Yesterday I met with the Bishop of my church. Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter-Day Saints.. we are the Mormons.
I don't get food stamps. I 'miss' qualifying by a few dollars (they don't take into account any bills but your basic survival bills). Instead I go to the chuch for food.
About once every month and a half, I put in a food order for a month of food. I make it last a month and a half by extending it with MY food storage items. I don't duplicate what I already have.
The church does not rely on food banks to supply them with food. It is provided and paid for by church members with Fast Offerings. Once a month, everyone fasts for two meals, and donates that money they didn't spend on eating to the church. The food is canned by members of the church. No one is paid. The church even has it's own farms.
I make out my menus depending on what is available to me from the church.
This week my meat order looks something like this:
beef chunks 6, beef stew 6 (i skipped the chili, pork and beans, tuna and turkey chunks -- already have all of those but the tuna and we don't eat canned tuna).
beef roast 1, chicken 4, ham 1. bologna, 3, franks (all beef) 5, ground beef 5, hmbrgr patties 2, sausage 4, stewing beef 2. Between that and beans it is enough to last us a month and a half.
They have cannery foods that have been canned right next door at the cannery or at other canneries across the nation, soups, apple sauce, vegetables, spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce and whole tomatoes. Tomato juice, fruit juce mix, hot cocoa mix, and dry milk. bread, flour tortillas, beans, rice, potatoes, baking products like yeast, flour, corn starch, vegetable oil, vinegar. seasonings like black pepper, chili powder cinnamon and salt and even vanilla. They have fresh dairy products, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, sugar and flour. In fact I would venture to say it is the basis of a healthier diet than the people in the west had lving off the land.
They do have dessert items, jello and pudding and cake mixes. However, with the ingredients they give, you can make your own cakes from scratch. You can also make bread, cookies, and any kind of baked desserts.
The church has household products too. aluminum foil and plastic wrap, bleach, brooms, cleanser, dish detergent, laundry soap, and even a recipe book for using the things they give you. Personal products are not forgotten, with food stamps you can't buy these items: toliet paper, deoderant, razors, handsoap, sanitary napkins, shaving cream, tampons, toothbrushes, tooth paste, even things for babies like cereal, diapers and formula.
I am glad that my church has this available for me to utilize. I do what I can to survive without it, buying what I can when it is on sale, for instance, ground beef went on sale last week for 88 cents a lb. I bought as much as I could afford.
Making a lot of my meals from scratch helps me afford more. Not buying preprocessed junk food. I have also started my first garden here in Arizona. I planted mint (from seed), rosemary and tomatoes (transplanted) just last week. Today I am planting the rest of my herb garden. Well, I am supervising, my daughter is planting. It is part of her science this week.
Tomorrow I have an eye exam scheduled, and the next day an open MRI for my knee (I tore cartiledge in my knee and it is acting up).
Last week was NOT a good week for me. I became manic, and stayed awake for five days, then basically fell asleep for a few days to make up the sleep time. I think because of all the activity that I had gone through the week before, set it off. Calling my Doctor should have happened and didn't. In retrospect I should have called, but didn't. Hindsight is 20/20.. I am thinking that I need to educate my kids about what to look for and when to call their grandparents or the doctor. Last week was one of those times that the doctor should have been called and medications adjusted.
I have stopped reading most of the forums for now. Taking things personally is what I do best, and when topics get onto welfare, I feel attacked, even when people say things like "Present company excluded" I don't feel excluded, I feel attacked. I know there are welfare cheats. Are we going to throw the baby out with the bathwater though?
Personally I think food stamps should be called 'Survival rations" and you should only be able to buy the basics on them. (Like with WIC) Flour, salt, sugar, rice, cereal, beans, etc... like our church provides. Junk food, candy, etc should be excluded from what you are able to buy. You want a cake? Make it. Provide everyone who gets a survival rations card, with a cook books on how to make simple items, and maybe cooking classes for those who want or need it.
If someone doesn't like it. They can find food another way.