Monday, March 12, 2012

Food Stamps

The cost of living in the city is REALLY catching up to me. Mind you I have more than a few hundred dollars in credit card debt that I have "forgotten about" because there is no way for me to pay it off.

I just started working and to put it nicely what I get paid and the hours I work are MODEST. Just about all of my two week pay check goes directly to unlimited metro cards and the sitter that picks Leilani up for me so I can stay in school late for my classes. Although I have applied for child support over a year ago, I still get NONE. In fact all I get is letters in the mail asking me if I still want child support...?(that's a WHOLE other post). 

To be honest I have been fighting the reality of applying for food stamps lately primarily for all the stigma that is attached to being on food stamps. However, after about a year of my family telling me I NEED food stamps and me finally accepting it I went down to the food stamp office for information. I walked in and to my surprise they really were not that busy, I approached the desk attendant and asked what I had to do to get on food stamps. She told me to come back early in the morning tomorrow (Saturday) with all of the necessary paper work and that I would get food stamps.

I couldn't believe they were open on Saturday, which means no need to miss class or work, and that it was that simple. The next morning I woke up bright and early got Leilani and myself dressed and got to the food stamp office in time to wait in line to be one of the first people allowed inside.
To make a long story short:

I waited for two hours, got called back to speak to the lady who signs people up for food stamps and was told that I couldn't apply. I couldn't believe my ears! I asked her why and she told me that I was too young to apply on my own... really?! After some more bogus rules she explained to me, I had no choice but to realize I wasn't going to get food stamps. She told me that when I turn 22 I can come back and apply by myself. I couldn't believe my ears. The combination of exhaustion, defeat and just pure disappointment gave me the horrible lump in your throat feeling that we all get when we just want to break down in tears. I looked at the lady, who I'm sure goes through this often, and she just kept her eyes on her computer screen, then I looked over at Leilani sitting in the corner and fought every emotion in my heart and body that told me to cry.

I had finally swallowed my pride went down there and still got rejected. To be honest these were the thoughts that were going through my head,

  1. This is BULL SHIT!
  2. I have no "extra" money for food let alone money to get Leilani things that she wants/ needs at times.
  3. I have been trying to get some type of child support out of her father for over a year with and without the states help. To know that he is working, making good money and going on with life like a 14 year old with out a care boils my blood. 
  4. Although I'm blessed enough to be able to feed Leilani and myself, food stamps would help out so much! 
  5. If a single mom, in school, with a minimum job and no help from the NCP can't get food stamps then who the hell can?!
When I got home, I climbed under the covers and silently cried. I honestly felt very defeated! Then I  came back to reality, although I wasn't able to get food stamps Leilani and I are doing great! I may not have enough money to really make ends meet but I have the love and support of friends and family that are here for the both of us. I kept reminding myself of all of the blessings and love that I am surrounded by and fell asleep. 

The fact that I didn't/ can't get food stamps still kind of bugs me but hey it is what it is. All I can do is use this episode as motivation. I know what I want in life, I just need to keep working harder.*

*I don't need to "just work harder" I need livable wages and assistance. 


After going back for the THIRD time I was finally approved for food stamps.