunity. I may never get another chance like this, so to all those that want to help, Thank YOU!
If you can help at all, please click thru:
The past couple of weeks have been pretty rough for me. More than a few times I’ve been let down by several people. I normally keep up a bit of a wall so that I’m not so disappointed by others, but I started to break down that wall, and now I regret it.
The first time it was pretty minor. I belong to a FreeCycle group on Facebook. One of the group members expressed an interest in something I was giving away, and made an appointment to pick up the items. Then she never showed up. This occurred several times over the course of a week. When I finally told her that she had one last opportunity, or I’d put the item back up as available, she finally did show up to pick up the items. Not a big deal, but an annoyance.
The second time was with another person from the group. We arranged to meet at a place halfway between us at 7p. We waited … and waited … and waited. I called several times, left text messages, and never received any response. And this was after speaking to her at 6:30p to confirm our meeting. Luckily we didn’t waste any gas money, since we were already heading that direction, but we did waste a good bit of time. We waited over an hour before leaving the location. Later that night, I got a text message saying she’d had a medical emergency and went to the ER. She apologized profusely, and asked to schedule another time. After a week of messaging her and never getting a response (all the while she was responding to other posts in the group), I finally gave up trying.
The third disappointment came from a “friend” (and I use that term loosely now) who offered to sell me a TiVo she no longer wanted, and I desperately wanted. We agreed on a price, then we agreed on how to ship it and how she would receive payment. Very straightforward … she sends it COD, I pay for the item and shipping costs. No games; no worry that either one of us gets screwed in the deal. She tells me she’s sending it one day, but then doesn’t because of the weather. Ok, I can understand that; not a problem. She says she’ll send it the next day. Later the next night, I send her an email asking if it was sent. No reply. A week – and several emails later – and still no reply. But I know she’s still alive, since I see her posting stuff every day. I respond to one of her posts, asking her to check her email. I know she saw my comment, because she responded to it. But still no email. Nothing from the Post Office, either. This one really pisses me off since it concerns money. Thankfully I didn’t send her the money first, which is exactly what I was thinking about when I decided on having it shipped COD. But ya know, when you say you’re going to do something, at least have the fucking decency to do it or explain why you’re not. Don’t just leave someone hanging!
The final knife in my back happened a couple of days ago. A good friend of ours was in desperate need of financial help. Being who we are, my Husband and I decided we could pitch in and help our friend. We don’t have a lot, and we struggle financially most of the time, so we know what it feels like and try to help people in any way we can. We were in just such a position to help when our friend said he needed help, so we loaned him $100. A few days later, I noticed that he was distancing himself from us. I chalked it up to his feeling a sense of shame that he had to ask for help. But then he decided to pick a fight for no apparent reason. That’s when I realized exactly what he was doing – trying to dissolve a friendship, expecting that we’d just write him off and he wouldn’t have to pay us back. A couple of days, and a couple of conversations later, I had confirmation of this. And ya know what … KARMA is a big ol’ bitch! And I have a memory like a fucking elephant!
So, for the foreseeable future, my wall goes back up and The Bitch comes back out. I trust no one. I give money to no one. I don’t go out of my way to help anyone. I will fulfill any commitments I’ve already made, but I won’t be making any more for a very long time.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
“Behind every bitch is an asshole that made her that way.”
The doc just called to let me know the results of the Holter Event Monitor that I wore for a month. She said almost everything came back normal, but there was 1 instance recorded of a PAC, which could explain the sensations I’m having.
After reading a few things about it, it does sound pretty much like what I’m feeling. Everything I read says it’s normal, and that only in rare cases does it indicate something more serious.
But since there was only 1 instance of a PAC being recorded, does that put me back at square one, with still no official reason for the ER visit 2 months ago? Was the 1 recorded PAC a fluke, having nothing to do with anything? Or did the Holter Event Monitor just not catch it every time, and this really is the only thing “wrong” with my heart?
It doesn’t explain the shortness of breath, racing heartbeat, and the numbness on my right side the night I called for an ambulance. What caused those symptoms?
Should I pursue this further, or just let it go for now? I will have another appointment with my doc soon, and maybe by then I’ll have worked this all out, and will be able to come to a decision. For now, though, I’m filled with more questions than answers.
- Premature atrial contraction – Wiki
- Premature Atrial Contractions (PACs) – Cardiac Health
- Heart Rhythm Disorders – MedicineNet
- Causes of Premature Atrial Contractions – LiveStrong
- Premature Contractions – American Heart Assn.
- Heart Rhythm Disorders – WebMD
At the beginning of July of this year (2012), a Facebook group was started by a friend of mine (I’ll call him AF) and his two friends. The idea came about from a conversation between AF and his friends, to try to help people locally with some “free-cycling” and food collection/distribution for those in need.
About a week after the group was started, AF invited me to join, explaining what it was about. I loved the idea of a community coming together to help where Welfare, food banks and other charity services couldn’t or wouldn’t, and I was more than happy to help out wherever I could. Many people are turned away from services because they make “too much money” (she says while rolling her eyes). This group’s purpose was to fill in those gaps by people in our community.
After a few days, things started to get really organized, with several people in a 50 mile radius becoming drop-off/collection points, each with their own designated list of nearby towns. AF and I teamed up for our local area, since he has transportation at all times (I don’t), and I have storage space (he doesn’t). I was pretty excited to be helping out, especially since our family has been in that “gap” for quite some time, and I know how frustrating it can be to not have any money, yet not qualify for help.
Things went great for about 4-5 weeks. We still weren’t perfectly organized, but we’d started to gain members, and people were coming out of the woodwork to help, and to be helped. We made some emergency deliveries of food for a family that had nothing, and people were working together nicely to help each other out. Items were being posted that were available, and people were posting items they wanted (known as ISO=in search of, or INO=in need of).
Unfortunately, as these things so often go, people started abusing their privileges, and even worse, the admins running the group started abusing their power. I’d had some clues that this was coming, but I tried to ignore them, as I thought it was just “growing pains”.
The first clue was the apparent illiteracy of one of the admins. Sometimes it would take reading a post 2-3 times just to understand what she was trying to say. I kept my grammar nazi in check, because this was for a good cause, and I understand that some people have serious problems with spelling, grammar and punctuation. But as time went on, it started to bother me that the “face” of the group – the one everyone had to interact with – couldn’t communicate clearly.
The second clue was that both admins seem to revel in drama. Whether it was good, bad, angry, happy or sad, it was like watching a badly written school play. If there was good or happy news, there was gushing and crying. If there was bad or sad news, there was pouting and crying. But the absolute worst drama (I could overlook the other two) was the drama that played out when someone got their feelings hurt, or when people weren’t “playing by the rules”. That’s when the page-long sob-fest would happen. It usually went something like this: “I started this so people could help others, and now people aren’t obeying my every command, and someone has hurt my feelings, and I want everyone to feel sorry for me, so I’m gonna sit here and cry and threaten to shut down the group, until I get 20 comments that I feel sufficiently give me the credit I so rightly deserve!” And people ate it up! Comment after comment would pour in, giving them them the attention they craved.
And speaking of attention, the 3rd clue was when people started to say thanks for creating the group. Instead of just saying “you’re welcome”, the admins lavished upon themselves all the admiration they could muster. Each admin would heap praise on the other for their wonderful idea. I couldn’t help but wonder why AF was left out of this praise-fest. Remember him? I did, but apparently neither admin did. He hadn’t even been made an admin for the group, and was never mentioned at all. So I sent him an email and asked what happened, thinking maybe he’d had a falling out with them or something. He confirmed that he was just as confused as I was, and was actually getting a bit angry at the behavior of his friends. So I posted a comment in the midst of the praise-fest, asking whose idea the food collection/distribution was, since I knew that was AF’s idea all along. Imagine my (and AF’s) surprise when they took THAT credit, too!
It was at this time that I started to lose a major amount of respect for the two admins. One or two of those clues I could have over-looked. But all three? It was just too much. So I pretty much went quiet, and just read what was posted for the next couple of weeks.
Then something even worse happened. Clue #4 for me. Because a couple of group members were abusing the group privileges, the admins took an extreme hissy-fit, made quite a few drama posts, and completely changed the rules of the group. The new rules are as follows (group name, and individual names blocked for privacy):
No longer were people allowed to post INO or ISO. People now just had to sit and wait, and hope that something they needed was posted by someone else. Or they could go to another group to ask for things. Because, you know, only people who are giving things are important to this group now. Group participation took a drastic slide. All of the posts that were INO or ISO were deleted. When asked why, one admin said it was “clog[ging] the room up” and that it “took me over an hour to delete all ISO it was bumping down many things that folks offered to give an noone seen so it was time for the ISO to go”.
I really started to dread being a part of this group. But I’d made a commitment, and I intended to follow through on it.
Over the next couple of weeks, things progressively got worse. The admins weren’t following their own rules, but would chastise others for not following the rules. Sometimes very rudely. But mostly treating others like they were children, not capable of an intelligent thought. People started posting “prayer requests”, and pictures of their newborn babies, and information about their family, and sob-stories. Every day, my notifications were filled with these things … these things that have nothing to do with what the group was created for. I started to disregard the notifications altogether. If someone tagged me in a post, I didn’t see it, because it was too much to wade through. I started scrolling through the group, to see if there was anything truly important posted. It started to take me forever to scroll past all the prayer and drama nonsense, and find an actual post where someone is giving something away. In case you think I’m blowing things out of proportion, here’s a look at my scroll-bar:
I went back to the rules again, to see if anything had changed that they neglected to tell people. Nope, everything was still the same. I carefully read the rules, thinking I’d missed something. I hadn’t. And it started to grate on my nerves. My time is valuable, too, and I felt the admins had lost respect for their members by allowing certain things.
- The group was now for ONLY posting things you are giving away, and no ISOs would be allowed. It’s very clearly listed at the top in ALL CAPS, and again as rule #6, so you can’t miss it. Yet, the admins themselves would post ISOs, and give “special permission” for their friends to do so, as well.
- No rude comments, or treating others without respect. Yet, the admins were frequently rude to those “breaking the rules”. They weren’t respecting others’ time. They certainly weren’t respecting others religious beliefs (I wonder if they know that Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religious groups don’t publicly pray? I wonder if they know that not everyone is a Christian? I wonder if they’ve ever read Matthew 6:5-6 ?).
- No private information? I now knew all sorts of private information about members. Stuff that hackers could easily use to break into accounts. Baby names and birthdates, peoples’ whereabouts, etc.
- Rule #8 says that “bumping” is allowed once every 24 hours. Presumably, this is to make it fair to everyone, so their posts aren’t always at the top of the page. Which is great. Except that every time someone comments, it “bumps” the post to the top of the page, AND creates a notification. So for all of those INO prayer requests, and the dozens of comments on each one (where everyone has to announce that they will pray, so everyone can see that they’re such good Christians), all of the other legitimate posts get pushed farther and farther down the page, and everyone is inundated with a ton of notifications.
So, I’d had enough. I decided to behave like an adult, and bring my concerns to the admins, in private. I thought the best course of action was short, sweet and to the point, showing the rules and the breaking of the rules, and offering a suggestion. I probably wasn’t as calm and collected as I could have been, but I wasn’t mean or rude.
What I got in return didn’t surprise me in the least. It was basically the same response I’d get from a 12 year old having a temper tantrum because she didn’t like what I was saying. I was, however, hoping for a bit more maturity, and maybe seeing things from outside her own little bubble.
I figured I’d just let things go, and if it continued to bother me, I’d just leave the group without saying a word. But then, the inevitable happened. I should have seen it coming a mile away. I knew the admins were drama queens (remember the clues?). I guess I naively thought they could handle things like an adult this one time, since it wasn’t brought up in the group itself, but in private! I was wrong.
The other admin (the one I did not send the email to) posted this in the group:
After a whole lot of confusion by other group members, the admin that I emailed responded with this:
If they had told the entire story, instead of what you see posted here (which is the only thing either of them said), I might not be as upset as I am. But they both managed to twist things around, omit details, and once again start their drama and crying to garner support and accolades for themselves. Ironically, the drama queen that I emailed is the one that says, “i am so not into drama”. Oy!
So you might be wondering – why did I type this all out, and go through all this trouble? All I have to do is leave the group, right? Well, it’s not that easy. First I have to explain to AF why I’m leaving the group, and leaving him with my end of the commitment as well as his. And since I had to explain it all anyway, I figured I’d just get it all off my chest at once.
And to be quite honest, I’m quite pissed off! Even though my name wasn’t specifically used, I don’t appreciate being dragged through the mud and used as just one more way for these admins to get attention. And because I’m sick and tired of hypocritical Christians, and this was the straw the broke the proverbial camel’s back. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, perhaps you might want to brush up on your Bible reading:
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
I also want my story to serve as a lesson to others who are thinking about doing something similar. Please, by all means, create a group, a community that cares! But if you’re going to admin the group, there are a few things you might want to consider.
- Have a clear plan ahead of time. Know what you will or won’t allow. Some of the ideas from this group were fantastic! Some just made no sense at all considering the purpose of the group.
- Don’t make rules and then enforce them willy-nilly. Most definitely don’t make some people follow rules, while others are allowed to do whatever they want. In other words, don’t be a middle school clique.
- Listen to your members. Don’t just react in a knee-jerk way, having a temper tantrum when you don’t like criticism. Realize that most people want what’s best for the group, and may bring up points that you never considered.
- If you’re easily offended, or can’t keep your emotions in check, find an admin that can!
- Make sure your admin(s) are literate, and communicate clearly.
- Keep the drama out of the group! That includes the admin(s)!
- Unless your group is specifically a religious group, whose sole intention is to ask for prayers, keep it out of the group! Remember that all those prayers and prayer requests cause notifications, and push everything else way down, thereby eating up group members’ valuable time. Also remember that not everyone shares the same religious beliefs. Respect ALL of your members, not just those that believe the same way you do.
I hope that this group flourishes. But I have serious doubts that it will. It seems to be too great a stress on the admins, who can’t control their emotions or attitudes. I still think the idea for this group is a great one, and hope that others find inspiration from it.