Friday, April 03, 2009

Food Stamps Buy What?



During an early-evening visit to our corner grocery store a few evenings ago, I snapped this pic:

Buy It With Food Stamps!


Anybody care to guess what that bright orange stamp says?

If you said, "FOOD STAMPABLE" you were correct.

That's right, Oklahomans: This Easter season, feel free to use your food-stamp ("Access Oklahoma") card to buy a crappy plastic basket full of crappy plastic grass, a crappy plastic doll, and a few packages of crappy colored sugar crappiness.

Pretty neat, given that a record-high 450,057 Oklahomans were enrolled in the food stamp program as of March.

Should be enough to cause any maker of crappy plastic Easter baskets to become downright giddy at the thought of this untapped market segment.

Because I'm the curious sort, I surfed to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services website to see what sort of guidelines applied to food-stamp use. Here's a snippet from the FAQ page:

A person may buy only eligible foods with their food stamp benefits. Eligible foods include plants and seeds that can be used to grow food. You cannot buy the following items with food stamp benefits:

Paper goods
Cleaning products
Household items
Personal care items like toothpaste
Alcoholic beverages
Tobacco products
Vitamins or medicine
Foods prepared to be eaten in the store
Hot food prepared in the store to be “carried out” and eaten


Hmmm. Nothing in there about Easter baskets.

I don't know about you, but I have a big problem with my state allowing their oh-so-gracious $3.40/day (thanks for that recent bump, Stimulus Fairies!) of public food assistance to be used to buy fringe "food" items like Easter baskets.

Who knew the Easter bunny needed public assistance?

— Posted by Michael @ 8:35 AM








20 Comments:
 

Wow, that's pretty ridiculous.

Just when I thought I'd seen it all......

 

This is great, my mind seems to go down this same line of thinking. Do you think you could get the local government to have a bunch of show trials about this much like the way our Federal government would respond? :-)

 

I went shopping today at Crest and saw the same exact thing. I knew something was going on since the majority of the store had these Easter baskets (priced at $19.99) in their shopping carts. I walked over to see if a huge sale was going on, and there wasn't one. However, there were about 5 signs below the baskets that said "available with EBT" Growing up, my parents always said I wasn't allowed to have those baskets because they were too expensive for the crap that you get inside of them. It was a sad day to see what my hard earned money is really going to and what people who don't work hard for the money get in return.

 

Ha! Tell you what. I'm a recent single mom of two boys. I'm 34 and totally disabled. I was married for 8 years then "poof" he decides being a family man was too much to handle. I applied for and received food stamps. I get 877 a month in SSDI. (not SSI) After rent of 550 that doesn't leave much for utilities. (No I don't have cable either!) So why shouldn't I be able to provide my children an easter basket? Ok yes it is "your" tax money...but its mine too. I pay taxes as well. Even being disabled I try to work as much as I can.
Narrow mindedness can be hurtfull. My exhusband and I enjoyed a shated income of 40k. Now I have 10k if I'm lucky. And yes I was disabled when we married.
I also started my veggie garden with my stamps. Does that reduce your burden?

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 11:18 AM, April 07, 2009  
 

I'm sorry for ever thinking the way I did. I grew up thinking only poor, lazy, uneducated people get food stamps. Well guess what I have a college degree worked two jobs all my life and due to a job loss and my husband's work injury. I now get food stamps. I am gratefull. I will never be so close minded again. I agree some of the things seem ridiculous and some people take advantage of the system. I don't plan on getting food stamps for the rest of my life. I paid in for them I need them and now I'm gona use them. As for the Easter Baskets, if I had little children and it was that or nothing at all, damn right I'd pick one up. That's $20.00 I saved to go on my electric bill.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 5:17 PM, April 07, 2009  
 

No wonder the US is in trouble. We're entitled to buy everything we want, regardless of whether we have the money for it or not.

 

Given the comments on this post, the following link seems appropriate:

Saving $$$ on Easter Baskets

Some pretty decent ideas in there ... though even the worst ones are still better than spending $20, $10, or $2 of food stamps on the crappy pre-made variety.

 

Jessica, I'm curious. How did you determine that the people buying the Easter baskets were actually using food stamps to pay for them? My church group brought dozens of these same Easter baskets to donate to children in foster care. And guess what, none of us are on welfare or have food stamps. We used our own money. Do some folks misuse their food stamps -- sure. But it wasn't the food stamp users who screwed up our economy.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 9:53 AM, April 15, 2009  
 

First of all, during a typical weekend at the grocery store, there are long lines. When there are long lines, you get bored and become even more observant. That is how I know. I'm not saying that every single person in the store was paying via food stamps. My main point is the expense of the basket. I don't see why people who get food stamps got to purchase the biggest basket that the store carried, especially when there are so many cheaper and better alternatives. I don't blame the economic crisis on people who receive public assistance by any means nor did I imply it.

 

Jessica, you must have amazing eyesight to be able to stand in a long line and determine just what kind of card all the different customers are using to pay for their purchases. And don't assume that people who get food stamps don't work. Most do -- even thousands of our young enlisted troops get food stamps. I've spent many years volunteering at a local food bank and the reality is so much different from the sterotype so many folks have about the those getting help from the government. For far too many, all it takes is a serious illness or accident or job layoff to go from paying your own way to needing help. Bottom line is things are not always what you think they are.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 9:57 PM, April 16, 2009  
 

Bottom line is things are not always what you think they are.Au contraire. Things are very much what I think they are: The public-assistance system is abused to an extraordinary degree.

It's no surprise, though. Human nature is what it is, and enough folks (not "all," but "enough") are only too happy to "work the system" and "get theirs." Most of them, at some point, "paid into it," after all.

Doesn't matter. If you're out buying $20 plastic Easter baskets with public-assistance funds, you have NO RESPECT for the labor of others. None.

And that is regardless — entirely regardless — of the "whys" of your situation.

 

The only thing I have to say is this: if I had food stamps and my young child had no Easter basket, I would most certainly buy it. My husband is often upset about people who "abuse" the system. We filled out every thing honestly, and didn't get a lot. People who lie get more, it SEEMS. However, they will get theirs in the end. People who abuse the system are only getting ahead right now; it most certainly will come back to them. However, I don't think that a mother purchasing an Easter basket for her child who wouldn't have a basket otherwise is abuse... I think it makes things a little better for the child. It's not like they are buying the basket and selling them to get crack money, after all.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 8:52 AM, May 09, 2009  
 

Obviously there are A LOT of narrow minded people that like to stick there nose in other peoples business. Why don't you put yourselves in someone elses shoe. Try not having money to feed your kids. I recently started getting food stamps. Now, thank God, I can feed my kids a decent meal. I DO pay taxes and NO I didn't buy any easter baskets with them, not that I blame anybody who does.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 1:57 AM, June 11, 2009  
 

I worked for 15 years and was laid off. I currently cannot afford to buy my 3 year old son a lot of what I could at the beginning of his life. I currently am on food stamps and I am thankful that I have to opportunity to still keep the holiday spirit and get my child a $19.99 Easter basket with our family's food stamps. I worked so hard my 15 years and now when the government drops me in the streets with nothing I can honestly say I have worked and request my share of assistance through the government I once supported.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 1:30 PM, June 25, 2009  
 

I've recently worked at a supermarket in Louisiana. I have 20/20 vision, and I can plainly see which cards people are using to pay for food. Almost every person in this town has an EBT card. In fact, I have attended meetings, at various local churchs, designed by an ex-politician, to teach people how to work the system. Way to taint religion guys. I don't mind helping people in need, but my heart grows cold when tax payer money is used to by hundreds of dollars of candy, so a kid can give it away at school to win votes for homecoming court. That happens every year too. Or the many barbeques, birthday parties, school parties, etc... that I can't afford to have because I don't make enough to pay bills and throw parties. These same people buy there liquor, beer, cigarettes, various cigars, phonecard minutes, lottery tickets, phones etc... If you can afford that, I don't think you need foodstamps. I don't mind helping the people that need it, but you can't tell me all of these people need it. Futhermore, why are the funds, which aren't used, rolled over to the next month. Seems to me that you don't need it very much if you don't have to use it. Would you feel the same way if a person was allowed to buy liquor, something not covered by EBT cards, because a piece of candy is attached to it. In essence, it would be the same thing. I don't think it is the vendor responcibility to decide what is EBT eligible, but the various legislative officials who allow this to go on. This program is designed to help people, who need it, to buy healthy foods. Not Easter baskets, candy, softdrinks, potatoe chips, and all off the other non-nutritional foods that have caused this nations children to become so unhealthy. For those who need this program, my heart goes out to you. For, I can't foresee it surviving all of the abuse people give. I have watched people buy Valentine stuffed animals, Christmas stockings, Easter baskets, and various other items, containing mostly non-food items, just because it had candy in it. Doesn't seem healthy to me. Which brings me to my last point, why don't we put candy on items containing alcochol, tobacco, phone cards, phones, and any other nonfood item. Maybe the power companies can give softdrinks with your bill, so tax payers can buy that for you too. Oh, but it doesn't really matter, most of them have free healthcare already, the tax payers will just pay more of it for them with Obama's plan. YEAH!!! Makes me so happy to work, so people can buy Easter baskets. Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of my Lord, Jesus Christ. Not the celebration of bunnies, toys, and candy. I think God would rather give a kid an apple than an Easter basket. It's probably politically incorrect to bring religion into this. But, without religion we wouldn't have this holiday, and this PROBLEM.

 

This is in response to HARDWORKING TAXPAYER.

People are so shallow minded. I know that most of the post are regarding ebts/easter baskets. I have worked all my life i became unemployed last year after many years of service, thank god for the food stamp program, i have no children,i paid my hard earned money/share of taxes to be able to get help and it has helped me not to starve to death. It's not right to judge other people because you dont know their circumstance and you cant tell about persons circumstance by looking in their buggy or even at them. I'm smart enough to know that people do abuse the system and I'm also smart enough to know that just as surely as you start judging others or looking down on others that is when...WHAM you could lose everything!!!!!!!!!!! Keep in mind also never say NEVER or it can't help to me because just when you do..it will.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 1:53 PM, March 29, 2010  
 

OMG SERIOUSLY! Any of you complaining about what is being bought with food stamps should take a long hard look at what it is you have and be grateful for it! THIS IS WHY OUR COUNTRY is borke. Spoiled brats of the 90's. There are those out there who do need assistance and are they not allowed to provide a cheap crappy basket for thier kids? Hmm what you getting your children, prob. not the 19.99 pre-made basket I'm guessing. You wanna complain about something truly important? How bout the new Health Care bill? Worry about the crap that matters!! Stop compaining about the poor, and worry about what the rich are blowing thier money on!

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 7:15 AM, April 03, 2010  
 

Your post does not make sense at all. How are the spoiled brats of the 90's to blame for the economic crisis? And as for the rich people?? They are the ones that are stimulating the economy! Why do you think people ever got stimulus checks back in 2008? It was to put money back into the ailing economy!! Which by the way, if you remember correctly the so called rich people did not receive one. Maybe we should be grateful for all the rich people out there. After all, they are the ones being hit the hardest in additional taxes to support government spending. Why should one be punished if they are successful? By the way, I am not classified as one of these so called rich people so you can't throw that back in my face.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 10:16 AM, April 03, 2010  
 

I am a single mother and I DO work! I also get a mere $200 a month of food stamps...I wouldn't call it cheating the system, since I pay more than that in taxes a month. I was unaware that we were able to get Easter baskets with our food stamps until I ran across this post. I couldn't be happier! After rent and electric this month I wasn't going to be able to give my daughter an Easter basket. I actually had decorated an old basket I had on my patio with some ribbon from her birth mum and was going to put some toys I had been saving all year for her birthday in the basket. Now I can get her a basket and keep her toys for her birthday! Is there really something wrong with wanting to give your child a present for this holiday?

 

"Your post does not make sense at all. How are the spoiled brats of the 90's to blame for the economic crisis? And as for the rich people?? They are the ones that are stimulating the economy! Why do you think people ever got stimulus checks back in 2008? It was to put money back into the ailing economy!! Which by the way, if you remember correctly the so called rich people did not receive one. Maybe we should be grateful for all the rich people out there. After all, they are the ones being hit the hardest in additional taxes to support government spending. Why should one be punished if they are successful? By the way, I am not classified as one of these so called rich people so you can't throw that back in my face." My post is not about the rich not getting stupid checks that, by the way did nothing for the economy!!! My point was not to worry about the poor using food stamps to make their Easter a better holiday. The rich are taxed more because they can afford it. If I had millions you can be certain I wouldn't be complaining about having to pay more than a family that makes just under $20,000 a year with two children. I certainly am not trying to throw anything in anyones face! I am worried about Healthcare, if my children will be able to retire and receive SSI, and the poor being torn apart for trying to provide for their kids on Easter with food stamps! I know there are those who abuse these benefits, I am not one of those people and am very ashamed to have to use assistance. My post makes sense to me and that is all that maters. Good luck to you!

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 10:15 AM, April 08, 2010  
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