To the Weary Family on Food Stamps, You Deserve to Eat Well Too.

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To the Weary Family of Food Stamps, You Deserve To Eat Well Too! |

I’m sure I’m opening up a huge can of worms, but in the deepest of my hearts I want to share with you my own experience on food stamps this year.

I’ll never forget the day that Gabe walked through our front door and slowly stepped inside carrying a large cardboard box with him. It was this past Valentines day. The kids jumped out of their seats at the kitchen table where we were finishing up homeschool to take a look at what dad had brought home. “Toys!” they screamed. I knew something was a bit off as he looked at me, eyes glassed over, and tried to remain joy filled as he showed the boys all of his foam toys that he’d collected at trade shows over the past 13 years.

I knew right away. I asked him what was in the box when he replied to me, “my stuff.” My heart sank.

I was nearing the end of my teaching semester and all I could think about was that in two short months I’d be off for the summer and we’d be left with no income at all. Right away, in my mind, my flesh went into survival mode. I started thinking about daycare, public school, and sending out resumes to jump back into the working world as a web designer. I didn’t say any of this to Gabe, I just hugged him. I told him that I was proud of him and that no matter what God would see us through this time. He held my hand, and then led me to our bedroom. He slowly made his way to the edge of the bed, where he sat down leaving a deep impression in the mattress. He then hung his head and cried.

He told me he felt disappointed in himself and that he couldn’t stand the thought of not being able to support the kids and I. You see, Gabe is a hard worker. He’s responsible, genuine, and absolutely trust worthy. To see him like this broke me from within. We prayed… cried.

I remember that evening, we had to quickly compose ourselves and leave for our evening Dave Ramsey’s Financial University class being held at our church… oh the irony of it all.

The blessing is that since January, just a month prior to Gabe’s job loss, we were being educated on how to blast our debt to have more freedom. We had thought it was going to be a great year since we had just paid off our vehicle, my student loan, and even refinanced our home to get a lower monthly mortgage payment. To this day, all we have left in debt is just a small loan.


Navigating through unemployment was all new to us. We had never drawn on unemployment before. We found out that the pay Gabe would draw from unemployment would keep us going until I lost my income starting in the summer. Right away Gabe started to work odd jobs to pick up the loss in income. Hopefully, we could start saving some money when we knew we would really need it.

One of the first things he did was sign up to shovel snow. Un-ashamed, he went out in the middle of the night when they called him in. He ended up working for 24 solid hours shoveling snow by hand. When the snow finally ceased and they sent their labor home, they handed Gabe a $224 check.

Gabe didn’t mind the labor … he was determined that every little thing would help. To our surprise, as soon as Gabe reported that amount of extra money to the government, they deducted it from his unemployment check. Yeah, they took it away.

It was unbelievable and so frustrating to me that the government would deduct any amount of extra money that Gabe would make on the side while on unemployment. He should have stayed home!

We were confused – how on earth can they do this to a family? So here we were again, thinking “what are we going to do?” My husband was seeking employment but we knew that my teaching income was about to end and if he didn’t find a job soon, we were headed for some hard times.

No More Income

When my teaching semester finally ended, we were struggling. But we had a great support system in place including our fellowship at church, Gabe’s family, and my own. Gosh, in the midst of all of this, we were thrown for another whirlwind when we found out our front sewer line had to be replaced. Praise God we had that support system as they saw us through that difficult time. We ended up with an $8,000 invoice which in the end, the church, my parents, and Gabe’s parents paid in full.

It was around that time that I had my first anxiety attack.

I was falling apart inside but God was building me to be a strong woman. I kept on my knees and when my mind started to think of needing to register my children for public school, God kept showing me that he called me to homeschool and that he would get us through this time. Gabe also kept reminding me he wanted me to stay home as well.

It was humbling, to say the least. Gabe and I have never had to accept money like this from anyone. We work hard, we’re educated, so it was even more difficult when I had to ask my parents for money to help us pay for groceries.

I think for me, the hardest part was knowing that I had three children to think about. I know how important nourishing food is to developing children and I did not want to start introducing processed foods to their diet. I kept thinking to myself, “how on Earth are we going to keep food on the table.”

One afternoon, Gabe and I sat down with my dad and asked him for help. We asked him, “What should we do?” He looked at me and said, “You know what, apply for food stamps, that’s what it’s for.” “For people like you that are caught in a difficult time and need help.” He gave us enough money to get us through a few weeks and then hugged me and consoled me like any amazing father would do.

I honestly wasn’t expecting that answer and fought it for a long time. At first I didn’t want to apply. I didn’t want to have to use food stamps and be embarrassed by our situation. I didn’t want people to think bad about Gabe and think he’s a lazy man. I didn’t want people to think that we were abusing the system. I didn’t want people to think that I’m a single mom that had been knocked up three times. I didn’t want people to think poorly of me.

I finally realized that all of that playing in my mind was about me. About what people may think of me. I knew I was going to have to get passed this and focus on the people that meant the most to me, my husband and children.

Food Stamps

I remember calling DHS and crying on the phone with them, explaining to them our situation and why we might need this service. They were kind and right away got us into the system. In just a couple of weeks, we were sent an EBT card that would be loaded with $500 per month until we found ourselves on our feet again.

$500, Oh my gosh, that was more money than what were budgeting for our groceries before. I was still very  anxious about using it, but relieved that we would be able to continue feeding our children wholesome, real food.

Praise God that every store I shopped at accepted the ebt card. I mostly visited Trader Joes, Costco, and HyVee. Although I was happy that these stores accepted ebt, I still had a lot of anxiety using it. Every time I had to pull that card out, I could feel the pressure in my chest rise right up to my throat. My husband started going with me so that he could pay and take the pressure off of me. He kept reminding me that this is a temporal situation and a blessing from God.

A New Job

Praise the Lord, God has since found Gabe an incredible new job. He’s now out of the graphics area and working as a foreman in a new construction business that’s been developed with some friends at church. He’s making more money than he was before and after 2 months just received a 25% increase in pay! We hadn’t seen a raise in the five years prior.

Since October, we’ve no longer been on food stamps … we were using the ebt card for about 4 months.

As long as this post may seem, it’s really a condensed version of all the trials and victories that we’ve seen over this past year. God’s done an amazing work in Gabe and I. It’s grown our marriage stronger, its grown our faith in him, and brought us to our knees many times as we’ve come to learn what it means to be humble and give even when you don’t have. Throughout this entire time, Gabe and I have been faithful to continually give to our church and other people as they’ve needed it. Its brought us more blessings than we could have ever imagined and at the same time brought us gratitude and compassion for others.

We Need Compassion, People!

I’m only sharing this with you because this entire situation helped me understand a system I never really understood.

Clearly, there are people that abuse our system. There are people that live on food stamps as a way of life with a life cycle of dependence that’s been carried through from generation to generation. Yes, we need a overhaul to our system but clearly, we also need compassion.

  • For the single mom that needs to put food on her children’s table – she’s working hard, going to school to bring forth a better future for those she most loves … she needs compassion.
  • For the broken family left in financial ruin because of disease – turmoil it brings … they need compassion.
  • For the family enduring a job loss – they’re trying to overcome a difficult and come out a better family because of it … they need compassion.
  • For the widow thats fallen to heartache and a life left alone… dear Lord, she needs compassion.

You know, there’s theology, there’s what scripture says, but you know what speaks more than any written rule… the listening of the Holy Spirit.

I think of my Jesus and the humbleness he showed, the love he showed to the poor, the widows, the prostitutes, and people filled with a need to surrender – people that needed someone to believe in them and a person desperately needing a simple hug to feel the warmth of an embrace to let them know that everything is going to be okay.

People, we need compassion and there’s no changing my mind that these types of people that need us the most also deserve to nourish their families through these times.

I was at an event, and told that this specific company didn’t accept ebt cards because their product was a specialty product. Pastured meat, to them was a specialty product. You know, I can understand that . They work hard to raise these animals in the way that they do, but is that saying that if you’re using food stamps and in a difficult situation that you’re only good enough to eat factory farmed raised meat?

See, to me, pastured meat is not a specialty item. To me, it’s the way God intended for food to be raised … it’s the way all meat should be raised. 

Knowing the damage that factory farmed raised meat can do to a child, including adding hormones to their sensitive growing bodies, and on top of that, antibiotics to an immune system that’s not yet completely strong enough to handle that is unacceptable to be given to any child. Praise God in our situation we had already purchased our pastured meat for the year in January using our tax money, but I strongly believe that all children should have access to pastured meat filled with nourishing fats, omega 3, vitamin d, and other natural minerals and vitamins.

To those that are in the midst of weariness, please know that you are free to use your ebt card in whichever store accepts them. Praise God for stores like Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and Costco that accept them knowing they’re helping families in need. Please take comfort in knowing that there are people with compassion, there are people that understand your situation, and don’t feel like you shouldn’t be buying organic or pastured meats because you’re on food stamps. Your children deserve to be nourished, most importantly know that God will meet you where you’re at.

Seek him, and live to please him alone.

Don’t fear people, what they’ll say, what they’ll think. It leads to nothing but stress and anxiety. And we all know what our Lord says about anxiousness…

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  -Philippians 4:6-7

To the weary family on food stamps, please remember this one truth; God promises suffering to those he calls. He promises that in this suffering we’ll grow in him, we’ll grow stronger, that we may bring a testimony of triumph and glory to God. It takes these trials that we may truly surrender everything to him. That we may learn true humility and humbleness. That we seek to live a life like Christ and share his love with those that need to hear it… because, let me tell you, people need him.

It’s amazing to see what God has done with my family this year.  He’s brought me more faith and humbleness than I could have ever of imagined. I don’t think I’d be where I’m at relationally with Jesus, if it weren’t for this “year of crap.” God saw us through it and he’s not done with us yet!

* I’ll make sure to answer all comments after our day in homeschool 😉

124 Responses to "To the Weary Family on Food Stamps, You Deserve to Eat Well Too."
  1. Hope says:

    So thankful for you. Your sweet,sweet spirit. You are right! Your situation was exactly what that system should be used for.

  2. Diana – what powerful words you’ve shared here. I think many families need to read this, no matter their financial situation. WOW!

  3. Jane George says:

    I have also had to sign up for Food Stamps, once because of my husband’s unemployment and again after retirement, it is a shame that the general public has attached a stigma to those of us who have needed this resource, I am grateful it was there to help me out. Best wishes and prayers to you and your family that your life continues to be blessed.

  4. Evelyn says:

    Thank you so much for this post. As a single mom on food stamps I know all to well that moment of dread before swiping my ebt card. The truth is I wouldn’t be able to feed my family without it, but people in the store don’t know that. It makes me incredibly self conscious and worrying about what the clerks are thinking, especially when I buy “specialty” items like organic food and natural meats. I needed this today. Thank you.

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Evelyn, I’m so glad it could bless you. I totally know that feeling about not even wanting to look up at the clerk. Oh, do I ever. Also, as a single mom, you’re doing so much work and I understand that a bit as well. My husband was working away from the family for about 3 months. It was so difficult having to do everything on my own. I’ll pray for your Evelyn, stay strong, seek him, and know that all things work for good to those who love him and have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28. Much love to you!

      • Jan Johnson says:

        Thank you from this single mom too! I know so well that feeling of embarrassment at swiping the card and worry every time about them wondering why I am buying fresh fruit and buying the fancy brown rice gluten free noodles instead of store brand wheat noodles or the cage-free natural eggs instead of the store brand. I have seen my own friends and family spewing pretty much hatred at food stamp users on Facebook. When I have expressed the opinion that some folks truly need it and what are they to do – go hungry? They say they don’t mean those people yet they will do it again and not give a disclaimer about the people who try hard and just have unfortunate circumstances. I am a single mom by adoption, homeschooler, working from home and then my medical transcription career collapsed to voice recognition software, putting many out of work and flooding the market with people needing work. Then I got a heart arrhythmia that literally knocks me to my feet daily with near passing out spells and room spinning for hours on end. Yet my landlord, who grew up in my church with me and was in my class at the Christian school I went to told me I am taking poor care of my kids and feel entitled to just laze around and live for free in his old trailer he fixed up for us. Then he told me he gave the rent to his wife for spending money, but he felt he was enabling me not to work. I tried so hard to get a job for so long – any kind! He said I just wanted to be with my kids. It is so hard to be one of the downtrodden and have people think you are lazy when you try so hard. I so appreciate this post and hope it makes some people think! (sorry to ramble!) They did just cut our food stamps almost in half and I am worried we will have to use cheap fillers but I will try to keep us on a real food diet as long as I can. It seems the people who need help the most are the first ones to get cut! And churches don’t seem to help like they did in the good old days and I don’t even want to approach that option – I just want to take care of my family myself.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for this post, Diana! I had to use Food Stamps for a few years when my husband and I just couldn’t make it without them. I remember feeling so ashamed and embarrassed.
    Then the Lord showed me something in the Bible that made all the difference — God used the Egyptian government to provide for Jacob’s family during the famine. He knew what was coming and made provision. If Jacob could rely on government aid in time of need, why couldn’t I? It was just for a season and I cannot tell you how big my smile was when I walked into the DHS office to tell them we no longer qualified!! 😀

  6. Hilary says:

    Thank You for this. My husband lost his job 4 months ago and we had to get an EBT card for the first time as well. I had the same issues you had. He just got a job this last week and I am looking forward to not having to use the card. God was good and our church family and friends helped us out with love and compassion, but it was still humbling. And yes, I refused to buy a bunch of junk as well. My children don’t need that.

  7. Chelsey says:

    Thank you for writing this. My husband and I went through a similar situation a few years back and had to get on Food Stamps for a short period. Fun fact: Did you know you receive quite a bit less (like a couple hundred/mo) in food stamps if one decides to go back to college. Sad, but true. Thankfully we lived near an old school Mennonite community who’s prices on fresh produce were significantly lower than any grocery store, including their raw milk. I know how hard it is to admit using food stamps and commend you for writing this post. I also completely understand the anxiety you felt when swiping that card. But, that card fed our family and that is what I had to remind myself. Again, thank you from all of us that had been or even still are are food stamps for your encouraging voice and openness.

  8. sara says:

    This country was formed by colonies who were Commonwealths.
    Think about that name-it meant a sense of organizing for the common good, and sometimes sharing of the commonwealth.
    We pay in, and sometimes we need to take out.
    When employed, you pay certain taxes that can help support you when you need it.
    So, your employment has contributed to provide aid when you needed it.
    It is sad to think you were self-conscious about dipping into the pot you helped fill!
    I am blessed to be able to contribute to that pot, and urge all who are in need, please take what you need when you need it. I have been on unemployment in the past, and may have other need in the future.
    And when that time comes, I will try to keep my head up, knowing that I am part of a larger, caring community who works to share the commonwealth.
    Blessings to all.

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Sara, thanks for sharing that. It’s so neat to be reminded of how this country was founded. We’re going through that right now in homeschool. Thanks for that encouragement!

      • Doina says:

        This is going to come across as very uncompassionate but please, please, please research your history. Our country is a republic not a commonwealth, which was incorrectly defined above. Please look up and do some studying on how our country was really founded, especially since you’re homeschooling your kids. We should not look to the government for charity.

        • Danielle says:

          Doina, please re-read what the poster Sara said. The original 13 colonies were commonwealths. They are called commonwealths still, and it bears no legal ramifications.

          And who is ‘looking’ to the government for charity?

  9. Barb S says:

    Great article. We have been on food stamps too; the hardest thing for me was forgoing the roadside markets where I would find fresh produce at bargain prices for canning. You just can’t buy enough at a grocery store to make it worthwhile. However, 20 years later, here in Michigan, at least, farmers markets can offer a “Double up” program, where you get twice the value of your benefits. Yay! Finally struggling families have access to affordable GOOD food.

  10. Mary says:

    This is what the food stamp program is for and so happy everything worked out for your family. I think the stigma that may be out there is from seeing so many grocery shoppers check out with junk food, microwavable meals, soda, etc. and are using the “card”. That kind of monthly $ can go a very long way when you cook from scratch and much healthier meals, too. The younger couples preferring to live together and have children without marriage so the Mom can continue to use the system is hurting those who are actually in need. A big pet peeve of mine…disposable diapers lol…please use cloth, it’s so much better for baby, can save $$$ and keep them out of the landfills.

    • katy says:

      just fyi, you can’t buy diapers w/food stamps. it is very hard on mothers who do not have $$ to buy diapers – these babies in turn end up sitting in their urine & feces b/c there are not enough diapers to change them when it is time. it is a sad state, indeed.

      • Mary says:

        I really didn’t mean to relate the disposable diapers to food stamps, only the “saving” of $ for families using cloth diapers. No reason for a baby to have to sit in dirty diapers when they can use cloth.

        • Jay Bee says:

          We should not judge one another by choice of diapers, either. Not everyone can use cloth. Not everyone has laundry facilities or other resources (investment) to use cloth.

    • I use cloth diapers and love them, so don’t get me wrong…but they aren’t a feasible choice for everyone.

      The up-front investment to get going with cloth diapers can be quite steep. I paid just over $100 to get my first pack of 2 dozen prefolds and 3 covers, and that is a discount price. But even that amount is unattainable for many poor moms.

      Even if they could come up with the money to buy the cloth diapers, many poor moms do not have laundry washing available in their home/apartment. Taking the diapers to the laundry mat–particularly if they do not have a car and of course have other laundry to take–may not be feasible. Even if they can transport the diapers, they may not have the time to wash them if they are working well over 40 hours per week, plus adding on long bus commutes.

      • steviferg says:

        And many laundromats do not allow diapers to be washed there. I use flats & covers too, and when we moved house, I had to go a couple weeks without a washer and dryer. I handwashed diapers, and it was quite challenging! I’m not sure I would be able to sustain that for a long period of time, especially not if I was also working full-time. There are only so many hours in a day.

        I wish all families had the option of cloth diapers, healthy food choices, and the ability to raise kids at home instead of day care, but that’s not reality for many.

  11. Erica says:

    I was a single mom for years and had to use food stamps. Its hard sometimes for everyone, thank you for sharing this.

  12. Andrea Castaneda says:

    Lost my job few months ago. Today is my food stamps appt so this article really moved me. Wondering if you have a pantry item list (on a budget) to help me get the most real food on a budget. If I’m approved I’d receive about $180/month. Thanks!

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Andrea, the best way to make the most of your money is through menu planning. Plan your menu in advance (meals made from scratch), then buy those items. Since meat is expensive, a good way to stretch that is to make stock. Make a big batch of chicken stock with 8 legs of chicken. You’ll have nourishing stock and enough meat to last you (if you’re single) about 5 meals. Hmm… maybe I should write a post about this soon!

    • Jaime says:

      100 Days of Real Food is a blog I follow. She has 5 weeks worth of meal plans, complete with a shopping list based on a food stamps budget. It is so doable!

  13. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and soul in this post. There is so much judgment towards the poor and it is a cycle that needs to stop. Money doesn’t make you a better person. Wealth doesn’t make you more worthy of love, health, respect, or education. God doesn’t look at your bank account when you are knocking on heaven’s door!

  14. Sara Shay says:

    Thank you for this and your humbleness. I am getting ready to do this. My husband lost is job in June and couldn’t get unemployment because he worked for a religious school that chose to not pay into unemployment.
    Thankfully he got a small severance and I was able to work a bit before we moved. He’s been picking up side jobs, but has nothing regular.
    I’ve been putting it off because of all the weird/special circumstances in so afraid of how confusing the proving our finances it going to be.
    But we are getting close to dipping into the very little savings we have and our housing will be changing and increasing in cost anytime now.
    God has been faithful, but we are feeling very lost as to where we are supposed to be heading.
    Pride is definitely something we are still fighting.

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Sara, I’ll be praying for you! Trust in him, and find joy in your time of rain. All I can say is what seriously got me through this was making sure to spend time with God every morning. He kept me in joy and brought me more peace than I’ve ever known. If you ever want to chat, just let me know!!

  15. Kris says:

    This brought tears to my eyes! Thanks for sharing such a heart-felt, compassionate post. I have no doubt your words will impact both those using food stamps, and those who might be behind the checkout accepting them, or standing behind that person in line.

  16. Krystal Branom says:

    Thank you for sharing a post that reflects so much of what my family has endured. God bless you!

  17. Janet Leake says:

    I am so glad you received the help you needed. This is what the system was set up to do…help people through a transitional period. Glad to hear of a story in which the system worked. So many people are living by means of the system with no thought, plan, or intention of ever taking care of themselves.

  18. Tammy says:

    We were on FS one time for a few months, when both hubby and I were laid off at the same time. We got over $600/mo (with 3 kids). That was double what we normally budgeted for food. It was the one time in our life we could afford to eat organic food. We stocked out pantry full, knowing full well that when we no longer qualified, whatever food we had leftover would have to last for months. I couldn’t believe how much money we were given.

  19. My husband has been laid off twice and both times we were on unemployment assistance. I can’t stand how people think that government aid is just for those who want to milk the system. There are genuinely people who take it for a time of need and are grateful for it. This time last year we finally gave in and applied for food stamps. We put it off for as long as we could and it was our last resort. It was terrible seeing my husband having to use it, but I’m glad we had it.

    It has been over a year since he was laid off from his last permanent job. He’s been working diligently finding temporary jobs and has been working on the same contract for almost six months now. He’s making more than he ever has and there’s a good possibility he could get hired in soon!

    I want to thank you for sharing your story, I know it’s not easy. I love reading others stories about the trials of unemployment because I’ve been there too. I would not wish it on anyone but I also know that we have grown so much because of it.

  20. Thank you SO MUCH for this post, I will be sharing it everywhere. I feel like you took a chapter of my life an blogged it. My husband and I have gone through a very similar situation and it’s amazing the amount of compassion and understanding you gain form painful and embarrassing situations. I thank God we went through it-we are far better people now. Blessings to you and your family!

  21. Lori says:

    This is absolutely what the system was designed for and I am so glad you got help when you most needed it. We struggled financially too a few years ago. However, we had enough money in savings to carry us through, so I never had to ask for help. With that said, it was the first time I ever experienced anxiety. I couldn’t pray at bedtime like I always had because bringing all of my problems to God meant rehashing them in my mind. It was almost 18 months before I could pray and when I finally did, I cried myself to sleep–out of joy! And knowing it was Christ who carried us through. What a friend we have in Jesus!! Many blessings to your family.

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Thanks, Lori! I think anxiety in woman is a common theme, huh?! I think what’s neat is that although you couldn’t speak, the Holy Spirit did for you. Blessings to you and yours!

  22. Nicole says:

    I cried all the way through this. We are currently on Food Stamps and have been for close to six months. It’s very humbling. I’m very grateful. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them as my children have multiple allergies and get very sick with “cheaper” foods. I’m also pregnant with our 3rd child and due very soon.This has been the hardest year of our life and I see the end soon financially but we may still lose our house to foreclosure before we have the money to make up back payments. My husband has switched career fields, we’ve both worked extra part time in and out of the house, I think come February we’ll be off Food Stamps, maybe even January and I can’t tell you how good that feels. It’s been so embarrassing and hard. And humbling. This time in my life has taught me a lot. Thank you for writing this.

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Nicole, I’m so glad it was able to touch you. Just remember that you will get through this time. Don’t worry, I know it’s easier to say because I still do but that little baby inside of you doesn’t need that right now. Take care of yourself and find peace in the Lord. Know that God will see you through this if you seek him. Ask, plead that he would show you who he is. I don’t think I could have managed without knowing that God was there overseeing everything. I’ll be praying for you that you have a beautiful birth and that your family will overcome all of this in the end. Much love to you!

      • Nicole says:

        Thanks for the sweet reply and prayers. I’m pretty certain God is the only way we’ve gotten through this year. Many prayers and pleadings. I know in the end he will work it all out but in the midst it is hard sometimes.

  23. Ruth says:

    Thank you for posting this article! My family is on food stamps, and I have to admit that I often do not purchase “whole” foods and meats simply out of guilt. I feel guilty that so many other families, including my own parents and friends, can’t afford such nourishing food with their hard earned money and I can on food stamps. We are a young family, both my husband and I are still in school AND my husband works full time, just to pay our bills. We need food stamps.
    I am only just learning about real/whole foods for my kids but don’t know much because its just not how I was raised. Can you give me some resources or let me know how exactly you feed your family and why? I am really interested in bettering the health of my family and your article inspired me, as I too am a Christian. I would also love to hear how your faith fits into this lifestyle as well :)
    Thank you!!

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Ruth, sign up for my email updates. In January, I’m going to be holding an email course where I’ll be giving away menuplans for the entire month and teaching you a bit of what my family eats and why. Let me tell you, it can be done on a small budget!

  24. Angela says:

    God Bless you for posting this today.I needed this more than you can ever know. Thank you

  25. Elizabeth says:

    I really appreciate this post and you sharing your family’s journey. My husband and I have always earned what would be considered in the poverty line. He was laid off once and then the only work that he could find paid minimum wage, despite the fact that he had a degree. Most of our friends make under 1K a month in the US ( we currently live abroad) and are struggling big time, some living with their families. I went through panic attack after panic attack and could barely sleep every night, scared of if our electricity would be shut off or if we would lose the car. What many who criticise the food stamp or unemployment system fail to realize is that most people who go on benefits/welfare are truly struggling. Especially my generation who are graduating form college with extensive student loan debt and are unable to find work, period. They then have to take minimum wage ( or around that) jobs that don’t even cover rent. Our world needs compassion for those struggling instead of condemnation.

  26. Tiffani says:

    The stigma attached to food stamps makes me sad and ashamed for the judgmental people. There are people like you, like us who work hard and yet can’t seem to make ends meet. We have been using an EBT card too. My husband has been searching for a job in his field for nearly two years. We’re lucky that he is able to work for the family business in the mean time, but that salary barely pays the utilities and puts gas in his car each month. I was embarrassed to go sign up for it, but my child deserves to eat good food.

  27. Brea says:

    Thank you for this. We have been on food stamps once for 2 months when my husband who is active duty military got his pay messed up…they would back pay him but what to do in the mean time. I too was astonished at how much in foodstamps we were given. It is frustrating now knowing that people on foodstamps can feed their kids so much better whole foods than we can afford to on our own. We have a big family and spend a third of my husbands take home pay on food and I still don’t get to buy organic or pasture raised meat or raw milk because it is so expensive.

    • Brea says:

      And out of curiosity, I looked up the income charts and we more than qualify for food stamp, I just don’t think we should need to. Good food is just so expensive.

      • Diana Bauman says:

        I know, that’s one of the things I love about Spain, and Europe. Food is not expensive. It’s a necessity that is made accessible to all. I wish the U.S. could see that, sometimes.

  28. Jessica says:

    Thank you for your beautiful words and inspiration…my faith, my spirit and my soul feel nourished. Humbled and appreciative, j

  29. Anna says:

    This so mirrors my experience when my husband and I had to go on food stamps while we were trying to work our way through college. I felt embarrassed. But we were both working as much as we could plus giving plasma to try to cover our bills. Food stamps were one of the things that helped us through that trying time.

  30. Hannah says:

    Thank you! All gratitude to you!

    Praise God for women like you. May God bless you and your family.

    Truly heartwarming and inspirational. Raw and so beautiful. Many thanks.

  31. Honey says:

    what an amazing story of the human spirit…and you are so right about compassion. Christ had compassion for all, not just for some….Thanks for sharing

  32. Katy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. We are still on Food Stamps and I hate the guilt of it. Learning to trust God that He loves me more than this bad feeling, and that He will deliver us!

  33. Christine says:

    Thank you so much for your transparency and humility. My husband’s job was sent to China 9 years ago, just days after we found out I was pregnant. We never saw that job loss coming and it was so devastating for him. I love how you were concerned for your husband during this time. We went through 2 years of being unsettled until God sent him to his dream job, and we have been through enough to appreciate it even more. During those 2 years he did “whatever it took” to support the family, but we still needed help off and on during that time. Especially when we lost our baby at 14 weeks and had to have emergency medical treatment and surgery. I was so thankful for the insurance through out state that kept us from being wiped out. May God continue to bless you and your family.

  34. Brittany says:

    After reading this truly inspiring post, I was worried about reading the comments. A lot of the blogs I’ve been following recently, have been invaded by really judgmental commenters, but this post and everyone who responded has reminded me that there are still compassionate people in the world. Thank you so much for taking the time to share this.

  35. Amy Dettbarn says:

    We are a homeschooling family as well. I have felt God’s calling to be a wife and mom first. We have also been on food stamps for a couple of years now, and unemployment benefits for a couple of months due to my husband being let go last year. I keep asking how long are we going to be in this desert? But, we have survived and received blessings we know are from God. This life is not easy, but I keep looking to our eternal life with our Father in Heaven! I too have felt ashamed by using the EBT card. I pull it out very discreetly and swipe it fast, avoiding eye contact. People may judge me, but God shows grace and mercy to us all, and especially those who ask. Thanks for your post on this topic. I appreciate your humbleness, and for ministering to my heart!

  36. Liz says:

    Hi Diana! Want you to know how much I treasure your story. I do have one question – the question of deservedness. I wrestle with this – I do not think that pastured meat should be a specialty item, but as I watch the government in our nation spiral into debt – and as I look at the Bible, which I don’t THINK ever offers the position of entitlement, of “deserving” anything – I question whether it is the place of the government to provide, and whether it’s a question of “deserving”? Know that I do not say this to communicate a position of confidence in an answer – I really want to know. Most of the stories I know are of people taking advantage of the government, and use more than they need to of it’s resources without regard to those whose paycheck it is taken from… or of people like you, who grieve the loss of a job and who I so wish for JOY as you make use of the gift I so long for you to receive. To what degree, and in what form, should we, as Christians, ask our government to provide when it clearly cannot afford anything right now? (I am not saying that I think they should get rid of assistance programs, and I realize that asking a non-Christian government to practice a lot of Christlike discernment is either laughable or sobering; and I realize that I am asking the government for a complete overhaul!) We are not living in the Israel of olden days, governed by God, with laws made according to His glory, anymore, and I constantly ponder how we can live well in the U.S.A. I have a feeling that you will have some great insight on those questions, and I’d love to know your thoughts.

    • Diana Bauman says:

      Here’s the think Liz, I do not believe in entitlement. I just don’t. God gives and he takes away. One thing, joy I’ve never lost. Joy is my gift that has carried me through this time. Yes, I’ve worried, I’ve fallen into panic attacks, but depression and sadness have never been who I am. God reigns in my heart.

      Here’s a post I wrote last week,

      One thing I would encourage you to do, is to step out and meet some of these people that you hear of that take advantage of the government. They live by you, in the grayer areas of town. I know them, I’ve ate with them, I’ve spent time… with mostly their children. You see, this is a bigger problem than we even know. These people are mostly single mothers, that have been raised in a world without God. They have boyfriends, they have children, and the life cycle of dependance starts. As wrong as this is, to those of us that know it’s wrong, there are children involved. Children without fathers. I honestly believe that this is one of the biggest problems there is. These children don’t know what a father is. They don’t understand what a man of God looks like. They don’t know the love that a father can bring or the just in and healthy fear of a father. If they don’t know this how can they understand who our father in heaven is or what he expects and even demands from us. In my years that I worked at youth shelter, these children didn’t realize people paid with groceries with money that was worked for. They had never seen that. They only knew that they needed food stamps to get food. So to them, it was so weird to know that not everyone had food stamps.

      Regardless of what’s right and what’s wrong, what is true is that this world needs God. So, maybe… just maybe, the higher issue is that this world needs more disciples. This world needs more people, unafraid to share who God is to people that don’t even know who Jesus is. These children are in need of a savior that they don’t even know exists. Can you imagine how this cycle of dependance could drop if we did more to share and do what God expects of us than complain about our fallen system?

      It’s true this system needs a overhaul but when I write that these families deserve to eat well, it’s only because our food system needs a complete overhaul as well. I’m not sure how aware you are of the industrial practices that our government oversees but it’s horrific. Filled with pesticides, chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, everything designed to effect a child and inflict disease in the most negative ways. These children then are labeled adhd, add, or what not and then sent to the next stage where they’re pumped with more drugs than an elderly person in their last days. So you know, most children that enter into the youth shelters or system are on at LEAST 10 drugs each. That is not even a joke.

      You see, in my opinion we’re living in a fallen world completely. The end days are upon us. You ponder how we can live well in the U.S.A, well, I think those days are coming to an end. I feel now is the time to spread the message of who God is, and live our lives for him, helping one another, sacrificing for one another.

      I don’t know, I obviously didn’t answer your question, lol. No, I don’t think people deserve anything. But, I do feel we need to be compassionate and understand that there is nothing we can do to completely overhaul a multi-faceted system that is focused on money. We can’t. But we can cling to God’s promises and know that prophecy is being fulfilled and that our hope is not in the U.S.A. but in Jesus and the eternal life he has planned for us in heaven. My hope is that when I stand before my God I will have lived my life in furthering his kingdom.

      There are some really great comments from above though that I just loved.

      Elizabeth mentioned above: God used the Egyptian government to provide for Jacob’s family during the famine. He knew what was coming and made provision.

      Sara mentioned above: This country was formed by colonies who were Commonwealths.
      Think about that name-it meant a sense of organizing for the common good, and sometimes sharing of the commonwealth.
      We pay in, and sometimes we need to take out.
      When employed, you pay certain taxes that can help support you when you need it.
      So, your employment has contributed to provide aid when you needed it.
      It is sad to think you were self-conscious about dipping into the pot you helped fill!
      I am blessed to be able to contribute to that pot, and urge all who are in need, please take what you need when you need it. I have been on unemployment in the past, and may have other need in the future.
      And when that time comes, I will try to keep my head up, knowing that I am part of a larger, caring community who works to share the commonwealth.

      Anyway’s, that’s just me, Liz. Thanks so much for opening some good conversation 😀 Many blessings!!

      • Liz says:

        Thank you so much for your thoughts! It gave me much to pray over – there are so many ministries to be involved in, and while I find myself stretched thin with what I have already been given to do, I want my eyes to always be open to new ways to love God’s world. I agree that we pour into the pot with our taxes – and there are times to ask to take something out of it. I too want to be “part of a larger, caring community who works to share the commonwealth,” and while I don’t believe that the government has the time or the discernment to distribute what is collected well… I know well that this world I live in is the world God gave me to live in, to love it where it is, to rejoice in its strengths, to grieve in its areas of weakness, remembering my own and remembering Christ’s grace. I so long – and THIS is opening a can of worms! – to see those who have no idea that food stamps are paid for by someone else come to know Christ’s fatherly love, come to become contributers to that larger, caring community, come to give and not just know a somewhat ineffectual reception of that love. I so long for effectiveness in sharing a portion of the fulness that Christ is. And I agree that healthy food will help prevent a great deal of those health issues that cost us ever so much more in “treatment” – how much better off we would be if we took care of the root of the issue and sought to impart Christ’s wholeness to every aspect of life, including food.

        Thank you so much for taking the time to answer. Praying for you and so grateful for you. A friend referred me to your blog about a year ago to show me some yummy food recipes, as I was trying to find yummy ways to cook veggies for my hubby. Little did I know the blessing you would be!

      • Danielle says:

        Ms Diana- this right here is the most compassionate, christ-like thing I have read in a really long time. God bless you and your family, and I pray that your reward in heaven is multiplied. You are a true disciple of Christ.

  37. Thank you for sharing so humbly and honestly…when we were younger, we had to go on food stamps for a while…there is no shame in that! Think of it as recouping some of the tax money you paid into the system for years…a type of savings account! And so wonderful the testimony you have of God providing MORE through this avenue than you budgeted before! How good He is! So glad He opened new doors for you and your husband through this all! May He continue to bless your family mightily!

  38. Erika says:

    Thank you for being this honest. Our family just got off food stamps this month after being on them for a few years. I stayed home with our kids because we could never afford daycare (and I’m thankful, because I want to be home with them), and my husband worked a full time job and is also in the Army Reserve. I actually didn’t feel shame about being on them because we needed them- what I did feel is anger at all the judgment. It was maddening how often I would have to hear about people taking advantage of “the system”. Almost all food stamp recipients have children, or are elderly, and almost all also are working. Especially in this economy, it should absolutely not have a stigma. People should not be looked down upon for caring for their families.

  39. Bronwyn Lea says:

    What you have shared is so important. We struggled with similar feelings when I applied for state medical assistance when I was first pregnant. Without that assistance, we would have been sunk. We were so thankful for the temporary aid, and it has made me a much more mindful and thankful
    Taxpayer in the years since.

  40. Tracy says:

    Thank you for this precious article. This subject is not one that is shared openly and it is both refreshing and encouraging to hear someone say these things out loud. Our family is deep in a trial now but there have been some times when I have felt grateful. Grateful that God would love me enough to give me the trials that would grow me closer to Him. I am so blessed to find a sister who understands this (most people think I’m nuts :-P)

  41. Jennifer says:

    I work full time and have almost 25% of my income taken out for taxes, which I assume is partly contributed to the Food stamp system. Though it is discouraging to know some do take advantage of the system, I want to believe that most families that use food stamps are really in tough situations and trying to get back on their feet, and I am happy to contribute. Plus, I would much rather my money go to help a stay at home mom trying to feed her family nourishing real food than to a mom purchasing processed cheese, sugary cereals, chips and fake juice. And, it doesn’t matter to me if a mom on food stamps could get a good job; if she chooses to stay home with her kids, She is making a good decision in my mind. At the end of this school year, I plan to quit working and stay home with our 2 yr old. Right now we expect to be ok, but you never know. I hope we will never need to ask for help because that will be really hard for me to do, but I will swallow my pride to do the best thing for my family.

    • Diana Bauman says:

      I know Jennifer. I’ve gotten that from people, wondering why I don’t just go back to work. I think a mom at home is doing more for our community than people realize. They’re raising responsible children, disciplined. Thanks for sharing and all the best to you as a stay at home mama 😀

  42. Kim says:

    This is a sweet post. I have a brother with a severe mental disability. Whenever I feel frustrated with how welfare systems seem to be functioning (or not) or abused (or not), I remember what my mother says. “When our boy needed it, it worked. That has to be enough for me.” A little compassion goes a long way.

  43. Cindy Penrod says:

    So appreciate this sensitively written piece. I praise God for your honesty in relating your experience, and I applaud your integrity for not ‘abusing the system’. Your families love for God, family, and hard work will never go unrewarded. God is ALWAYS faithful to His own. Thankful you are healthy, growing, and effective for Him.

  44. Erin Long says:

    THANK YOU! God has called my husband to meaningful jobs that impact the lives of others for His glory but don’t pay well and I am home full time with our two little ones. Thus we receive food stamps and WIC. It’s humbling to use them and I fear how people see me but I know it’s God’s way of providing and it is a season. It’s forced me to deal with my own pride and challenged how I view people who receive government assistance. We’ve lived in Hungary and Cananda and those governments (and most others) give their citizens much more than ours does. It gives me some perspective.

  45. Terri says:

    Please take note that some of us are trying to help. Here is our fund-raising so that we can offer healthy foods to be distributed by food banks. It is called “Feed Them Healthy Now”

  46. Beth says:

    I can’t remember the last time I even noticed what the person ahead of me at the grocery store was paying with (unless they were taking a really long time to write a check . . . ) But if you really feel ashamed or that those behind them are resentful, perhaps you could just turn and thank the person behind you for helping you pay for your food today. That would be one way to let them know that you are not trying to game the system and that you appreciate that every dollar you spend came out of someone else’s pocket rather than from some faceless government with mysterious and endless sources of revenue. It is hard to feel like you are forced to pay to feed (provide medical care and daycare for) everyone else’s children better than you are able to feed your own. Most people are not uncharitable and would not begrudge a needy family food from their own pantry, but everyone likes to feel appreciated and our anonymous welfare system has removed the opportunity for both free-will, truly charitable, giving and sincere expressions of gratitude for assistance.

  47. Ruth E. says:

    my dear sister in Christ, thank you so much for your passage today. it was exactly what my boyfriend and I needed as his ex takes him back to court for child visitation. while our situation is not about food stamps, I did have to remind him that all we can do is be prepared and let God take care of everything else.

  48. Mary B. says:

    Wow. So beautifully said. My husband was laid off when I was 7 months pregnant. The anguish and worry was unbearable. He applied to hundreds of jobs, did cold calls, . . .nothing. For the first year of our daughter’s life he worked as a waiter and we used his tip money to pay rent. To buy food, we had no other option then to go on food stamps. The humiliation and stigma I felt was simply indescribable. We were both college-educated, middle class individuals, desperate for work–but there was nothing. The idea that people who need assistance choose to be lazy and not work is laughable to me–we were desperate for work, and would have taken any job that would have gotten us off of welfare!

    I think what caused me the most despair was watching people who were were identical to us in education and qualifications and who were lucky enough to have full time jobs in their fields, choose to judge and ridicule those who needed food stamps. It seemed incredible to me–they should have been on their knees, thanking God for the incredible blessing of work!

    My husband finally found work last year. He doesn’t make very much, but we have a steady income and health insurance. We no longer need food stamps. Do I hate seeing the amount of his paycheck that goes to taxes? Um, yes! We could use that money! But I am so pleased to help support a program that feeds people like us, and you, and all other Americans who fall on hard times through no fault of their own. Thank you so much for sharing your story and helping to remove the stigma associated with welfare. God bless.

  49. Debbie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your food stamp journey. I too have had to be on food stamps. In fact I am right now. What a huge surprise life is, landing me back on the food stamp line. I had used them years ago when I was a new single mother of three children under the age of 6 and getting no child support. I was on them for a year that time and remember the day I was able to go in and say “I can make it on my own now”. There was a time again ten years later I had to use them because of an injury that left me unable to work and workman’s compensation wasn’t enough to pay the bills and eat. Now, 25 years later, here I am again, this time being the biggest surprise. I struggled and had put myself through school and became a nurse and was making a very nice income. Then, health issues forced me to be unable to work. I ran out of savings and even have used up all of my retirement that I had saved and still had no income. I have been awaiting SSDI and battling my health issues. I started changing my diet to one of whole mostly organic foods about the same time I was forced to stop working. I felt that food was to be my medicine. I too utilize Costco, the local Farmer’s Market and I have even purchased a CSA share for winter!!! I also have bartered for raw milk, and started raising chickens in order to have the freshest eggs. It is very possible to eat well and for your health while on food stamps. Blessings to you and yours and thanks again for sharing.

  50. Suellen Jennings says:

    Thank you for this! I read the comments on news stories about welfare recipients and it makes my heart so sad. Our world lacks compassion so much. The thought is if you are on food stamps or other forms of welfare, then you are lazy. While I know there is a small amount out there that may be this, but not most.
    We have been stuck for the last few years. We lost our jobs, home and everything in 2008. We made a decision to follow Jesus no matter what. It hasn’t always been easy. My husband is now an associate pastor at our church. (as of right now still unpaid) I make a fraction of what I used to make now and have had major health issues in the last 2 years.
    All we want is to be able to feed our 2 boys and live for the Lord.

  51. Jessica says:

    Excellent post. We were on WIC while in Seminary, because my salary wasn’t enough to cover all the kids needed. And we were SOOOO grateful for the fresh milk and cheese! We were also able to take advantage of the free ‘end of the day’ run at the then St. Louis Bread Company Store that would allow us to take what wasn’t sold, for free. I can still remember how GRATEFUL I was that the Asiago Cheese Bagels were putting some proteins into my wee ones! Praise God for His provision, however it comes and in whichever shape it happens, until we are back on our feet and can, like you so aptly said, SHOW MERCY to those who are where we have been.

  52. Alexandra says:

    I join the ranks in thanking you for sharing your humblng story. Like so many of your writers, we hit a horrible financial time in 2006. We are both educated, always worked, never worried that we’d need government assistance. We also had family that would help if we needed it. Knowing that there was a safety net out there kept our anxiety at bay.
    We struggled through job changes, short selling our house, ending an investment with a friend that ruined our relationship, and two layoffs. Through it all our marriage became the strongest it had ever been. We practiced gratefulness daily, gave to charities when we had the smallest amount of money, and learned skills of economy, budgeting with laser lilke focus, and eating leftovers with a good attitude. We got through it. We never had to take government assistance because we never got to that level. If we had, we would have. I would never judge someone who took it. I know how close we came. I think there are far more hard working people out there struggling than that small percentage who take advantage of the system. Those few get all the press while the hard workers are quietly putting their noses to the grindstone and doing what they have to do for their families. I have the greatest of respect for them whether the take assistance or not. Safety nets are there to keep us from falling. We have enough wealth in this nation to help each other.

  53. Saniel says:

    Did I feel guilty using food stamps, NO! I knew it was I going to feed my family, it comes to a point where you get tired of asking your family for money for groceries, gas and other items. I applied in my county and was approved a few weeks later. I knew I was being laid off from work and knew what I had to do was best for my family until I got another job. In regards to the other customers in the store and cashiers thoughts/feelings I could care less I know that was how food was put on the table that night no one was providing that for. As for the items these are foods we eat on a regular basis organic fruits & vegetables, vegan foods- nothing I wouldn’t purchase with my own money. God helps us through hard times and this when I need him the most, I am very thankful.

  54. Katelyn says:

    My situation was different for being on food stamps in the past – we were college students/low-income family with newborn twins. After college we were on food stamps the entire time my husband had his first “real” job. I know some have critized our choice of doing so, as I could have just went out and got a job, but as a one car family and twin daughters to find and pay for child care, it just didn’t make much sense, nor was super feasible. While I could have found other employment at home, it wouldn’t likely have been a $400 (food stamp allotment) increase. My husband was working, but he was a full-time teacher at a private Catholic school that paid him a JOKE of a salary and we had crushing debt.

    We’ve been off food stamps for over a year now, but it hasn’t been easy doing so as my husband is now a full-time student. Actually we are applying for assistance again as it’s just near impossible to live off $1000 (after rent). And we don’t have “extras.”

  55. Diana Edgar says:

    Food stamps are actually a debit card, right? It looks like every other card that people use at the store. I am not aware of what card people use. In the 1980’s when I needed food stamps, they were paper ‘money’ and very obvious. But I used it and fed my children.
    So this reply is just to reassure y’all: nobody knows what you’re paying with. Bless you.

  56. Kathy says:

    I am happy that this worked out for you and your experience was positive. Years ago when I was a single mom of 2 little girls, I too applied for food stamps, unfortunately they were very unkind and made me to feel less than. I ended up not signing up because of the awful way they treated me.

  57. Dawn says:

    Thank you for this beautifully written article. I wish everyone could read it. I was just thinking about a similar situation yesterday. I was thinking about the quality food I am blessed to be able to purchase to nourish my family and how different it is at the local food bank. I visited the local food bank with my son’s school twice last year. I had never been to one before. There is a lot of processed food. I understand it has to last for distribution, etc. I also noticed that the donation bags and boxes we unloaded were mostly cheap inexpensive foods. I’m thankful for those that donate anything at all, but wondered if the people purchased the same products for their own families. Peolple in need have to eat well also. Simultaneously, I felt blessed to buy the food I do and yet sad for those who would like to feed their families better but need to rely on less quality products. Thanks again. Blessings.

  58. Anne says:

    This could be our story, except we’ve had no real income since Dec 5, 2012. I teach at our homeschool co-op which during the school year pays about $500/month. I also bake and sell bread, which fills our car with gas. My husband has been working all the angles, all his connections, both is trying to start a business (the investor pulled out after 2 months of promising investment “as soon as the legal stuff cleared”) and applying for hundreds of jobs a week. We tried to get food stamps, but our net worth was too high (we bought 2 cars in 2005 & they’re worth too much to make us poor enough). Our church is also supporting us, as is our swim team family at the YMCA. I’ve given up on good nutrition. Most of the food people give us is not organic and is often highly processed, but it’s food. I eat mostly oatmeal and bread so that my kids can get the nutritious stuff. We have lots of food, but it’s not what I would feed our family if I had a choice.

    • Anne says:

      We also have not been eligible for unemployment because he’s been self-employed for the last 3 years working as a contractor.

  59. Jaime says:

    I appreciate your perspective! I would love to see the church step up so the government can step down when it comes to taking care of those in need. Our church is in the process of opening a food pantry with the goal of educating people about healthy choices and cooking from scratch. Thanks for sharing.

  60. Christie says:

    Thank you Diana. Your words are full of truth and compassion. They’re a balm to my heart.

  61. Allison says:

    I could have written this word for word!!! My husband was laid off in September and today got his first paycheck from his new job. I hate using that card also.

  62. taurataura says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for writing all of this down for the world to read.
    Friends, hit by aggressive cancer at 31 with two young children, has accessed this support for a year here in Canada. We are so proud of them. For surviving woth happy hearts.
    My family has been hit with illness over the last year. We may need to access this support.
    We have a whole new perspective and appreciation and compassion.
    Thank you for sharing your journey & how youve grown!

  63. Ashley says:

    Diana thank you so much for writing this. I am a single mother of 2.5 year old twins and my marriage disintegrated when the boys were just 4 months old. My sons and I had to move in with my parents and what money I had saved prior to maternity leave was drained to a lawyer in order to protect myself and my children thru the divorce and custody process with the courts. With the crippling cost of child care I made a decision to return to school to finish out my bachelors in nutrition part time 2 days a week and remain home with my sons when I was not at school. To make a long story short I receive food stamps. I worked hard everyday up until the 36th week of my pregnancy when I went into labor and for all the years before that, but here I am. On one had I too feel so blessed for the ability to nourish my sons in a way I see fit. On the other hand I die a little inside everytime I walk up to the register to swipe my card and receive my “handout” as I have heard it referred to. I look for the least judgemental cashier (how’s that for judging) and pray that no one I know ends up behind me. Most people like to assume that everyone is lazy and good for nothing, I am the woman with the TWO kids and no wedding band. I have friends who still make the comment about “oh it’s the 1st of the month don’t do your shopping today welfare checks came out” my face flushes and I wonder if they notice. No one who knows me might suspect. Each time I die a little more on the inside. I am thinking of writing my senior paper on my experiences with the snap program, sort of release this burden I have been carrying and hopefully change a few peoples perce

    • Ashley says:

      Perception of the SNAP program. It has been a blessing and I eagerly look forward to graduation and rejoining the workforce. I can’t wait to help support another family in their time of need as I have been helped in my own.

  64. Lora says:

    Great post. As one who works in a grocery store, and as a cashier at one for 8 years, I can tell you that there IS a difference between people like you and the “abusers” and it is obvious to anyone with experience dealing with customers. People like you are humble and it shows. We know that you’re using the system properly and the way it was intended and not as a way of life. I guess you would be a great person to teach people how to live well on food stamp budgets since most claim they don’t get enough and it was more than you were used to getting!
    I’m a bit confused by this post though, at one point you say “I was nearing the end of my teaching semester and all I could think about was that in two short months I’d be off for the summer and we’d be left with no income at all.” … but then you say you’re a stay at home mom and home schooler? When do you home school, and more importantly, why do you home school if you’re out teaching in the public schools?

  65. Ami says:

    With the exception of all the references to praising God and Jesus and Holy Spirit and all that (I’m atheist) I totally agree with the content of this blog post!!

  66. Cheryl says:

    I had to use Food Stamps when I was a single Mom over thirty years ago. Back then they did not have EBT cards. I can’t describe it very well so the best I can think of is that it looked like monopoly money. I was embarrassed using that with people in line behind me knowing I was obviously using Food Stamps. I was happy when I found out that they give people a card now. People in line behind them don’t know if it is a debit card or credit card or EBT. I have remarried and have a son. He and my husband talk with disdain about people on welfare, or in section 8 housing. I gently remind them that I was one of those people. Single moms, people who are sick or caring for a disabled family member, recently unemployed and the elderly are often victims of snobs. The Bible is full of scriptures where the Lord tells us to take care of the poor and the helpless. I now volunteer at a ministry that feed the hungry Mon.-Fri. every night. Some of them are addicts, or alcoholics who may be taking advantage of this ministry, but
    I met a girl living with her mother in a motel. I met an elderly couple with no children or relatives to care for them. I have seen some in wheelchairs. My heart breaks for them.

  67. Wendy says:

    Thank you for your faithful and compassionate post. Not only do I appreciate your insight into the issue of Food Stamps, but also the reminder to have faith in God in times of hardship. I have been disabled for the past 8 years, and have been in pain for much longer. I have been praying for so long, and needed this reminder that these seasons pass… and that God has my future in His hands.
    I put off applying for Social Security for too long… not wanting to admit that I needed assistance. I am now in the process of also applying for Food Stamps. I have been wanting to eat so much healthier, but have had the fear (that you mentioned) of being judged for buying “whole foods” with my food stamps. It is sad how angry some people get at those of us who need help during some of the most difficult times of our lives.
    Thank you again, and may God Bless you and your family…

  68. Wendy says:

    This post was such an encouragement to me–thank you for sharing your story.

  69. Sarah T says:

    I’ve often wanted to share my story, but my fear of judgement always stops me. We too were floating along fine until the economy plummeted and left my husband who worked in commission sales with a job that paid next to nothing and eventually no job. It all happened at once- no job, an unexpected pregnancy, back to college. It was a hard year. We made it because of the food stamps. I hated using them, with my pregnant belly and 4 kids in tow…fearing what others might think. We used self-checkout so that I didn’t have to talk to a cashier. More people need compassion, and realize that not everyone who uses food stamps is abusing the system or lazy. Sometimes they just need help while they are getting back on their feet.

  70. Trudy says:

    I stumbled upon your post. I am so, so glad. We don’t have the same religious beliefs but your post moved me to tears. I am forwarding it for many to read. You are a wonderfully kind and warm human being… Thank-you for your words.

  71. Ari says:

    You “use” the government each time you : go to the library, drive on a public road, visit a park and swing on a swing the government provided, use the dump for batteries, paint cans, pesticide containers, ride a bike trail, attend the fireworks and/or a parade, park your car on a public street, see the pretty shuttle go up. The space program has been repeating itself for the past 11 years. Every child deserves to be fed.

  72. Christy says:

    I am very glad that some people can get help when they need it. Unfortunately, not everyone can. The food stamp program is based on income only, not taking any bills into account. My husband is active duty military and also works two part time jobs. I am a stay at home mom, raising our 4 sons. We make too much for any assistance and actually pay more in taxes because he works so much. I must admit, when i see someone using food stamps for organic, free range, grossly expensive foods i feel sad, angry…almost cheated. My family helps pay for their children to eat the best foods when i get excited to find reduced for quick sale, pesticide laden fruit and vegetables and even meats, just to survive. The system needs a serious overhaul that takes necessary bills into account. Poor families deserve to eat well and feed their babies healthy foods but so do we.

  73. Christy says:

    I also wanted to add to my previous post, we have chickens and raise our own eggs, garden and can/freeze as much of our own food as possible, and have plans to buy a milk goat as soon as we are financially able. We aren’t sitting on our laurels wanting a handout…i am just so frustrated with never having enough but being told we have too much. I have actually resorted to feeding my family horrible processed garbage because i had $5 to spread over 2 days of meals for a family of 6. Did you know macaroni and cheese is cheaper than dry beans!

    • Diana Bauman says:

      A box of macaroni and cheese (processed variety) will cost you about .99 a box. That will feed maybe 3 people. A bag of dried beans cost about $1.50. That will make exactly 4 cans of beans enough to feed 6-8 people and if you use it to fill in as a protein will serve as two meals for 4-5 people. I think the better deal in terms of money and nourishment are the beans.

      • Christy says:

        Actually, where i live, the beans would be 5 cents per serving more expensive than the store brand Mac n cheese. In a family of 6 that’s 30 cents for a meal. That seems insignificant unless your budget is as tight as mine. Which really isn’t even the point anymore. Your children aren’t…WOULDN’T, live on dry beans anyway, because as a food stamp recipient, you deserve better. It’s all great with hand holding and back patting and you go girling. Until some idiot says hey, what about the real world where really, those of us scraping by can’t afford the luxuries Uncle Sam puts in YOUR kid’s tummies.

  74. Ashley says:

    I came across your blog through a link in another blog that was posted on the Today Show… Thank you for posting this! Your message of compassion is truly needed, and your words of wisdom about listening to the Holy Spirit as well… I was certainly uplifted by your post today!

  75. amber b says:

    saw this today and thought you’d be interested! maybe you’ve already seen it, but i think it’s a really neat project!

  76. cheryl says:

    Your story was very touching. My husband and I were in the same boat, as far as jobs and we had to get food stamps..We have worked all of our life’s until manufacturing went overseas. My husband and I are 59 and 60 and never had to asked the government for anything…Our children are grown with kids of their own but we had to eat…Thank the Lord…your husband found a job. We are still looking and at our age, I am not sure anyone will hire us…Good luck to you and your family and by the way…I am from the old school…cook from scratch girl…and it cost an arm and leg to buy flour, cornmeal, sugar and other staples…so not a lot left over for meats…but, as long as I can cook a bag of beans and some potatoes, well, we are a happy couple…

  77. kathryn says:

    I don’t have a problem with anyone using food stamps, after they have reduced or eliminated all the luxuries from their budget. Get rid of cable,internet, and mobile phones. Stop smoking and drinking. Stopping for the take away coffee on their way to ‘insert destination’.
    I would rather the paper stamps be brought back. Food stamps provide more, than no-users frugal shoppers spend on their families.
    There are always going to be the exception. Maybe a 2 week food allotment for emergencies, once a year.
    In Canada, we don’t have food stamps. We somehow manage.

  78. Leah R says:

    I came across your post while googling “how to live well on food stamps” LOL…Our family of 7 has been on EBT for almost a year now. My hubbie was laid off last may. We have been able to survive on our savings, unemployment and his severance package till now. But all of that has run out and we a still not sure where God is taking us. Im also a homeschool mom, but now we have had to apply for Cal-Works/welfare to work program because we are out of reserves. So the unknown looms large. We are a white collar family! College educated! middle class, church going, people. NOT what people would “think” should be on cash-aid. I know first hand what it is like to go though the system now. And I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow in my faith through these trials. My children are learning first hand what its like to not know where your bills will be paid from. Most ( including myself before this ) would NOT think this was a good thing. But complete dependence on God for His provision through this desert season we are in, is making us into spiritually mature believers. Do I REALLY trust Him? Or only when I have 10,000.00 in my savings account? well, its hit the fan…time to see if what I SAY I believe is really what I DO believe. We are now not only on food stamps, but cash-aid. And I am grateful and humbled to be able to pay our PG&E bill and mortgage. God IS good…all the time.

  79. Anna says:

    I really needed to find this post today. I want to point out that God sends us words of encouragement from strangers as much as material needs too. I am 46, my daughter is 8, my mother is 78. Almost 6 years ago my abusive husband left me and our daughter to figure out the financial mess he had made for us (jobless with multiple college degrees, mortgage foreclosure and auction just 2 days away – unbeknownst to me, penniless) and running for our lives to a battered womens shelter with just the bare minimum of vital records, a few changes of clothes for my daughter, her Teddy Bear and my Bible. I think you can just imagine all the hardship we went through in the first year. I started back to college to finish yet another degree in business, then my daughter started getting sick. VERY sick. Respiratory illnesses, allergies, etc etc etc… I was unable to finish any semester of school on line due to caring for a sick preschooler all by myself, but I kept up the work retaking dropped classes and trying to pick up odd jobs from time to time to make a little extra cash. Her healthcare bills and my school loans are piling up. In this last year my daughter seemed to “grow out of” her respiratory illnesses. I was able to pick up freelance work and actually make things go financially for us for a short while. Then, on Labor Day weekend 2014 I was diagnosed with multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli – multiple blood clots in both my lungs. I have been unable to work, even though on the outside I look fine. Thank God for medicaid because my $500/month blood thinners I need to survive wold not be forthcoming. I run myself silly volunteering all over our community because I have not wanted to seem like a “freeloader” I can no longer do that and stay healthy. Now I am faced with having to admit I can’t do much in my own power and just LET GOD. I have had God in my life since I was a child and I just cannot understand how any one can stand up under the pressure with out Him. There are many other ups and downs on this roller coaster I could tell you about, but I do not want to take credit for coming through any of it. It was all God. The grace and mercy, the charity that IS love, the compassion, the patience and everything else God is has been shown to me through family, friends, loved ones, community and even strangers. I will comment to say that “the system” absolutely penalizes anyone trying to get themselves out of the system. I have had to move into an apartment next to my mother that is subsidized and so I am ashamed that my daughter has to grow up with three generations on welfare. My parents raised us on a FARM. We were self sufficient. My father has Parkinsons and is being taken care of by others, my mother has severe arthritis and needs my daughter and myself to help out. There is absolutely a different face to needy people than the prevailing one of abusers of the system. Thank you for your article and thank you all for commenting. I needed this reminder of what God is doing in our lives today.

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