“Pope Francis on Thursday urged the downtrodden to change the world economic order, denouncing a “new colonialism” by agencies that impose austerity programs and calling for the poor to have the “sacred rights” of labor, lodging and land.”
Here is a short documentary made by a professor at the University of California-Berkley about welfare and poverty. The idea for it came after the professor heard her students discussing welfare and government’s role in society. She was shocked to learn that these college-educated students, some of whom were on welfare themselves, harbored deep-seated, negative stereotypical attitudes and beliefs about welfare recipients. It was then that she realized that today’s young people have inherited the harsh Reagan-era ideology of how society should deal with the poor- mainly that welfare programs, like food stamps (now called SNAP), actually reinforce poverty by creating dependence on government assistance. After all, these programs are supposed to be temporary aid, so why should the poor get to live off them, right? Why can’t they just get up and work, right?
Tanya’s comments: This is truly sharing the wealth. Despite what Conservatives say, is it really a bad thing?
Marvin Callahan, a first grade teacher at public school in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has started a program to send backpacks full of food home with some of his students on the weekends after witnessing widespread hunger.
When he started the job 21 years ago, he said he had no idea how many families were struggling to feed their children or keep a roof over their heads.
New Mexico has the highest rate of child hunger in the country, with nearly a third of children going to bed hungry, although the problem is widespread enough that three-quarters of the country’s teachers say students routinely show up to school hungry.
In response to the problem, Callahan and other members of the community send 37 children home with backpacks full of food each weekend: two breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners. As Carolyn Gregoire of the Huffington Post reports, “Retired teachers come in…
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Tanya’s Comment: As a low income person myself, I’m touched that a group of people would go out of their way to help the poor. In so many instances, people put money before everything else. It’s heart warming and encouraging to know that kind people do exist!
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A nonprofit group is taking a novel approach to helping the homeless in San Francisco with a new bus that allows them to take a shower.
The former public transit bus has been outfitted with two full private bathrooms and offers hot showers, clean toilets, shampoo, soap and towels free of charge. The founder of the nonprofit Lava Mae mobile shower bus said she wanted to return a sense of dignity to those living on the streets.
“If you’re homeless, you’re living on the streets and you’re filthy, you’re trying to improve your circumstances, but you can’t interview for a job, you can’t apply for housing and you get disconnected from your sense of humanity,” Doniece Sandoval said. “So a shower just in of itself is amazing for people.”
Lava Mae says the bus is mobile, allowing it to reach homeless people scattered throughout the city…
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An interesting opinion piece by Paul Krugman of “The New York Times:”
John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, …let loose on his political allies, declaring, “I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor. That, if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy.”
I found some good infographics about the federal food stamp program (SNAP) from CSMonitor.com. Click on the graphs to see them larger. Click on the link to see the rest of the graphs.
Believe me, the statistics will surprise you and will show you how vital food stamps are for millions of people and what will happen if its funding is cut by the Republicans and the Tea Party. As we speak, both groups are working to reduce the amount of people who are eligible to receive this aid, as well as reduce how much aid people who are currently on the program can get. Some reductions will be starting in November of this year.
The graph below about food stamp fraud will be particularly enlightening to those who think there is rampant misuse of the program. The graph shows that not only has fraud gone down, but that there are more people who are underpaid what they are eligible for compared to those who get too much:
I’ve found a wealth of information from people I know, online news sites, and activism/charity organizations about the federal food stamps program (also known as SNAP), and depending on where you get your news, the facts I’ve found may be surprising.
First off, Congress has been in a tug-of-war between Republicans and Democrats over what will happen to food stamp funding. As of now, Republicans in the House have voted to cut it so that millions less people will be eligible for it by November. The amount of time you can get it, as well as the amount will both decrease (that is, if you haven’t at that point been completely bumped off the program), potentially leaving many millions more people hungry than there are already are in a country that is the most powerful on the world.
The process isn’t complete yet, so the cuts aren’t going to happen until Congress finishes voting on it in the Senate. I think what happens at this point is that the Senate has to vote the same way as the House in order for the cuts to be final. I’ve read that it is unlikely that the Senate will vote the same way since no Democrats voted to reduce food stamp funding in the House, just the Repubs (figures!!). Since, as far I know (correct me if I’m wrong, please) the Dems have the majority in the Senate, the cuts won’t happen, or at least they won’t be as extreme. I’m hoping, though, that NO cuts are made.
Here is some more info I’ve found. If you disagree with what I’m saying, all you have to do is check my sources. As a journalism student, I’ve been trained to always provide sources for my articles. Commentors who are ideologically opposed to what I write cannot claim that I’m just making stuff up!
From Slate.com, which has been covering the food stamp funding issue admirably:
[On Sept. 19, 2013], Republicans in the House of Representatives finally got their ducks in a row and voted to cut $40 billion from SNAP, the program that gives food assistance to poor people.
But what’s particularly egregious about this bill is that the poor-kicking aspect of it isn’t just part of a general austerity regime. SNAP benefits are normally funded alongside farm subsidies as part of a consolidated “farm bill.” And, low and behold, Republicans managed to find plenty of room in the budget to funnel money at farm owners. Spending is being cut only on the poor.
Despite SNAP’s efficiency and effectiveness, SNAP benefits are already set to be cut in November 2013, when the temporary benefit boost passed in 2009 ends.
For a family of three, the cut likely will be $240 to $300 per year, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates (see the graphic for details). This cuts comes at a time when, for millions of Americans, the Great Recession is far from over.
A chart about who gets food stamps (sparkaction.org):