blessings of welfare

i have thought a long time about writing this post,
{a whole year in fact}
but always pushed it off for fear of controversy, hateful comments, and/or judgment.
then yesterday morning i couldn't go back to sleep cause i kept hearing people's comments over and over in my head and i felt like it was finally time to say something.

i don't write this out of pity. or even for political reasons.
but i thought that with everything going on in the media and in discussions at this time, now was a good time to hopefully give a new perspective to this issue.
and that's exactly what i hope to do; help others see a new way that may be different from what they understand and help people see there is more to the story before they make grand, sweeping generalizations.

the issue i'm talking about is welfare.

on countless facebook statuses, blogs, twitter updates, article comments, etc. i have seen these remarks:
"i work(ed) at a grocery store and saw first hand how people abused their food stamps."
"people are just so lazy."
"i work so hard just to pay for other people's food/children."
"so many people are abusing the system."

every time i read those comments i feel like it's a direct hit to my stomach.
my heart starts racing.
and i feel immediately worthless.

all because we are on welfare.
and have been on different parts of welfare for a couple of years.

so i know a thing or two about these programs.
i know a thing or two about living on government assistance.
and i know a thing or two about the feelings involved in having to come to terms with the fact that we just can't do it on our own. 

reading comments like that one of my first thoughts is,
"so every time i check out at the grocery store the clerk is standing there silently judging me and thinking i'm nothing but a measly, lazy leech to the government? you mean, as they see me go through the line with my screaming toddler, looking all flustered with my WIC vouchers and EBT card, that they immediately have no respect for me and automatically assume that because i bought a bag of M&Ms for my crying son that i am abusing the system? as if i don't have enough problems."

and seriously.
you think i don't have enough bad feelings about my situation on my own?

after reading those things i just want to say to those people,
"excuse me. please live in my shoes before you judge me."

a lot of the argument is that people are lazy, that they can't go out and find jobs to provide for themselves or work harder to get out of their situation.
and this is what i say,
we do work hard.

i could type out a HUGE LONG STORY {in fact i just did but just deleted it} proving to everyone how hard we work, have worked, and continue to work.
or how we are trying everything we can to secure a positive future for our family but right now we just can't do it on our own.
i could even tell you all about our struggles, our frustrations, our tears of just not having enough.

but that's not my purpose.
i don't need to tell everyone those intimate details of our life to prove a point.
or try to convince you to agree with me.
i just want to open up people's eyes to others' situations.

it's not a proud moment to have to ask for help
especially asking for government assistance.
you get all.kinds.of.judgment.
it's frustrating & demoralizing sitting in that office for 3 hours so you can go through your stack of paperwork with a case worker.
it's stressful & heartbreaking to know that i can't be the one to pay for my son's dinner.

but we are grateful,
{oh so so SO grateful!}
for these programs.
to us, they are a blessing, a way that the Lord has provided us to be able to care for our family while we work hard toward a more promising future.

i know it is temporary.
i don't plan to be on assistance for the rest of my life.
and me and Adam already have a plan to be able to give back to others and help other people once this is all over.

but for right now, we realize that we can't go towards those goals without getting some help ourselves.
and i have learned to be okay with that fact.
it doesn't make me weak
or inferior
or worthless
or dumb
or lazy. 

instead it gives me hope & peace of mind that my family is taken care of.
that even though we are doing everything we can, we have help to make up the difference.
and i will be forever grateful for that!

again, this isn't for pity's sake.
this isn't, "here's my sad story, hope you agree with me!" kind of post.
this isn't to say that everyone should be on welfare cause i know that's not true, if you are able to do it on your own more power to you!
this isn't even to convince you of who to vote for.
[and even after reading this post you may think you know who i would vote for but you really don't.]

and this definitely isn't to tell you that all people on welfare are the same, because i know there are all kinds of different situations.
[i know some people unfortunately do take advantage but not everyone!]
this just happens to be our situation.
this just happens to be our story, one that has taken a lot of time & prayer to know what to do.
and i will not apologize for that.
i will not be made to feel ashamed for what i have to do to take care of my family.

all i ask is that you think before you say things. 
really ask yourself if you in fact know the full story.
and stop making general accusations!
don't go around making false statements, you don't know who you may be hurting.


and that's all i have to say about that
thanks for listening!
:)



**for the record: the claim about the "i work in a grocery store and have seen this..." i feel like is said without actual knowledge of how food stamps/EBT cards work. so if you don't really know anything about how the program works then i'm happy to help answer any questions :) 








31 comments:

Kaity said...

I seriously want to hug you right now. Thank you, thank you, thank you for having the courage to write this. The stigma surrounding government assistance is unbelievable and more people need to hear stories like your own. I was on food stamps for a year and honestly don't know what I would have done without them (actually I do, I'm still in credit card debt because of my grocery bills for the months leading up to becoming involved with SNAP).

To reiterate what you said, SUCH a BLESSING <3

Annelise @ Aunie Sauce said...

Wow. Megan, you are SO BRAVE. I can see why this is a hard thing to talk about and why you have put off writing it.

I also love it, because it's YOU. It's YOUR opinion. It's REAL. And yes, this is probably the kind of post you will lose some followers over. Just because some people don't like to hear things that aren't perfect and spick-and-span all the time. BUT-- these are also the posts where you show your true self and where people come out of the brickwork to say a true thanks for being honest. I know that you have reached and touched people with this post.

It's beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story. I will pray for your family and your journey. And know, if you're ever feeling alone or like you need something, just send me an email. I think you're a beautiful woman, Megan. So proud of you.

BridgetteLass said...

Mrs. Robinson,

I just recently stumbled upon your blog and I just wanted to let you know how wonderful I think it is. Thank you for having such courage to share your personal stories with your readers. There have been quite a few posts that I can directly relate to, and it touches a special place in my heart when I read them. Knowing that someone else has gone through some similar situations and is speaking about them, makes me breathe a little easier. Thank you for all that you do. You make a difference.

holly & anthony said...

Megan I agree with you in every way! You just described how I feel about welfare to a T. Those feelings of people judging you when you check out and then I just had to remember they don't know our situation. It was the biggest blessing to us when we needed it the most. Thank you for posting!

holli h. said...

I think a lot of people in our "mormon culture" have the false idea that government welfare is "bad" or something. I don't know where this comes from--probably some out-of-context statement from Brigham Young in the 1800s (like a lot of misconceptions in the church). haha. who knows.

Anyway, while I was working for the Church Welfare Department, I realized that the church actually encourages people to get on government assistance when it is needed. There are a few articles on ldsjobs.org that suggest this.

I can understand where the hurt comes from because people DO say rude, ignorant things. On the other hand, there definitely are "welfare abusers" out there--so (unfortunately) you probably won't see it stop. I guess you have them to blame for some of these attitudes. Just be content and take pride in knowing you are doing the right thing for YOUR FAMILY. My mom always said that self-worth comes from knowing that YOU ARE A GOOD PERSON. No matter what others say, I think you definitely know that about yourself, Megan. And anyone who knows YOU, definitely knows you are anything but "lazy" or "weak" or anything of those awful things you mentioned!! I rest my case.

I'm really glad you wrote this though. Hopefully people will be nicer about this topic :)

The Awesome Allens said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erika @ rouge + whimsy said...

hey you. I do not judge you at all. I don't think you're lazy. I don't think that you're taking advantage of anyone. I think you're doing what is right for your family... right now.

And I am so proud of you for being honest on your blog. It's something that I've been thinking a lot about... how I want to share a little bit more of me, and who I am. But it's scary and even bigger--- I have a dayjob that could be jeopardized by too much honesty, you know? So I applaud you and live through your boldness.

bonbon said...

Go Megan! Way to tell people how it is! I know it is so hard to write posts like these but isn't it also totally liberating at the same time? This was amazing!

Kylie said...

You offer the best insights. Thank you for sharing this! It is all too easy to judge others and not understand. I'm grateful for programs like government health insurance. There's no way my parents would have been able to pay for my own medical needs without it!

Beth Dorsey said...

Megan,

I totally agree with you, and I'm about to give you my own personal from-the-grocery-store experience.

I worked at a grocery store for 4 years. In that time I saw LOTS of people on foodstamps and WIC. It was probably as common as people using debit cards. And yes, it did bother me when an overweight family went through my line with nothing but microwave dinners, bags of potato chips, and soda, and then paid with foodstamps. I guess I feel like if you're getting government assistance for food you should at least try to be somewhat healthy. (But still, at least they're feeding their family, even if it isn't ideal, right?)

However, I also believe that most people try to use them wisely, and I don't see anything wrong with getting a bag or two of snacks or treats. And most of my coworkers felt the same way. Occasionally someone would complain because somebody bought some candy, and I usually said something to the effect of, "so? I would too."

So while you hear complaints from some grocery-store-workers or others who just don't understand, know that not everyone is judging. And even if they are, they don't know your personal circumstances and they have no right.

(And we're on WIC too, which is a LIFESAVER. Sorry this got so long!)

SusanD1408 Crochet Addict said...

Wow what a fantastic post! Thank you for being honest! I hope your situation gets better soon but your honesty has helped a lot of people. I live in the UK and you aren't treated the same as you. Over here you are given cash so you don't have to go through the looks n comments like you do. Over here we help too many people but want to help people who are in need. I hope your future gets better but never be embarrassed by looking after your family!

SusanD1408 Crochet Addict said...

Wow what a fantastic post! Thank you for being honest! I hope your situation gets better soon but your honesty has helped a lot of people. I live in the UK and you aren't treated the same as you. Over here you are given cash so you don't have to go through the looks n comments like you do. Over here we help too many people but want to help people who are in need. I hope your future gets better but never be embarrassed by looking after your family!

Ashley said...

Thank you for sharing this and sharing your heart. Who is anyone to judge you? The programs are there for people who need assistance, therefore you should use it. :) I get frustrated with people's lack of knowledge on the issue and then they just spout of rude, insensitive comments without really thinking. Sure, some people abuse the system and it's sad, but with everything, there are always gonna be people like that.

Millie said...

One time I was picking up wic and the cashier scanned the cheese on the wrong check. She had to make it right and the lady behind me was being really impatient and rude, she said, "can't you just get another block of cheese?" the worker tried to explain but she waved her hand and said,"whatever". I about cried. No I couldn't just grab another block of cheese to feed my child, this was it. Everyone should always, always be kind.

futurehope said...

I'm glad you posted this and shared your heart!

We had to be on medicaid for our son to be born and I was pretty ashamed, but thankful all the same!

I agree that it is a helpful program, but also that a lot of people DO abuse it. (I personally know some people who do) but I think it is awesome that you do all you can, and I'm sorry people make you feel guilty for it!!! :(

big hugs and Kudos to you for standing up for yourself, AND for working hard to be able to get off of welfare in the future :D
No judgement here good job taking care of your son, even though it's a hard thing to do <3

Bonnie Gutzman said...

My husband and I talk about these kind of programs a lot. How they are GREAT programs for the families who do use them when they are trying hard and working. We DO know families (one in particular) who really abuse the system, though, and just expect to get as much as everyone else while working less and buying more. I don't think the programs should be stopped, because I KNOW there are people out there who really benefit and who really need it despite all their efforts. I don't judge when I learn that people use these programs to help out their struggling family. I do get irked when someone I know is abusing it, and wish there were more catches in the system to prevent that kind of abuse.

A good friend of mine (who I really like!) always has the best/most expensive groceries. Once I asked her if they only eat organic or something, and she said "no, we just don't have to pay for it, so might as well get the best." I was a little bothered by that. Her family DOES need that help and IS working hard. But I feel like if she's excepting that help, she shouldn't be getting the most luxurious items (ones that I would never ever pay for with our money). Of course, I'm fine with the occasional indulgence on some yummy treats or something. :) Can't pass those up myself!

Anyway, I love that you brought it up! And I have NO negative feelings towards young (or even not so young!) families, trying so hard to stay on top of what is a very monetary world. Don't let judgmental comments get to you! People can judge so harshly with just a small snapshot into your life (man, I hope no one is snap-shotting my life during these last couple months of pregnancy...I'm a blob of a mother!). As with so many different government programs, there are definitely blessings brought to families from welfare. But, there are definite flaws in the system making way for people to abuse and corrupt the programs as well. I don't think there's a perfect answer out there!

Cody Doll said...

My family is on it too. And I know many more people that are it. I do also know some people that have abused the system but I know it time it will catch up to them. You need to worry about you are your family and it's okay to need help because pretty much everyone does, especially now in days.

April said...

We were on WIC and EBT for years. WIC for most of the boys life. I hated it every single time, using those vouchers, but we wouldn't have gotten by without it, literally. For two years it was the only money we had to buy food. Thank you for talking about this. There are those people that give the rest of us a bad nap, but they are a tiny percentage. Most of us are just trying to move forward.

Alexis Kaye said...

Megan! I feel like the root of the problem here is people judging before they know the whole story. It's never okay. Especially with the issue of money, it's impossible to know everything that's going on. We've faced some of that. Some things that I don't want to post here because it seems to public but that I wouldn't mind talking about if you wanted. And I don't know if you saw my post or not but I just quit my job last week and have faced criticism on that which is hard because it was so hard for me to face the fact that I needed to quit and couldn't do it on my own. I hope you can feel my love! And I'm so sorry for what you have to go through right now. It's tough. Here's to hoping for a better future :) love you!

Tiffany said...

Thanks for sharing this and your other post about not complaining. :)

Matt and Blair said...

I love the WIC program! Thank you so much for this post.

Sue said...

I love this Megan. There is nothing wrong with needing a little help from time to time. Everyone does. I think we're lucky to have a government that does help out and can be used to the advantage of it's people. Isn't that what it's for? Lots of love to you and your little family!

Sue said...

I love this Megan. There is nothing wrong with needing a little help from time to time. Everyone does. I think we're lucky to have a government that does help out and can be used to the advantage of it's people. Isn't that what it's for? Lots of love to you and your little family!

Miranda said...

I loved this post. I always get a pit in my stomach when people mention these things and I am getting assistance. I'm not some lazy person, I just have a son that needs to be taken care of and if I worked it would only put money into day care. So i have to stay home and sometimes we need the help. Every time I go up to the checkout and use my WIC checks I get red and feel judged. We no longer get EBT (unfortunately because we still need it) but when we did if we bought one frozen pizza or cookies I felt like cashier was thinking I was abusing it. I'm glad we aren't the only ones and hopefully from your post people will realize that not everyone is lazy or cheating the system. People may work hard to pay for us...but some of us deserve it and use it for the good of our family.

Janna Renee said...

Good for you for posting this! I honestly try to keep all my judgement to myself, and if I can help it...I try not to judge people at all. Let's say I did judge...you would NOT be in that category. I'm sorry you get lumped in with the people who really do work the system, but at least you know you won't be in this situation forever. {{Hugs}}

eryka {from abcde} said...

Megan,

I love you and how honest you are. You are so strong and I can only imagine how hard that was to post!!!

Have a happy day!
XOXO
E

Cassie @ Live.Laugh.L0ve. said...

I absolutely love this post girl and I am so proud of you for posting it! We have been on both wic and food stamps before so I know exactly how you feel!! I think so much of the negativity comes from people who actually do abuse it and unfortunately it gives everyone who has to have that help a bad name! xoxo

Carly Ann said...

Miranda @ Aimless Translation linked to this post, and I have to say that it takes a lot of guts to post like this, and I think it's great that you took the time to show a different side to the welfare/government assitance programs. I grew up on government assistance, so I also know that just because you are benfitting from those programs definitely doesn't make you a leech or whatever else.
However, with that said, I do think there are a lot of people out there who do abuse the system. My fiance has a cousin who has his EBT card and he uses it for the most ridiculous things, and i can't help but get mad because I know there are people out there who really DO need it and would use it as it is intended to be used.
Keep on keepin on sister!

Mary Davis said...

We are in the same situation and I am SO HAPPY and GRATEFUL that you shared this. It makes me feel not so alone, when everyone I know around me seems to look at government assistance as 'evil'. Thanks for putting this out there. =]

Brittany TYD said...

You are so, so brave to post this, friend. I'm proud of you to open your heart and stand up for those who are trying to make their family better.

When I was a baby, my mother had to be on food stamps. I am a firm believer in them, because if it weren't for government assistance, who knows if I would have even survived. You are doing the right thing allowing yourselves to get on your feet and one day be able to support yourselves.

Thanks for sharing.

katilda said...

I am so in like with this post. People say a lot of crap (want to use a stronger word) in relation to crap (stronger word again) they know little or nothing or about, just because they want to copy and paste someone else's status or share a "funny" analogy or photo. I try and bite my tongue a lot but I lost it one day when a status started circulating on facebook comparing "don't feed the wild animals" signs to not giving handouts of food to people. As someone who has worked at a homeless shelter, this BOILED me. After writing about 50 angry posts, multiple times, this is one of the better ways I've found to express myself on the matter...THANK YOU for your post, here's mine: http://www.katilda.com/2012/08/guess-what-you-can-love-yourself.html