The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

Solutions Based on Science and the Human Experience

Philadelphia

That is my daughter’s father. He’s a part of her life when it’s convenient for him, whenever he feels like, oh, I have a daughter today. Financially, nothing. Even when I had a job they made me waste two days of work, going down there to file for child support... If you want your medical and you wanna get food stamps for the child you have to take the child’s father to court for child support. Now what happens if I was afraid of him? What happens if he beat me up but my child needs medical insurance?

Thank God for layaway. You can take and layaway a few pairs of pants, or go on the sales rack and they have $3 shirts, grab the kids a few. Last week, the kids needed jackets and I went to Foreman Mills and I was on the sales rack. I was there for hours trying to find stuff on the sales rack. Two-dollar shirts, three-dollar shirts, four-dollar pair of pants… whatever you can find within your reach. I know the government, they see the people who are on Welfare and they’re wearing Gucci and Prada and Polo. If I've got something like that it must’ve been on the three-dollar rack.

With the money food stamps provide, I was able to feed her breakfast that morning.  Without it what would she have eaten? I wanted to show that with the help she was able to eat breakfast that morning.  She had cereal. She had milk. She didn’t have to go without.

That is the YMCA--through your medical coverage you can join the Y. They actually will pay for you to get a membership to the Y as a way of reducing more health problems,  a way to keep them from forking out more money if you get overweight and start developing more medical problems. I think it’s a good way to relieve stress, too. You know, you get to go the gym and you get to work out, you just get some free time to clear your head for a couple hours.

That’s a foreclosure notice with the amount on it. After my mom died I thought she was paying taxes, but then I got a notice in the mail that says $3,000… almost $4,000 owed in back taxes. Now, the city has a nice way of saying even though you've been dwelling in this house for however long, we won’t help you.

They give me $376 in Food Stamps. To try to make it through a month you have to put cash to it; there’s no way Food Stamps are gonna make it alone, it’s not gonna work.

There are some benefits. They provide your children with vaccinations, things that they can’t get in third world countries, things that we take for granted… they can take care of me medically but the rest of me is just dangling out there, hanging on a rope...

My daughter said, “I am tired of waiting.”  You go to the doctor’s office, and you wait hours to be seen.  They give you an appointment at eight o’clock.  At twelve o’clock, you might be sitting in that same spot.

When you're on a fixed income you gotta get stuff while you can. At Family Dollar they usually have cheap costumes in mid-September. Hers was like $8.50.

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