Death by Food Stamps

Tiny - Posted on 13 December 2011

Tiny aka Lisa Gray-Garcia/PNN

…Change won’t come from a savior, a pimp or an institution, change will only come from our own poor people-led revolution!... Poetas POBRE’s/ Po Poets Project… 2011

I applied for food stamps over four weeks ago. I still haven’t heard whether we got approved. Without this government crumb I’m not sure how much longer I can afford to buy food for my family. My tension filled gut and I read about Rachelle Grimmer, mama of two children from Texas who shot herself and her children in the Laredo county social services agency, after trying, unsuccessfully to get food stamps since July of this year.

If you have never been that depressed, that overwhelmed, or that terrified you might not understand Mama Rachelle Grimmer. I do. My fellow welfareQUEEN’s at POOR Magazine do. “The hellfare system puts out one obstacle after another to make it almost impossible for poor families to get even the smallest support,” said mama Vivien, welfareQUEEN and revolutionary advocate for POOR Magazine and Homeless Action Center.

Throughout my lyfe on and off of welfare I have dealt with the insane requirements of the scarcity model kkkrumbs called welfare. So named a scarcity model as it is set-up to give people in need as little as possible and for as short of time as possible as opposed to a cradle to grave welfare system that until recently was in existence in Western Europe and Canada. One of the most recent examples of the US requirements is the implementation of drug tests on poor single parents in Florida when they apply for cash aid. But the 18-46 page proof of income forms, the 22 forms of identification and the endless proofs of residence that is required from all of us to get the tiny bits of cash aid, food stamps, housing or medical assistance provided by government social services agencies, became a never-ending five month nightmare for Mama Rachelle of Texas. And ultimately on that last tragic visit, when she was met with yet again more obstacles to feeding her children, she had had enough.

In 2010, US poverty rose to its highest level with over 15.1 % of the people living below the poverty line. Now, with so many people in struggle it is crucial for all folks to understand the dire aspects of the scarcity model that is in place to “deal” with the poorest of the poor, because, this welfare scarcity model kills. It has been killing and criminalizing poor peoples since it began. It was originally launched as part of the “New Deal” in the 1940’s by then US President Franklin Roosevelt to give poor folks a crumb because the rich peoples were worried about the US population waking up to the deathly impact of capitalism and voting in a socialist president. At its inception the social services were targeted for the alleged “deserving” poor which then meant only certain kind of poor people, i.e, white, widows of deceased war veterans. Divorced or unmarried women and women of color were pathologized as “crazy” “aberrant” or “lazy”. My immigrant, teenage, unmarried grandmother was one of these women which is why my mixed race mama was sent to over 200 severely abusive foster homes and ended up in an orphanage where she almost died.

The scarcity model of institutional social “service provision” is based on a corporate model of profit and loss and infests all aspects of our lives as poor peoples. From Hellthcare to edukkkation, it has systematically acted in collusion to confuse, incarcerate, debase im/migrant people, indigenous people, houseless peoples, elders, children and families. This is just one of the reasons I started the welfareQUEEN’s project.

In 2007, out of a mission district kitchen in a dangerously substandard apartment, myself and a group of criminalized and fed-up poor mamaz (Jewnbug, Laure, Vivian, Tracey, Estrella, Dharma and Queenandi) launched the welfareQUEEN’s theatre and media production where we create powerful theatre, art and medi as an act of resistance to our experiences of racism, poverty and criminalization in Amerikkka.

I still haven’t heard from food stamps, I’m assuming when and if I do, they will tell me I need to bring at least four more pieces of identification and record of birth and proof of residence. As I do I will be praying for Mama Rachelle, her daughter who transitioned on Thursday and her son who is still holding on to life and all the mamaz and daddyz and care-givers who are already working, un-recognized, everyday just to raise all the worlds people no matter what.

How bout y'all WORK FOR YOUR FUCKING FOOD, lazy welfare schemers people like "Tiny" can hurl insults and invective at the very people who's taxes pay for the services she is demanding to have more of.

this is to you Anonymous, Tiny has all the right and some to speak to this issue. until you sit across from a over work under paid 350 case load deep caseworker you cant fully understand. You must be part of that 1% whom dont have a clue about living in America poverty communities.SEE anonymous its a trip when ya hungry, its a trip when money dont come.Dont worry Anonymous you will taste the spoon you give dont worry.

Actually, I'd say I'm part of the 98%: not the top 1% like Bill Gates, and not the bottom 1% like you. It may well be a "trip" when "ya" are hungry, but the money that "don't come" still belongs to someone else. What exactly is your claim to it?

I'm not part of any %, the 1 or otherwise; and I don't wait for money to just "come," I work for it. You should try it sometime.


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