This is a guest post from B.P and her personal experience and thoughts as she obtained food stamp assistance.

What can I say about food stamps? At 65 years old, no job, and a disabling physical condition, THANK GOD for my receiving food stamps.

But I do have to tell you that I was not feeling that way about getting food stamps early on, even with the conditions and situation I was in. As a matter of fact, friends and relatives kept telling me to apply for food stamps and other services, but I was stubborn and did not want to have to go to my county social services.

I was bound and determined to go it alone because I felt that food stamps and other services were degrading, humiliating, embarrassing, and shaming me because, I would have to admit that at 65 I needed help from the social services offered by the county.

I felt terrible that someone else would be giving me a food stamp card and in essence feeding me instead of me feeding myself. I guess you could call it ego, pride, I don’t know. I guess it was one of those things. I finally gave in and started the process, which I might add was not too bad of a one after all.

Anyway, through the coaxing and talking to me from a very close friend, I filled out an initial application for food stamps and OAP (Old Age Pension) on line, printed it out and took it into the Social Services office.

They looked it over, help me correct errors that I had made, made an appointment for me to see a Social Services Specialist the following week.

In the following week an appointment was made to see a Social Services Specialist and, I filled out more paperwork and answered questions about my “home” expenses and the like. She then stated that I actually could be out on the street given my present circumstance at the time, if it weren’t for the kindness of friends.

So, she authorized food stamps of $192 a month and which was a surprise to me, she also authorized OAP for me to receive to help out with the home bills to keep a roof over my head. I received the EBT Quest card the same day which was also a surprise to me, and it was activated within 7 days, which was unusual because it can take up to 30 days for the card to get activated. However I was expedited under the federal guidelines of “SNAP” due to my living situation.

I still felt a bit ashamed about all this, not being able to fend for myself quite anymore, and I still let her know about it. But she said to me to not feel humiliated because Social Services were just giving back some of my own money that I had earned over the 47 years that I had worked, and I had a right to it.

We talked a bit in length about me feeling down about receiving this kind of help, but she did start convincing me that was why these programs were in place and why someone at my age should have done it earlier. I guess she was right.

The first time I went to the supermarket with the EBT card, I was a little embarrassed about using it but the grocery checker was very nice and did not look down on me at all.


So now, I am starting to get over that shame, especially being told by the Social Services Specialist that it was in a way still after all, my money.

I will be using the EBT card for the second time come the first of the month. AND, even though to me, $192 seems like a lot of money for one or two mouths. Since I view having the food assistance as a gift, I am learning to be even more frugal than usual in my shopping.

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Dawn's Note: I received a wonderful note from Katherine of the Relishing Life blog, that I wanted to pass along her experience with buying from Angel Food Ministries (in pictures). AFM also accepts SNAP (food stamps).

5 Comments

  1. Clair of Frugal Living Freedom // Wednesday, April 29, 2009 11:22:00 AM  

    If you need help, and you haven't placed yourself in that position, there is no shame in getting help from family, friends, neighbors, charities and tax-funded programs that you have been paying into all your life.

    A family member of mine never had a steady job - only worked 3 months straight her entire life - and was on public assistance programs her entire adult life up until her death at age 45. That is shameful.

    Clair

  2. Judy // Wednesday, April 29, 2009 11:37:00 AM  

    Good for you!

    I tried once in what seems like a hundred years ago to get food stamps. Back then you had to take off work to go get them, and then you had to buy them. Being broke I could only buy $20 worth, after taking off work to go down there. You had to pay half of what the food stamps were. Anyhow, that was my one and only time to even try. Glad the system is working better for you now, in modern times.

  3. Kmphillips73 // Friday, May 01, 2009 4:45:00 PM  

    There is absolutely no shame in seeking public assistance. If you need it, that's what it's there for. It's not like you haven't paid your share of taxes. Even welfare mothers pay taxes (in states that have sales or local tax) when they buy non-food items.

    I say accept help when you need it and give back when you can!

  4. Anonymous // Friday, May 01, 2009 5:26:00 PM  

    I WANT you to get all of the assistance to which you are entitled; I work hard to pay my taxes so that I know other people will not be in need. Many of us love you and care about you (even if we've never met) and we are proud that there is a way we can share our lives and our work with you. When you buy your food, look upon it as being filled with good wishes and warmth from your unknown extended family of mankind.

  5. Dawn C // Sunday, May 03, 2009 7:36:00 PM  

    Thank you all for your comments, these last few days, I will make sure that B.P reads them and is aware of your support!
    :D