Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Dallas-Fort Worth area food banks decry food shortages
Children are the ones affected most.
Maybe you were one of the ones who read or posted the Facebook status about welfare and National Parks comparing welfare recipients to “dependent” animals. This is it: “The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is proud of the fact it is distributing the greatest amount of free meals and food stamps ever. Meanwhile, the National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, asks us ‘Please Do Not Feed the Animals.’ Their stated reason for the policy is because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and will not learn to take care of themselves.”
Yes, many of you saw it like I did last week. Probably with equally disturbing comments about users, abusers, President Obama, etc. But what Fort Worth Star Telegram columnist Jill “J.R.” Labbe points out in Saturday’s op-ed column is this, “The assumption that everyone who needs assistance is somehow dependent, lazy, or unwilling to 'learn to take care of themselves' is staggering. God forbid folks who today are blessed with the means to provide for themselves ever hit a bad patch in the economic road. Here’s hoping they always have family and friends to help them through the tough times. Just because this is the land of plenty doesn’t mean every American shares in the bounty. Story after story grabs headlines these days about people losing their jobs or their homes as a result of the worst economy this country has experienced since the 1930s. Once-proud and self-reliant people are having to turn to handouts and food stamps to feed their families and themselves. They are the working poor: people doing the best they can to avoid government handouts. It’s galling to hear the callousness with which that humbling desperation can be dismissed as the mindless dependency of a raccoon.”
Nationally, the majority of those receiving food stamps are CHILDREN. Yes, kids. And two-thirds of those in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program program are children from single parent households. Further, the majority of food stamp recipients are white. In Texas, as this Associated Press story points out, “the state’s fastest-growing group receiving food stamps is those ages 60 to 64.” Yep, our grandparents are those users applying for free meals.
Places such as the Tarrant Area Food Bank, the Northside Inter-Church Agency Food Pantry in Fort Worth, and the North Texas Food Bank are seeing increased demand and a dwindling supply of food and donations. As someone who, as a child, benefited from welfare programs including Medicaid and reduced price lunch meals, I know firsthand the necessity of government assistance for my welfare. I wasn’t an abuser or an animal. I was a kid. Now, I’m a successful college graduate, wife, and mother. There is no shame in needing the system, food stamps, or food for yourself or your family. The only shame should be on those who judge you for it or who put Facebook posts online not knowing or caring what their “friends” have experienced, are struggling with or worrying about every night when the food pantry is empty.
Pegasus News Content partner - Chick Talk Dallas