September 22nd, 2011
02:00 PM ET
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Deborah Feyerick is a CNN correspondent. Watch part two of this series Friday on American Morning and read producer Sheila Steffen's $30 grocery challenge

If you want to know what hunger looks like, look through the eyes of Tianna Gaines. The 31 year old Philadelphia native lives with her husband and three young kids in a simple, sparsely furnished row house. The kitchen is worn but very clean. "Roaches like water," Gaines says matter-of-factly as she wipes the counter.

She keeps dry-goods sealed in plastic bins. Cereal is stored on top of the refrigerator, in cereal-size plastic containers. "The mice eat through boxes," she explains as she reaches for a loaf of white bread. "We're out of whole-grain," she says pointing to the bright orange two-for-one price sticker.

For Gaines feeding her family properly is not just a choice, it is arguably a strategic obsession. She knows precisely when items get marked-down for clearance. "The Manager's Specials go first if you're not there by 9:00 in the morning."

She cuts coupons religiously, buys in bulk and makes her own dinner from the food left on her children's plates, something she and her husband Marcus call "Kid surfing." Oatmeal, eggs and rice are staples she keeps when the other food runs out.

In a country where grocery store shelves are overflowing, Gaines is among some 50 million Americans struggling to put enough food on the table. "A lot of people say, "Oh, she works two jobs, she must have it good." No I don't!" she says shaking her head.

The scientific term for hunger is "food insecurity" and since the US Department of Agriculture began keeping track in the mid-1990s, it has now reached an all time high.

"When someone is food insecure, it's the anxiety of not being able to afford enough food. You may have enough food for the day, but you're worried about tomorrow or you're worried about next week," explains Mariana Chilton, an expert on public health and nutrition who created the project Witnesses to Hunger and recruited Gaines, one of 40 women, to photograph their struggles with hunger and poverty.

"There's an implicit anxiety and depression and worry," says Chilton.

Among the most striking photos, a handful of coins, most of them pennies. Jean Culver, a waif-like mom with spiky blond hair who says she gets $400 a month in food stamps, snapped the picture at the end of the month. "That was all I had. I mean and so many things that needed to be done with that change. It's just overbearing. It's hard to handle. "

Culver says she first feeds her two sons, then eats what's left-over, "I feel like even if we have food if I eat a snack, for instance, then I'm taking it away from my kids."

Even families receiving the maximum amount of food stamps still need about $206 more every month to buy the minimum amount of food as defined by the USDA.

Barbara Izquierdo, 23, is another Witness to Hunger "sister," as the women call themselves. Several years ago, she had a newborn and no money to eat. Out of desperation, she says she took a pizza menu & stared at the pictures, reading the descriptions until the hunger pangs went away.

"I never thought that hunger could be as serious as it is. I never thought that I would be affected." Izquierdo now works for Coalition Against Hunger helping others in need. She says taking pictures has given her a voice to show lawmakers and policymakers first-hand what hunger and poverty are all about.

"For a long time I felt food was a one should feel that way," says Izquierdo who hopes one day to go to college and become a criminal psychologist. "If I can change it now, when my daughter gets older she might not have to go through this."

Visit Witnesses to Hunger

Watch American Morning weekdays 6am to 9am ET. For the latest from American Morning click here.

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Filed under: Content Partner • Food Politics • Hunger • News • SNAP • TV-American Morning

soundoff (689 Responses)
  1. kevinyc2010k


    July 5, 2014 at 1:06 am |
  2. Kelvin Odess

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    May 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
  3. thefoodstampdiaries

    Reblogged this on The Food Stamp Diarie$ and commented:
    Witness to Hunger was mentioned in detail in the film "A Place at the Table"- check this out!!

    April 16, 2014 at 11:53 am |
  4. cherry koolaide

    While it is true some people abuse the system, keep in mind that it is some. Not everyone or even most people sell their benefits or waste it on junk food and empty calories. The people that do this or who only buy prepackaged foods may do so out of ignorance or because they lack cooking facilities and may only have a microwave or may not have working utilities. Not by any means do I excuse anyone who just blatantly abuse or misuse their benefits, often times it is the innocent children who suffer. There are plenty of families that bargain shop clip coupons and bulk bulk and do anything to save and get more food to take care of their families, sometimes still falling short. There are many families who work and still barely scrape by working long hours. There is even a steady stream of people with college degrees unable to find work in their field and have to take minimum wage jobs.Personally, I work full time and commute by bus (3 hours a day just for transportation by bus) and take care of my children and my brothers and sisters(who are minors) after our parents passed away, a total of six children and I barely get by. I receive food stamps and pay for eveything else I pay rent utilities and provide for all 6 children and it is a daily struggle. I have never sold my benefits or even thought about it ever, and I cook everything and try to make all that I can from scratch. I'm divorced and do receive child support for my children but I barely make it each month. Not eveyone who receives aide is a loser, rather than see my family in foster care where anything can happen I support and love them along with my own children. With 7 people i get $528 in food stamps and I am thrifty to the last penny. Especially with the cuts in food stamps , some people are getting desperate. It is not easy to find a job even in fast food these days with credentials, especially if you are over qualified and your chosen field job market is low or almost non existent. Especially if you live in a smaller city , some people drive cities away to look for work and spend most of their money on gas back and forth to work. Times are hard.
    Sometimes a illness will have you unable to work and employers are not required to extend FMLA after the initial period. Some people made comments about people receiving aide having nice clothing or smartphones or money. You do not possibly know what circumstances are for some people. If you lose your job due to a serious or prolonged illness or god forbid you get laid off. Do you sell your phone , that you need to get another job with? Do you sell all of your clothing to a resale shop and wear rags? Do you sell your only family vehicle and become dependent on public transportaiton if any exist? I know for sure not having a vehicle provides less job choices as then you are confined to where you can get to. What if you have an accident ? Benefits do not come instantly . Sometimes people can downgrade in a bad situation , other times it is not feasible. I would think more pople would have compassion for those who truly are in need, because guess what? It can happen to you too.
    I AM COLLEGE EDUCATED, A DIVORCED MOTHER, who is doing her best to raise her bros and sisters and her own children making sacrifices to keep my famiy together.

    November 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
  5. Charms

    Details about an eventual sale of BlackBerry are slowly but surely starting to pick up steam. Following a confirmation from the Waterloo-based company about it being open to seeking "strategic alternatives," The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that members of the board are "aiming to run a fast auction process" which could be finalized as early as November of this year. Sourcing the well-informed people familiar with the matter, the publication goes on to say that BlackBerry has narrowed its list of potential buyers, with the sales process "expected to begin soon." We'll see how long it takes for Thorsten Heins and Co. to find someone interested in the troubled brand, but something tells us it won't be much longer before this story reaches its climax.

    September 25, 2013 at 7:48 am |
  6. John1239

    Very nice site!

    November 13, 2011 at 6:35 am |
  7. Erica T

    Wow the response to hunger is a little overwhelming. Those of you who responded in anger or frustration really aren't helping at all with your ignorance. Tell me the last time you saw a low income family at your whole foods store? Not going to happen folks because you intimidate the poor with your attitudes and opinions about how they should be able to make a change. We have access to the internet and cable tv but those who are less fortunate have not been given this information. Let's spend a lot less time criticisizing and more time educating those who need help. Offer a cooking class or shopping class and do it for free or volunteer your time and educate those who need help. Shame, shame, shame, on all you who have never went without a meal. Remember you choose to eat health but always have the option to eat out. That makes a huge difference.

    October 6, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • johnf

      Appreciate the comment and totally agree. Having grown up poor in upstate NY, I can tell you that "The Poor", like everything else in life, represent a mixed bag. You can find hard working, conscientious and honorable people who take help only because they need it to take care of themselves and their kids, and you can find frauds and cheats who game the system and take pride in their cunning. Truth is, most people are neither heroes nor cheats – most folks are trying to get by the best they can and realize that they may need help. I remember too vividly the hot shame of being poor.

      My father was a cardiac cripple – an invalid due to severe ischemic heart disease and multiple MI's when I was barely out of kindergarten. We lived on a meager pension, SS, and the money my mom took in giving piano lessons and playing for churches, at weddings and funerals. She clipped coupons religiously, shopped at Goodwill, and bought all of our "play clothes" at yard sales. We bought "school clothes" once each year. We ate a lot of beans and franks back then. And I still remember dinners of scrambled eggs and toast when things got tight. We didn't have food stamps back then, but we did qualify for free school lunches, which I hated. I can still remember taking some of my allowance money – my mother gave us a quarter each week – and buying one of those little cups of ice cream so it would look like I was buying my lunch. The hot shame of being poor was devastating as a kid. After years of hard work and more schooling than I'd be willing to admit to, I have a six-figure income, which I never would have dreamed possible. To this day, I am amazed that I can go to the grocery store and buy the exotic fruit and vegetables that as a kid I only stared at and wondered about. The food insecurity is gone, but the head and heart of poverty never really leave you. Thanks.


      October 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
      • Martin

        How eloquently written and how poignant!

        October 13, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  8. Nancy

    I think the general idea is that people are willing to help. For those saying that there are lots of commentators here without compassion. You are all missing the point. Willing to help doesn't mean continually giving handouts. Donating calls for some measure of cost cutting ourselves to be able to help others. So to hear, it's not enough and give me more all the time will certainly at some point exhaust all forms of charity. It's never enough. True children should not starve. Parents need to step up. Get cooking, be creative, and as many others have stated, be grateful for what you have instead of thinking it's not enough.Certainly US$400 A MONTH to feed a family of four is enough, Not luxurious by any means, but enough. Being fortunate enough to have travelled, I have seen what really poor people look like and no, none of them are obese where food is really scarce. Please don't blame it on non organic, white flour or white bread. I eat them all the time. I am 5'4 and weight 120 pounds. Nobody needs to eat that much. Don't buy processed foods as advised by the well meaning, make food stretch. The poor in Japan will cook a whole pot of curry and fill it with a little chicken, plenty of onions and potatoes and carrots and old apples in gravy. Eat them with rice and a family of four could have it for dinner with rice for at least 3 nights. Yes, there are poor people in Japan too and there are no food stamps there. Boil tofu throw in some miso, grill just some fish and stir fry a simple vegetable and thats going to feed a family of four one dinner. That adds up to less than $10-. All homemade . The poor of the moment don't even look at salami or processed hams .. they are at the discount bin where food can certainly be made and cooked at home from scratch. Honest to God, I make good money. But to feed my family, I spend $350 a month. This includes fruits, milk for 2 growing boys and rice and I cook from scratch. No junk. Oatmeal, bread, rice, eggs and fruit, milk are staples in my house. You wont find pop nor juice. It's water or milk. It is doable.

    September 27, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  9. WorkingHard

    I am amazed at the fact that people on food stamps are complaining about only getting $400 a month! I have a very good job, make good money, can certainly afford to buy a variety of foods for my family and rarely spend over $100 a week on my groceries!! First of all, I make sure I don't buy processed foods, not because I can't afford them, but because they are terrible for our health. I try to teach my 4 year old daughter the importance of eating healthy, nutritious foods, which clearly include legumes. Again, we are NOT eating these foods because we can't afford to eat anything else, but because of it's nutritional value. I buy meats, vegetables and fresh fruits and make an effort to get home (after long days at work) and cook for us, then I freeze the left overs and make a meal out of that on days when I am too tired to cook an entire meal. This is the only country where people will complain of "only" getting $400 a month to spend on food!

    September 26, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  10. Candace

    Cheap meals, most of these feed entire families for under $5 total, no need to eat ramen unless you want to:
    Home-made tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
    Scrambled eggs with salsa
    Baked beans over toast
    Baked beans with sliced turkey dogs
    Egg salad sandwiches
    Pasta with (frozen) chopped broccoli, garlic and oil
    Turkey hot dogs wrapped and baked in pillsbury biscuit dough
    All stews (learn to make base with water, flour and beef/chicken bouillion)
    Egg, cheese and vegetable quiches
    Chicken and dumplings
    Turkey meatloaves and chili
    Spaghetti with turkey meatballs

    None of these meals are exceptionally fattening and most are decent servings of protein – I buy bruised tomatoes at my neighborhood fruit stand at half the price. You have to learn more about cooking than microwaving.

    September 26, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Candace

      The only thing I splurge on is whipped cream for my homemade iced coffee, which I chill from the leftover in the pot every morning, and store brand yogurt for my teenage son. I must have trained him well, because when he shops with me, he chooses the same brand.

      September 26, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • sr

      Very few of the meals you mentioned would cost under $5.

      September 26, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
      • Candace

        I beg to differ. Ground turkey is $3.00 a pound, turkey/chicken dogs are no more than $2.00, cans of beans, $1.50-$2.00, box of frozen broccoli, $1.00, pasta always cheap, no more that $1.00 a box, Pillsbury biscuits $1.79 per can, tomatos either fresh (I buy damaged ones 4 for $1.00 and make my own sauce), packages of sliced cheese, no more than $2.50, cartons of eggs, $2.50 – $3.00, generic salsa $1.50, 12 ounce packages of shredded generic chedder $3.00...not only are these dishes made out of primarily 2 ingredients, but assuming you are not going to use all the eggs, all the cheese etc for one meal, it would add up to even less.

        September 26, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
      • Exceptionally pricey

        Where are you shopping for cans of beans for $1.50-$2.00? I can get cans of black, kidney and pinto beans for 59 cents each. Cheaper when they are on sale. If you are paying $1.50 for a can of beans, you are getting ripped off!

        October 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm |
  11. American in Paris

    Does anyone know about the Favor of God?
    Next time that you are in the line getting ready to pay for your food, if the person in
    front of you looks like they could use the Favor of God-pay for their food.
    Sometimes the only way they will experience God's Favor will be through you...

    September 26, 2011 at 7:23 am |
    • Mary

      When I turn around in the line and see pale, worried faces standing there wondering if they have enough money to pay for their groceries, I doubt very much that any of them is going to whip out their wallets to pay for mine. But its a nice thought. I've heard about people paying for other people's tolls and stuff, but its never happened to me unfortunately.

      September 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  12. minimalistmenufesto

    It’s not the lack of money that is responsible. It’s ignorance. Not the lack of
    intelligence, but the lack of knowledge, of education. Walden Food Plan to the
    rescue. You need very little money to eat well, if you have a big enough why,
    know what, and how to buy.
    I saw a food stamp (SNAP) user in Wal Mart at the checkout counter. She had pasta,
    frozen pizza, wieners, hamburger, Wheaties, Oreos, hambuger helper, white bread,
    potato chips, iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, chicken breasts, soda crackers, lots of
    two liter soft drinks, and a gallon of whole milk. From the insecure look on her face, I’ll
    guarantee, she felt like she didn’t have enough money to eat. OMG! Let’s talk a bit, and learn from this anxious soul!
    1. Pasta is processed Durham wheat. At a dollar or more per pound it is terribly
    Buy whole wheat and make your own whole wheat food with flour that
    cost less than half and has more nutrients and fiber.
    2. Frozen pizza. You’re kidding! For the convenience, white wheat flour and
    tomato sauce, you are paying out the nostrils.
    Fix: Make your own.
    3. Wieners. Gods answer to, “Where did those chicken lips and pig snouts go?”
    Too much fat, too much money.
    Fix: Treat wieners like they’re leprosy sticks.
    4. Hamburger. The most likely of all red meat to come from fifty three
    different animals and contain some E. Coli bacteria. You know I’m talking
    bovine sphincters and fecal (poopal) material here, don’t you?
    Fix: Use beans as your main source of protein. Plot a wide path around the meat section even if it takes you past the
    breakfast cereal aisle.
    5. Speaking of the dev…Wheaties. General Mills pays $7.50 for a bushel of wheat that weighs 60 pounds, that’s twelve and one half cents a pound or .0078 per ounce, considerable less than a penny, puts it in an admittedly, pretty orange box, with, of course, a famous Wheaties-made, rich athlete’s picture on it, and sells that 18 oz. box to us for $ 5.75, or thirty two cents an ounce. Look at the ingredients on the back of the box, it’s wheat and sugar, that’s all! No caviar, truffles or queen bee’s knees. Well, put an orange tutu on a pig and call him Tiger.
    Fix: If you must go down the breakfast cereal aisle, at least frown and snarl as you pass by.
    6. Oreos. White flour, fat, and sugar in a pretty package. Our wonderful, blue-haired, apple-cheeked Grandmas that doted on and spoiled us, gave us Oreos as a treat, admonished us not to eat the sweet frosting inside and then replace the violated cookie back into the jar, will always be cherished. Now, when we buy Oreos, we’re not really getting Grandma’s love, although that may be how we feel. I’m not suggesting that Granny should be beaten about her noggin with a greasy, ball peen hammer, or water-boarded, but maybe, force fed three packages of Oreos without a drink like they do at Guantanamo.

    Fix: Make your own cookies with whole wheat, oatmeal, and vegetable oil (instead of lard or shortening), and use less sugar—a lot less. Use some slightly over-ripe bananas for sweetener.
    7. Hamburger helper. Overpriced wheat.
    Fix: Make your own meat extender and leave out the meat.
    8. White bread. I must admit I’m prejudiced against white stuff, as flour, pasta, and rice have had some of the best parts removed. Whole grains are better.
    Fix: Make your own whole grain meals.
    9. Chips. Too much salt and fat. Just scarf a can of Crisco and gnaw on a salt lick block. Open up a vein with a rusty cork screw and with a turkey baster inject a tub of soft-spread butter. Google ‘aortic stent’. Jump off a bridge, it’s faster. This crap has 150 calories an ounce and gives potatoes an undeserved, bad name.
    Fix: Grill some thin, shoestring-like strips of potato in the top rack of your oven, watch them closely, they’ll brown quickly and need to be turned over once to get them evenly crisp. Leave the peel on the spuds. Take your clothes off. Open your curtains. Experiment. Try sweet potatoes or jicama. Google ‘jicama’. Standing next to the oven do a set of fifty deep-knee bends while they brown, you redden, and your neighbor watches. You’ll use more calories than the shoestrings have in them. So will he.
    10. Iceberg lettuce. Not a low-priced choice. Has a very low concentration of the vitamin, minerals and nutrients that we need. It’s expensive, crunchy water. How this particular plant wormed its way so prominently into our culture is unknown. Perhaps the Native Americans, who were forced to convert to Christianity by the Europeans, overheard at a communion, “Let us pray,” and saw the Anglos eat with that ethereal, peyote-look on their faces some stuff that Indians hadn’t seen before.
    Fix: Pick nutrient dense and inexpensive fruits and veggies. Better choices would be spinach or romaine. Even these are high-priced and I haven’t seen them at less than a dollar a pound. Use the sprouts you make on your window sill.
    11. Cucumber. Sparse nutrients, high price.
    Fix: Same as number 10.
    12. Chicken breasts. Better economic choice would be legs and thighs. Better still—no meat.
    Fix: If you eat eggs it requires less of a commitment on the chicken’s part.

    13. Soda crackers. White flour and salt at high price.
    Fix: Homemade matzo. Make your own snack food with more nutritious and less expensive ingredients. There are only two ingredients; whole wheat flour and water. Two parts flour to one part water. Mix them in a bowl, knead, cut into chunks, and roll thin with a rolling pin, drinking glass or Mankiewicz wine bottle. To remain kosher (and, why take chances?) you have to do this in eighteen minutes or less, from start to finish ( because the dough will start to rise and it’s supposed to be unleavened), so, preheat oven to 475 and bake 3-4 minutes. If you are successful and want to try a bigger challenge; drink the bottle of wine first.
    14. Soft drinks. The Cola-nization of the world continues apace as people’s health declines. There is not a clearer sign of mind control that exists here on planet Corn-Sweetener. Minimalist Menufesto’s anthem…I’d like to teach the world to sneer at Coke and Pepsico….

    September 24, 2011 at 10:50 am |
  13. Guest

    400$ is a lot of money for a family of five. I live in Chicago and I spend about $50 a week for two adults and a dog. But I do cook most meals at home. Someone needs to show this woman how it can be done..simple home economics and cooking skills. It looks something like this- to start with, with about $100, you can stock your pantry with rice, wheat, lentils, pasta in bulk that will last you a month or more. Divide the $300 for four weeks- with $75, you can buy enough milk, eggs, meat, veggies and fruits. Make wholesome meals- with some combination of meat, rice, veggies and beans. You may even be left with money to save and will eat very very well. But it does require basic cooking skills and cutting out most processed foods. There's no excuse for not putting in the effort, letting kids go hungry and keeping the kitchen that filthy. All that doesn't say poor- it says uninformed and/or lazy.

    September 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Phil in Oregon

      We(1 adult, 2 preteens) make it easily on $80/week. And we're all overweight. It takes more than just going to the store and grabbing whatever you want off the shelf. My first wife calculated she could get almost THREE TIMES as much by using specials and coupons for the same amount of money.

      September 24, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Aloisae

      A very picky detail, but with $400 dollars a month, and $100 designated for staples each month, you have roughly $69 per week, not the $75 you mentioned (there are approximately 52 weeks in a year, not 48... months can't be evenly divided into 4 weeks a month). Again, a picky detail but your math would have left a week with almost no funds for food other than its share of the staples. However, overall, I do agree that lack of knowledge and experience when it comes to choosing and preparing/storing thrifty yet healthy and satisfying food choices is likely a contributing factor to malnutrition in this country in addition to lack of access to reasonably priced food in some areas.

      September 28, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
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  14. Alice

    We need to go to a commodities program with cooking classes offered on-site when they pick up the bulk foods, so they know how to cook from bulk whole food. That way no one goes hungry (despite what some people think that are commenting, no one wants anyone going hungry). Our food stamp budget goes down and then our medicaid budget goes down because there will be less disease. Maybe it will even push people to better themselves and actually get off welfare programs.

    You know, I do pay taxes, I have to write the government an actual check for cash and I receive no food stamps, I have to actually pay for my food for myself and children, so it does make me a little angry when I see a video that someone is saying they aren't being given enough, even though it is only because of ignorance that they can't make a meal for under $10. There is only so far the tax paying American's can be squeezed before it becomes better for us to go on the doles and stop paying taxes. I buy my foods in all bulk (I have a wholesale account at a co-op), I cook all from scratch, and I don't buy junk food. My own family eats all the foods I have been talking about (beans, rice, oatmeal, potatoes, home made biscuits and breads, I make my own cold cereal, meat as a side dish). Why should someone receiving welfare eat better then those of us actually providing the food stamps with our tax dollars? It makes no sense to me and yeah, it makes me a little annoyed.

    September 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm |

    Funny thing is that EVERYTHING that "tiffany kwak" stated....IVE BEEN THRU!!!! just because i dont talk about it doesnt mean that i t didnt happen....i means i have learned how to take my expiriences and turn them into something that will build strength, character & perseverance,. I elt it become my drive & ambition but i dont let it limit me to the victim taht i once was. i tell my story because i know for a fact that theres other women out there lost....lost because they dont know where their next meal is coming from....lost because no matter how hard they work they are still limited to pay check to pay check and even still come up short. Lost because they lack self confidence because of abuse. Lost because they have no family and feel unimportant and or insignificant. Lost because they are classified as a "product of the ghetto & will never be successful". i want to prove that im not just where i come from. I want to prove to know where your going you have to know where you been and grow. I fight for all those people who are too afraid to use their voice becaseu exactly this...THE CRITICISM.... MOST OF ALL I FIGHT FOR LEYLANIE RODRIGUEZ & AIDAN RODRIGUEZ MY INGRIDIENTS FOR CHANGE!

    September 23, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Smithsdawg

      Barbara, I appreciate you. Keep fighting the good fight.

      Many of these folks are frightened of what they don't understand. I equate it to a kid hiding under the covers from the monster under the bed...if I'm good and I do everything right the way I've been'll happen to me. But in truth, all it would take is the loss of a job for long term, a long term illness, a natural disaster and for the last two, finding out that the insurance you've been paying for over the years is basically worthless because it does not cover that one thing that happened to you. If they blast the sinners, it may just keep them safe from harm. See, I don't do that. It won't happen to me. And I hope so. I hope it never does happen to them. I'm sorry it happened to you, but you've taken a bad situation and turned the frustration and helplessness and turned it into a passion to help. That says a lot for you. Very best wishes to you, Tianna and Jean.

      September 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  16. Dtiger

    Here is what upsets me about food stamps. I (along with thousands of other people) are paying for people to eat junk food because it is easy. Then when (gasp) the person eating government subsidized junk food becomes obese and ends up with heart disease and diabetes, I have to foot the emergency room bill because (double gasp) the person doesn't have health insurance. So I am basically paying people to become fat and sick, and then I'm paying for them again because they are fat and sick, because when I go to the emergency room for a broken hand I end up paying $1,500 dollars for an incorrect diagnosis, 3 x-rays and an ace wrap. If you need help fine, but you use your choice of what you get to eat when you no longer use your own money. You want Hi-C and a bag of dorritos, go for it, but it's coming out of your own pocket.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Jill

      Also, all this whining about the cost of meat and finding quality foods, and not one has mentioned that ground turkey is half the price ($3.00) and half the fat of ground beef and can be substituted for it in everything like meatloaf, which by the way can be reheated and/or sliced for leftover sandwiches for lunches and dinners. Baby carrots at $1.50 a bag were my kids favorite snack in their lunch bags with a little tupperware container of ranch dressing.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Kelly

      Using generalizations to try to make a point is a tool of the ignorant. Roughly 14% of the US budget goes for "Safety Net" programs...with includes EIC, Child Tax Credits ( which I'm sure many of you use) food stamps, housing assistance, child care assistance and a host of smaller social programs. So please stop acting as if ALL of our tax money gets spent on social services.

      September 23, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
      • Dtiger

        I'm rereading my post and nowhere do I claim that all of our money goes to w.i.c. or any other program. You must agree the money that does go to these programs do come from tax payer money. I'm not saying that these programs shouldn't exist. In fact, I think they should exist, but should be restricted to healthy, non processed food, I'm not sure how this in any way injure anyone. In fact, it may encourage people to eat healthier and live happier, less diseased lives.

        September 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  17. Mary

    What kind of cooking skills do they lack that they can't feed a family on $400 a month??? I am a single mother with two teenagers and I spend half of that on food, no more than $50 a week total for all of us, two dogs and a cat. Right plunk in the middle of NYC as well. I get chicken legs for 79 cents per pound at Shoprite, cut them up and serve thighs one night and drumsticks another. We live on soups, stews, omelets for dinner and still have enough for dessert. My dogs eat the leftovers. I even make my own ice tea with a few teabags. People should be required to take a home economics and cooking course before they get their benefits.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Our friend Mary

      Thank you Mary! I knew all this crap about "I live so and so and it cost too much" was a load. Much appreciated.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  18. Jill

    Today, the NY Daily News had a special feature similar to this that profiled who is having to utilize the food kitchens. One of them is an Latino immigrant grandmother (no job history) caring for her 18 year old daughter and 2 year old grandson. The second was a Latino immigrant 22 year old woman (no job history) complaining that her FOUR children are having a struggle to find enough food. Getting a little old.

    September 23, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • Jill

      16 years old and pregnant, no job, no husband, non-English speaking. That is where my tax dollars go to.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Velveetaa@Jill

      Sooooooo you're sympathetic to your sister living on food stamps (see the $30 thread), but someone else who's probably a dirty immigrant and not worthy of help (right Jill?), trying to feed their family is wearing on you? Sounds like a clear case of hypocrisy.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Jill

      Nope, my point is that we paid into this. It is being abused by others who haven't. There is a culture that encourages generation after generation of teenage, unwed, unworking mothers who stay on the welfare systems for their entire lives. Nobody should have baby after baby after baby when they have never had a job in their lives.

      September 23, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Jill

      My sister was in WIC as an emergency basis for no more than 10 months in her early 30's. She paid her taxes and worked since she was a teenager – that is no comparison to the current scenerios that are being profiled left and right, and I'm sorry, I don't call people names as you do, unless its "lifelong moocher."

      September 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Velveeta@Jill

      How do you know the people in the stories haven't paid in or that they feel horrible for being on the dole or that they feel like your sister did about it being a temporary situation? You sound like you know a great deal about your sister's situation. What do you know about "... a culture that encourages generation after generation of teenage, unwed, unworking mothers who stay on the welfare systems for their entire lives..."? Exactly to what culture are you referring? Where do you get your information from? News media? KUTGW because we all know how thorough and true-to-life those stories are.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
      • Guest

        Velveeta, two daddy. Giving public assistance meant for short term emergency situations for WORKING and DISABLED people a very bad name.

        September 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
  19. nimrod

    People really shouldn't be starving in the US. We need to restrict the choices of people on food stamps more than we do. There needs to be less individual choice. People need to be forced to use their foodstamps on nutritious but inexpensive food. Dried beans, rice, powered milk, generic frozen vegetables, etc. No sodas, bottled water, gatorade, chips, etc. If you want cookies, buy the raw materials and make them yourself. No expensive cuts of meat (that includes boneless skinless chicken) no fresh salmon, etc.
    I also have to say that the lacy who shot the photos of the kitchen needs to get some cleaning supplies and CLEAN THAT PLACE UP!!! That photo just makes her look like a lazy slob unable to take care of herself in the most basic way!!

    September 23, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  20. Schmedley

    My friend went to a 3rd world country and struck up a conversation with a local vendor who said he wanted to go to America because he was so poor. My friend said that there were poor people in America too. To that he responded:

    "I have seen pictures of poor people in America and they are fat. I want to go to a place where the poor people are FAT."

    We have it so good in this country it's ridiculous. You ain't seen poor people until you've been to and seen first hand the slums of Manila or some similar place.

    September 23, 2011 at 1:08 am |
  21. nimrod

    I sort of hate to say this but Gaines doesn't look like she has missed that many meals. Her fridge looked as well stocked as mine, and those chicken strips aren't the most frugal of choices. It may not be politically correct to say this, but you can live quite healthily on a diet based on beans and a grain (corn, rice, wheat) with very little meat. if you are going to try to stretch those food stamps, NO boneless, skinless chicken!! Buy store brand whole chickens and boil them. Save the stock and use it to cook your rice or make soup. Family packages of legs and thighs are usually cheap too. Potatoes are cheap, filling, and nutritious. Frozen vegetables are less expensive than fresh and usually just as nutritious (and often just as tasty). Legumes (dried beans, lentils, etc.) and a grain comprise the main components of the diets of many people around the world. It may not give you the variety you would like, but you won't starve either.

    September 23, 2011 at 12:56 am |
    • christine

      Cound not agree more. Exactly what I said (only in nicer terms....

      September 23, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • Jumpster Dumpster

      Hear, hear, nimrod!

      September 23, 2011 at 7:13 am |
    • Smithsdawg

      I don't think variety is the issue. I believe it's more time, exhaustion and lack of education. Two jobs and kids in what little time is left for one of the people presented.

      September 23, 2011 at 8:45 am |
    • Alice

      Did you see the little bitty packet of oatmeal? You know how much that is per pound! You could buy a 10 pound bag of oatmeal, a bag of brown sugar, and a pound of butter for under $20 and eat for two weeks of breakfast. Oatmeal cooks fast too! It is hardly more then boiling water.

      September 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  22. Dtiger

    So, how much would be enough, 500, 600, 700? I mean 400 dollars that you don't have to lift a finger for isn't a bad deal. I spend 400 dollars a month in gas so I can drive to my job in another town. That's the thing about being poor, it should suck, it should make you hate being poor so much that you go out and get an education and ensure that your family will never go hungry again. If you're poor, make sure your children get a solid education, and break the cycle of poverty.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • nay

      I think it is ignorant that having a college education is going to secure your future and that of your children. The ladies that were discussed did not have a basic education or did not sound employable in corporate America. However, with training they could earn a living. What you do with the money you earn and your time not working is often the determining factor as to how your children and grandchildren will leave.

      September 26, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  23. Chris

    Ramen noodles 15c per bag. /problem

    September 22, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
  24. Steve

    Notice there are no men/fathers of the kids around???

    September 22, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • MyrnaMe

      In many states if the "spousal equivalent" is in the household than the entire family is disqualified for SNAP unless the are submitting minimum 30 resumes a week, having 4 interviews a week. If they do have a job, then the family is usually negatively impacted as there is money being earned. The best way to play the system (and our great politicians in their infinite wisdom designed it so) is for a spouse to "separate" or leave the household.

      We should be awarding SNAP, WIC, and every other Welfare program to those people are are making honest efforts to dig themselves out of their plight. One can no codify this into law. This is why the church charities in the early 20th century had such a high success rate is because they were actively involved in helping people out of their plight (day by day) and if they saw the individual not making serious efforts, then the church stopped assisting them.

      Maybe we can learn something here?

      We've built a system that penalizes the people the moment they take the first steps to better themselves ... thus they either learn to make welfare a lifestyle or they pull themselves up by their bootstraps and dig their way out without govt assistance ... there is no in between due to the intelligent rules governing the programs.

      September 25, 2011 at 3:12 am |
  25. puresmokey

    What dimwit came up with the term "food insecurity?" Aren't there enough euphemisms already? Poverty and hunger becomes "food insecurity." Secretary of War becomes Secretary of Defence. Toilet paper becomes "bathroom tissue" Jeez.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Chris

      Probably the same retard who managed "socioeconomically disadvantaged". Just say poor people if you mean poor people. Damn. These are the folks who tack -person to the end of any word ending in -man.

      "The doorperson opened the door for the mailperson who gave a letter to the policeperson, who then dropped it down a personhole."

      I hate this super-gay PC nonsense.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
      • puresmokey

        amen, brother, sister or person.

        September 22, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  26. Tom Bing

    I dont mean to be so blunt but "WHO CARES" Im tired of helping people who want to keep breading when they cant aford to have kids. Why should I pay for a persons poor choices. I pay more than 25% of my salary to programs that fund people who make poor choices. Please dont be sheep and see the truth, Hard work, Good choices and clean living will always be the cheapest outcome. :-)

    September 22, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • puresmokey

      Granted, but there are other factors, aren't there? Like being born into a poor family, not getting a quality education, health problems, mental health issues, etc. If every kid born into this world inherited the same lot in family, health and opportunity, I might concede that you have a point. Yes, there are plenty of people who rise up from absolute poverty and "make it," but there are also people who try equally hard and don't.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
      • Dtiger

        The opportunity for a quality education does exist. Public Schools are free. The teachers have college degrees. If you do well you qualify for tons of grants to go to college.

        September 22, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Smithsdawg

      Not hardly. All it takes is one hurricane, one wildfire. A lot of folks concentrate on loosing their homes, but if you work for a small business that's been impacted by a natural disaster, you loose your job too.

      As mentioned, I'm blown away by the sense of self righteousness of some of these posts. I hope nothing tragic happens to you or those you care about unlike the lack of compassion you seem to exhibit to those less fortunate than you.

      September 23, 2011 at 2:19 am |
  27. Chris

    She gets food stamps. $400.00/mo for a family of four is plenty. Especially if she'd couponing it up as hard as she says. It works out to be $25/week per family member. That's how much I spend on food in a week, including eating out once. I could spend more, but: a) I work for my money, I don't have free government money given to me. Knowing how much work goes into each dollar makes them come out of the wallet slower and b) I'm already chubby, putting a cap on my food budget will make me live longer.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Tom Bing

      YES!! I guess it really does boil down to the workers and the non-workers!!!

      September 22, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • Alice

      Actually, it is for a family of 3. Plus two are children, so they would be getting free breakfast and lunch at school 5 days a week. That leaves 5 dinners and two days a week.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
      • Alice

        Since I have posted so much, I should say I have three children (two being teenagers) and pay for all our own food with cash that my husband and I earn, so I AM a little more frugal with my money then people that get their food for free.

        September 22, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Amanda

      Right 400 a MONTH? I spend 200 a week on groceries for a family of 4. I suppose I could do with less, but not if I wanted my children toeat healthy and have fruits, vegetables etc. I guess maybe you could live off kraft dinner and other processed crap. The fact that she's working 2 jobs and still having problems shows you the state of things right now. If you're working 2 jobs you should make enough that feeding your children isn't a problem.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  28. bee13

    Search "Bishop's Storehouse" on W i k i p e d i a . o r g and read how the LDS church handles assistance for members and non-members. It's a well-thought out approach to welfare that requires you to WORK FOR THE ASSISTANCE YOU ARE GIVEN. In my view, The U.S. government would be wise to implement some of principals embraced in this program.

    Note: I'm not pushing the LDS church from a religious perspective in any way, only its amazingly efficient welfare program. Check it out.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  29. Dtiger

    So Heath, what is your solution to the problem? My solution is only allow non processed foods to be purchased with food stamps. If you can find it in the fruit, veggie, grain, or dairy section of the food pyramid, it's fair game. If you find it in the "others" category, it is considered a luxury. This will force people to make better food decisions. It will cut down on diabetes, heart disease, and obesity in the poor. Is that callous and heartless?

    September 22, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Dtiger

      Throw in protein as well.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
      • nimrod

        for a complete protein all you need is dried beans and rice. A legume plus a grain will give you all the essential amino acids that we often think we need animal protein to get.

        September 23, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • Chris

      I agree with this a hundred times. make up a list of 100-200 "social aid program approved choices". Corn flakes, loaf of bread, fruits and vegetables, bag of flour, eggs, etc. I'm tired of seeing welfare leeches load their carts full of alleged juice, candy, expensive cuts of meat, and more while the check, amok.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Smithsdawg

      Not particularly, but how do you monitor it? Does this occur at the grocery store, and if so...who pays for the additional help to assure that the recipients only purchase the items you've indicated? And what happens to our grocery prices to pay for the additional people to oversee that the impoverished only purchase what you are allowing them to?

      Or perhaps you'll have them avoid the grocery store all together. Maybe show up at a specially stocked warehouse? If so, do you intend that the tax payers will pay the help, the rent on the warehouse and utilities?

      September 23, 2011 at 2:23 am |
      • Dtiger

        There are all ready approved foods. If they are not on the approved list (their are stickers) they can't purchase the item with the card they are provided. I believe the computer sorts that out. Maybe you should do little research before you start making excuses for why poor people should blow their food stamps on Hi-C and Dorritos.

        September 23, 2011 at 10:42 am |
      • Smithsdawg


        Right now, you can buy:

        Breads and cereals
        Fruits and vegetables
        Meats, fish and poultry
        Dairy products

        But you are getting a lot more specific than that. Most cashiers can remember and eyeball those items at the register. But if you are stripping it down to certain meats and vegetables, certain's going to take a lot more work than a single cashier can handle. Maybe you should read more about SNAP. ;)

        September 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  30. NoMoreLabels

    Wow...some of the comments on here are ruthless. I was in this same situation a few years ago. I had no job and was in a location (small town) that had no jobs available. The nearest job was 45 minutes away but I had no car and couldn't afford one. I lived on a mountain and on the land. I fed my two kids and myself on blackberries, wild blueberries, potatoes, and bread. We were lucky if we could add meat to the meals. Thankfully, I was raised in a family that hunted and rabbits were abundant. I want no one to feel sorry for me but I can certainly relate to these people. Sometimes life throws a curve ball that is so unexpected, it sends a family reeling. Until you've walked a mile in these peoples shoes, you have no concept of what they are going through.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • nimrod

      While in graduate school we had a pretty good sized garden and grew corn, okra, tomatoes, etc. and for meat mostly ate cottontails and venison that I had harvested. I could have rabbit (cost approx $.05/rabbit (that's a nickel for a .22 round)), home grown broccoli, and rice and have a tasty, healthy, and visually appealing meal for less than a dollar a person (way less actually).

      September 23, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  31. christina

    You people condemning these women while claiming to be able to feed your family on less than $100 or $200 a month (depending on size) are absolute liars, or anorexics.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • Chris

      Nah, we just buy store brands and know how to cook.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
      • Alice

        Exactly! The money is there, what is missing is the education part of being how to cook good healthy hearty meals for your family with the money you are already receiving, because there is enough being provided by the government, it just isn't being used well. Can you buy all the processed name brand food stuff? No, but you can eat pretty darn good (better since you would be eating whole unprocessed foods, maybe then our medicaid bills can go down since we will have less diabetes, heart disease, and cancer....but I digress).

        September 22, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • Jill

      Soups, stews, egg-based meals, cheese-based meals, pasta-based meals. Beans over toast like the Brits. Generic brands. Absolutely do-able.

      September 23, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  32. Kelly

    This is a great organization.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
  33. NHTK-111

    Yeah, the Nazis have done it through gas chambers, the GOP and their corporate mafia pets will do it through letting the poor underpaid, exploited, heavily burdened-on-every- side citizens go hungry or they can chose to go without the medicine and health care they need. This is the true present day America, and it didn't happen overnight.
    Don't blame present administration, even though it is worthless and spineless. If the greed and corruption didn't have free hand for so long in this country, and did not have chance to take root in our midst as it has been allowed by our corrupted government, it would be a different scenario now..... But it is always the poor and underpaid working class that suffers. Even the welfare freeloaders have had it better in thepast, and still have it better then some working poor, because they get heir medicaid, and food stamps. But the working underpaid poor has no one to go for help.
    SHAME ON AMERICA! Let the whole world see her rottenness!

    September 22, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • nimrod

      The whole world does see our "rotteness" and is, to a great extent clambering all over itself in an effort to get here.

      September 23, 2011 at 1:32 am |
  34. jesus

    For Christ sake this is America...if you cant make it in the land of opportunity then you need to be thrown out of this country. I came to this country with 100 dollars only. I worked my azz off and today i have a mortgage free house.

    I dont feel sorry one bit for them. But then again this Karma for America. Too many atrocities comitted by Americans in foreign lands especially killing millions in Arab lands....which is why America and its people are weeping today and will continue to do so for decades !!

    September 22, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • NHTK-111

      Sick comment here, "allah"!

      September 22, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  35. TJ

    See this is the problem with America now, everyone expects to be bailed out and taken care of. The banks to the people, everyone is standing there with their hand out and no one wants to take responsibility for their actions. First stop having kids. It's not like a disease or something genetic that you can't prevent, its simple do not have sex, wow is that so hard? These programs are suppose to be a spring board to help you get back on your feet not mooch off of for the rest of your life.

    What do I know about it? I got laid off from my job when my wife was 7 months pregnant. Did I go home and cry and complain, call news stations and mooch off the government? NO! I got off my butt got out there and made it happened, worked jobs until something else came back in line. Go paint, cut grass, do what you can until your situation changes. This first lady goes to work and there was a computer in the video, she can't hop on google and take a few minutes to educate herself? really? not that hard, stop being lazy and step up and it also looks like it is an apple laptop, really?! so you can afford that?

    go to youtube and type in 'Ol Dirty Bastard Pickin Up Food Stamps In A Limo' and watch at the 2:00 minue point and on....I will never forget when i saw this, i couldnt believe that a multi platinum recording artist with millions of dollars was allowed to do this?!

    Lets step up people, take a little accountability and make it happen

    September 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
  36. Joshua

    Can't feed 'em – Don't breed 'em

    September 22, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  37. hmm

    Well, there's always the military. Chicken cordon bleu every week!

    September 22, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
  38. Austin Holmes

    I've stolen my fair share of hamburger meat and various other food items from local stores to eat until that next check.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  39. Dtiger

    Also, please keep in mind that these children qualify for free lunch at school. There are also a large number of schools that provide free or reduced price breakfast. So really we are talking about 11 meals a week that food has to be prepared.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • heath

      you horrific, callous and souless individual.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
      • Dtiger

        That is a fact. I'm glad programs like these exist. I think they are a good use for our tax dollars and an excellent way to fight hunger, especially in children. How does this make me heartless?

        September 22, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
      • Chris

        Heath, I'm calling troll on you, my man. That or you've been eating your overpriced tofu soy organic crap for so long you've forgotten real food is not eight bucks a pound.

        September 22, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Alice

      You are not heartless. I too am very glad there are these programs but the line has to be somewhere. The one Mom pulled out a small little packet of Oatmeal, do you know how much that costs per pound??? You can buy the giant 10 pound bag of Oatmeal for a few dollars. There are endless amounts of recipes and cookbooks (one great one being More with Less), these are good, hearty meals, cooked from scratch with whole foods. This is not about more money needed, it is about education, but if they refuse to be educated, then what else can we do?

      September 22, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
      • Dtiger

        I agree with you. Cooking saves you so much money. You can buy a big container of Oats (I have one in my pantry) for under 5 bucks. That covers breakfast for the week. Lunch is covered for the children at school. A healthy dinner containing a protein, starch and vegetable can be prepared for around 5 dollars per plate (I made pasta with pork and tomato sauce) for under five dollars a plate tonight and am full. I also drank two glasses of water, because it's pretty much free.

        September 22, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  40. Kelly

    Ginamero......Jason clearly said "white supremisist"...that in no way applies to all white people....I am white and knew he wasn't talking about me. The fact that you are equating "white supremisist" with the whole white race is rather disturbing.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  41. Tom Bing

    How can a person that is overweight complain of being hungry.. No wonder her kids are hungry.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • badmudda

      you realize white bread, oatmeal all the cheap stuff is actually the worst for u and contributes to obesity and health problems. so if all u eat is processed white stuff thats high in starch and low in everything else u will get fat. so how about next time instead of opening your ignorant mouth about s*** u dont know try doing some research first.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • heath

      Because the deregulated, satanic corporations that employ immigrants for no money and no benefits, grow cash crops like corn which lead to derivatives like High Fructose Corn Syrup.
      These are pumped into everything we consume and they make us fat and stupid without any nutritional advantages.
      Just so you can squeeze a few more dollars out of your share portfolio.

      Hope your children never look at you with hunger in their eyes you cruel, sadistic godless man.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
      • Dtiger

        I've never had a corporation attack me in the store and force me to consume high fructose corn syrup. Most of these empty calories are consumed in beverages. These are simply empty calories with no nutritional value. I drink tap water. It's free and has 0 calories. I understand that ignorance is a problem, but at what point do you have to stop using it as an excuse?

        September 22, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
      • Tom Bing

        Ok,, So maybe she should just go to school,, Get an education ,, Save some money ,, and maybe think before she has 5 kids from 5 differant men. Then she wont have to eat all the bad "STUFF" that the "evil empire" puts into the "cheap white stuff" that you say is making her FAT! Education is always the key and most of you are sheep who will believe anything that is placed in front of you. I did do my research and find that most people who are in that situation are most likely without proper education and most likely is the case with you as well. :-)

        September 22, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
      • NHTK-111

        @ heath


        September 22, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  42. Alice

    A family of 3 can't eat for $400, what in the world are they buying? Buy BULK foods, beans can go on the side of everything and are cheap & filling and easily cooked all day in a slow cooker if you are busy. Bulk Farina for breakfast. Also buy one big roast and cook it on Sunday then divide it up to make things like stir fry later in the week and maybe philly sandwiches. They don't need more money, they need more education about cooking from scratch and eating well on $400 because they are doing something wrong.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
    • Snap

      most Food Stamp offices offer meal planning and preparation but no one ever signs up for the classes. They are even allowed to bring their children.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • E

      The diet you are listing would give them scurvy in a matter of weeks. nothing but beans and grains? filling yes but no protein, no vitamins... And $400 does not go far in expensive cities where produce is more expensive and lower quality.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
      • Alice

        Of course the only foods wouldn't be beans and rice, she DOES have $400, honestly I am really surprised by the amount of people that don't understand how to cook from scratch. We need country wide cooking and education classes. Actually the Extension I believe runs classes, folks, sign up!!!

        September 22, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  43. Kay

    I am so disgusted by these insensitive comments! What is wrong with you people, are you not human, where is your compassion? I'd be willing to bet that these comments are coming from those who have no clue what struggle is! The $200/month that feeds a family of 3 in rural Alabama sure as heck won't feed families of 3 in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia or New York, there is a huge difference in the cost of living. Not everyone is afforded the same opportunities in life, who are we to judge them? We could all become victims of poverty as easily as these women and their families. Nobody is immune to hardship and struggle of some sort! Where's the compassion for the children behind these stories?

    September 22, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Alice

      I have a hard time believing that a pound of black beans in the bulk isle cost much more above $1 anywhere, I buy organic black beans for $.75 a pound.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Kelly

      Well said Kay! I live in Southern CA and I could easily spend $400 a month on food for my family of 3.

      September 22, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
      • Alice

        Of course you COULD spend $400 a month, I COULD spend $400 a week! The point is you don't HAVE to spend that much, you only want all the per-packaged, processed, name brand foods. If you shopped the bulk bins and bought actual whole beans, rice, grains you could easily make that $400 stretch all month.

        September 22, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
      • Kelly

        I love how Alice assumes she knows what I buy. You know what they say when you assume.
        Alice where do you live? You seem to know the prices of groceries everywhere.

        September 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • sciihs 1958

      sorry in Hawaii you have trouble even finding black beans organic or not.

      From a 'cheap' grocery store sale: Local Tomatoes $1.19 LB, 90% lean hamburger $3.99 LB, green head cabbage .89 cents LB, local corn .89 cent ear. Avocados which grow everywhere here are $2.69 ea. Prices are higher at Farmer Markets.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Chris

      She's gettin' food stamps, Kay. Turn down the righteous indignation. This lady needs to take a cooking class or something. The only way you'd struggle to feed a family of four on $400 a month is by trying to plug that cash into the restaurant's prices.

      September 22, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • JJ@Kay

      I do live in the DC area and I do feed my family for well under $200 a month. I can buy a lb of dry beans for under a dollar, heck even a can of beans (3servings) costs $0.75. The trick: buy in bulk, shop sales, use coupons, and cook! You don't need to buy boneless skinless chicken when this is something that takes 2minutes to do at home. Plus you can then use the bones, along with vegs, to make a chick broth for soup or to give rice an extra pop. You also don't have to buy organic, this is a luxury not a necessity and highlights the biggest problem most people have when grocery shopping: being unable to separate needs from wants.

      September 23, 2011 at 8:23 am |
    • John Doe

      Try Alaska ... and $400 is still more than enough for a family of five if you buy in bulk and COOK at home.

      But then again, people who say it can not be done are either as unintelligent or as lazy as the people taking the food stamps and then still complain.

      Why is it that we do not see any comments from people on SNAP who say that $400 is enough ... probably because they are not starving and they are grateful for the assistance they are receiving. Why is it that we allow our beggars to complain for what is given to them free?

      The people who go onto SNAP due to unexpected circumstances would never say something negative or complain ... its that people that "LIVE" on SNAP that are complaining that they need a "raise" because it is too difficult (since they do not try)

      September 25, 2011 at 3:25 am |
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