There has been a meme circulating the internet that has captured a lot of people’s attention while causing anger, and debate. The caption reads, “If Michelle Obama’s food recommendations are suitable for our schools, apply those recommendations to our food stamp program.” What are your thoughts on this? If you are a hard working tax payer, contributing into the food stamp program, are these your thoughts?
I personally, was offended for the people who are on food stamps, because I know how hard it its to make healthy choices for your family, and yet, worry about having the money for your family to eat in this way. I was offended because my family and I used to be on food stamps. And were very thankful for them. Because of them, my husband was able to go to college and get his degree to better support our family. For those of you who agree with this meme’s thought above, and who know me personally, would you have posted this to your wall, as my friend, knowing I was on food stamps? Would you be able to tell me to skip on the bag of sugar packed cereal that will feed my family thirty-nine serving for $5.98 and instead, buy the “healthy” cereal that will only feed my family 12 servings for $4.58? Would you stand there and tell me to go put up the $.50 Reese cup I grabbed at the checkout line to give to my kiddos for being good in the store because it wasn’t deemed healthy? If I did abide by the healthy eating rules, and load my shopping cart down with all of the healthy options provided by Mrs. Obama’s program, would you you be willing to pay MORE taxes to account for the additional cost of eating healthy? Would you then grumble that the people who are depending on your financial help are now eating better and healthier than your own family because of the hike in extra taxes??
I got on the Food Stamp Benefit Calculator and entered in the income we were bringing in while my husband was in college, and I was working. The amount of benefits received was $460.00. What is your total food bill each month? Is it even close to this number? This is what people have to work with. They get the cheap sugared cereal, the cheap bread, bologna, ramen noodles, frozen pizza, chips, Hamburger Helper, Little Debbie Snack Cakes, and so forth, because the JUNK FOOD COSTS LESS THAN HEALTHY FOOD! Why spend $5.00 on feeding your family bacon and eggs two times, when you can spend $5.98 on a bag of Fruity Pebbles and feed them seven times? Let’s say the kids eat free for breakfast and lunch at school, you and your spouse eat at home for these meals, then all of you eat together for supper. You will be buying food for 260 meals per month. This does not include snacks. Divide the food stamp budget by that number and get $2.19. That is how much you need to spend on food per person for 260 meals per month. That is with free breakfast and lunch for the three kids!
Do you see the problem? This is just food. It does not include household items, and toiletry items.
Be a part of the solution.
We can ALL make this work, without restrictions. The solution is compassion, and education. Instead of forcing those on food stamps to make healthier eating options, how about we show them how to make their money stretch? If I had been educated on meal planning, budgeting, price matching, and couponing, while we were on food stamps, my family probably would have eaten a bit healthier, and our foods stamp money would have gone farther. My husband has banned Hamburger Helper from our home indefinitely because of how much we depended on it back then :)
For those of you who consider yourselves to be Christian, but have plastered this meme on your wall, or have “liked’ the meme on someone else wall, consider this:
Did Jesus put a restrictive cap on His grace? Did Jesus only die for those who were truly grateful for Him? Did Jesus place guidelines on his assistance?
Aren’t we supposed to be Jesus to the world? Aren’t we supposed to reach out to even those we think are undeserving? How often do we pass by the homeless drunk and justify ourselves in saying, “I’m not giving him any money; he will just waste it on booze.” Or feel it’s OK to post memes such as these to our walls, but claiming, “Oh I’m just talking about those who abuse the system, not those who don’t.” Did Jesus give to those who would receive wisely, or did He simply give to all? If grace was only given to those who wouldn’t abuse it, Jesus would not have died for mankind. We ALL have abused the system.
When you see a mom with three little ones in the grocery store maxed out on her food stamp card at checkout because she was forced to buy the more expensive, healthier things to make you feel better about where your money was going, are you going to give her more money so she doesn’t have to put stuff back?
Our government forces us to pay into programs we do not necessarily agree with, because the system is flawed. But even through the flaws of the welfare system, it is changing lives.
How many times have we seen God be able to work miracles in a flawed world?
How many times has His power trumped darkness? Are you wiling to be His to hands for those who need His sustainment the most?
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” Proverbs 3:27
God calls us into action. Action without restrictions. Actions that will cause us to understand the situations of those whom we are helping. Wanting to place self-righteous restrictions on those we “have” to help via taxes does not reflect Jesus. Blasting welfare does not reflect Jesus. What will reflect Jesus? Showing people how to best use the funds they have been given reflects Jesus. How? You are taking the time to teach them something. You are connecting. You are showing compassion instead of just throwing a twenty down and walking away. This is Jesus in action. Money is not the gift. Compassion is the gift. I know handouts will not solve the poverty problem in this country, and realize they are all too often abused, but I do know that simple respect and decency towards one another can move mountains.
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or will be devoted to one, and despise the other. Man cannot serve both God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24
We live in a fallen world in need of love, grace, compassion, and mercy. Are you going to serve your money and demand that your “gift” is spent in the way that you think is best? Or are you going to go the extra mile and lead those who are struggling to a better way? Do you have faith that God will use your time to help those who need it the most. Are you going to pout over those who misuse the welfare, or are you going to show them a better way?
Please take the meme down, unlike it, and be thankful that God isn’t showing the same measure of grace to us as we are showing to those on food stamps.
*For those of you who live in the southern Oklahoma area and are in need of assistance, or know someone who is, there are resources available to educate you in how to properly run your home using your income. Budgeting, meal planning, price matching, and couponing classes are free to anyone who is just trying to be the best stewards of what they have been given.
Click on the link below about how the homeless shop using welfare: