Every time I hear somebody busting on food stamp recipients I have to bite my lip. My family spent a good amount of time relying on aid like food stamps and other programs to survive when I was younger, and that was despite plenty of hard work by my parents.
The worst of the criticism comes in the form of "those welfare and food stamp people are living it up while we working middle or upper-middle people slave away at dependable and relatively lucrative jobs." People say the same sort of things about the homeless - that they choose to live on the street, that they make more panhandling than one can imagine - and I've done a bit of time living on the streets and, much later, working to help feed the homeless, and can say with full conviction that such lines of thinking are complete and utter nonsense.
All I have to say is: Give it a whirl. Live off food stamps. Be poor for a bit. It can be rather eye-opening.
And, as luck would have it, such an opportunity is coming up later this month in the form of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona's SNAP Challenge. It offers a chance to see what it's like to live off what a food-stamp recipient gets each month.
There's more on the week-long event over here.