I live basically paycheck to paycheck.
I'm not a frivolous, illogical, spend-money-on-whatever-I-want person. I make sure my family, my pets, and my household, has what it needs to function. I keep a small savings account so that when my car breaks down, my child needs medicine, or I get too sick to work for a couple days, I can still survive.
But there was a time when my family and I couldn't even live paycheck to paycheck. We had to get help from the government in the form of food stamps so we could all eat. And every time I went grocery shopping with it, dressed well from a class presentation, and yes, with a smartphone, I got looks. Judged.
Clearly I was abusing the system.
Or, I cleaned up good for a drug addict, because of course someone that can't afford to feed their family must be spending their money on something illegal.
Or I was just to lazy too get a job, I mean there are "We're hiring" signs at every fast food joint in town.
And obviously I had to be a single mom and slut if I was shopping with my son using food stamps, because a family wouldn't have to rely on the government for their groceries.
I'm not kidding, I started only using the self checkout and trying to hide the card I was using just to avoid the looks I got and judgement I clearly felt.
My husband and I both have bachelor's degrees from a reputable college. We both have strong resumes, good references, and skills that would make us valuable employees.
We work hard, watch our spending, and care for our son.
By all means, we should be living the American Dream.
Two well-educated, hard working, married individuals, and we have had to rely on a program that people are begging to be cut funding.
I am tired of shaming those that are brave enough to go find help for their families.
Trust me, it is embarrassing enough to hand over your paystubs, your identification, and answer endless questions about why you need help. To sit in a bleak, clinical office with metal folding chairs for furniture.
Sitting in that office is not the first choice of anyone, but sometimes there isn't another option.
So next time you see a girl in front of you pulling out her EBT card, consider there is more to her story. Don't be that person that makes it worse by looking down on her while she tries to ring up her milk and bread at the checkout.