Saturday, May 17, 2008

Food stamp recipients pinched by high food prices (AP)

This is a group of people rarely considered by most and are taking the economic decline in the shorts.

What if you had no money for food for two weeks? Just asking.
Danielle Brown stands outside a South Side market at midnight, braving the spring chill for her first chance to buy groceries since her food stamps ran out nearly two weeks ago.


This is what the skyrocketing cost of food looks like at street level: Poor people whose food stamps don't buy as much as they once did rushing into a store in the dead of night, filling shopping carts with cereal, eggs and milk so their kids can wake up on the first day of the month to a decent meal.

"People with incomes below the poverty threshold are in dire straits because not only are food prices increasing but the food stamps they are receiving have not increased," said Dr. John Cook, an associate professor at Boston University's medical school who has studied the food stamp program, particularly how it affects children.

On the South Side of Chicago, people like Brown wait for the stroke of midnight, when one month gives way to another and brings a new allotment of food stamps.

Dennis Kladis began opening his family owned One Stop Food & Liquors once a month at midnight nine months ago to give desperate families a chance to buy food as soon as possible.

"I'm telling you, by the end of the month they're just dying to get back to the first," said Kladis, who has watched other area stores follow his lead. "Obviously, they are struggling to get through the month."

Jean Daniel, a spokeswoman for the Agriculture Department, which runs the food stamp program, said there is only so much the aid can do.

"Food stamps were designed to be a supplement to the food budget," she said. They "were never intended to be the entire budget."

Perhaps Danielle could have been more frugal with the stamps she did spend. Ramen, which I survived on most of the time for a few years comes to mind, but we don't know if she did that or not.

They "were never intended to be the entire budget." Well in many cases that's exactly what they are. Does Jean think for a moment rents are coming down? The costs to clothe a child are dropping? Of course we all know utilities aren't rising.

Note: Headline links to source.



Blogger Lisa said...

Thank you for this. Those at and below poverty level are suffering a great and seemingly silent tragedy (is an tragedy silent?)

The press's attention goes to those caught in the sub prime mortgage fiasco, but what of those who will never own a home? $100/mo. food stamps for an individual doesn't go far.

These are the American disenfranchised, whether due to their working endless hours, being disabled, or being undereducated.

This is what compassionate conservatism hath wrought.

5/17/2008 10:55:00 PM  

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