By Rosalie Tirella
Three cheers! Massachusetts may create a new rule for folks on food stamps – the SNAP program, as it’s called today. Soon poorer folks who have a SNAP card to pay for their groceries may not be able to spend their federal/state benefit on soda. You know Mountain Dew, Pepsi, Coke, etc. I say HOORAY to this development!
The SNAP program is a government program that is all about keeping poorer families, struggling families, healthy and strong. Why should tax payer money be used to subsidize soneone’s stupidity? Or ignorance? Or thoughtless parenting? People need to be more mindful of what they are putting into their bodies and do the best they can with the resources they have.
My Polish and Italian immigrant grandparents were poor, but their families ate so well! Gardens supplied fresh veggies. Everything was made from scratch. My mom used to love to tell me stories about how she and her dad, my Grandpa, used to leave their Green Island tenement to go mushroom and berry picking in the wilds of Worcester. My grandpa even kept rabbits on the back porch which he butchered for my granny to make into stew. That is until the Worcester Board of Health shut his little operation down! My relatives were people of the earth, in the Old Country. They knew good food when they saw it. They knew how to grow it, nurture it, prepare it, even, sadly, slaughter it.
If you are a parent or guardian and you want to feed your family food that will keep them alert, capable, etc, you buy milk, low sugar cranberry or orange juice, V-8 (low salt), even. But for Christ’s sake you don’t feed them Dr. Pepper!
We won’t go into the fact that 90% of the stuff you buy at the grocery store is already pumped up with enough sugar for millions of sugar rushes. Why make things worse with a can of soda?
We can hope to educate families on SNAP, but that’s a process we may not have time for, seeing every other person in America seems obese/pre-diabetic/diabetic and/or suffering from the sclorosis of some vital organ. Depressing.
I have seen four year olds with cavities galore because their parents put soda or sweet juice in their milk bottles. By sucking on that thing, all day, the little ones’ teeth were exposed to sugar, the #1 cause of tooth decay, FOR HOURS ON END. My heart broke when a friend, who fed her little son juice in his baby bottle, told me her little sweetie had to go to the dentist to have many of his baby teeth filled with silver. Cavities that were causing pain for her little cutie.
Kids need fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains and eggs and other kinds of protein to grow. Grow their brains, as well as their bodies.
Poor people are born behind the eight ball. By making it easier for them to buy more good food, and less bad food, ie soda pop, the state of MA is improving lives, using public money for the public good.
By Jean McMurray, executive director, Worcester County Food Bank, with Liz Sheehan Castro, project manager, Hunger-Free & Healthy
As the door opened into the third floor apartment, the woman’s smile along with the warmth of her kitchen greeted me. I introduced myself and handed her a carefully covered meal while wishing her a Happy Thanksgiving. Before I turned to go back down the three flights of stairs I had just climbed, she offered me a Kennedy half-dollar as a tip in gratitude for the Thanksgiving dinner I had brought her. I declined the tip and thanked her explaining that I was a volunteer delivering meals for Catholic Charities. As I started down the back stairs, I felt relief knowing that this elder woman had a warm home, food, and people that cared about her.
She was one of the dozen or so people I would meet throughout the morning as I traveled city streets and neighborhoods delivering meals. Hours later as I sat down to enjoy a Thanksgiving Day dinner with my own family, the experience came with heightened awareness and appreciation for what I had as well as for the people I met who were enjoying their dinners and for those who cooked the wonderful meals and organized the volunteers. Continue reading Worcester County Food Pantry: feeding Worcester since 1982
By Rosalie Tirella
Last week I wrote the piece about FHC’s inability to process SNAP (Food Stamp) applications.
First, I got a call from the wonderful Dennis Irish who, in his typical even-handed, thoughtful way, told me yes, the SNAP program had been stopped at FHC. He also told me FHC reapplied for grant $ and got it – so now FHC will once again be able to take Food Stamp applications! This is great!
Dennis also said he would get an email out to me, with more info., which he did:
Here it is:
Dennis Irish has asked me to follow up with you regarding SNAP outreach happening around the city. In addition to being able to apply at DTA as well as at St. Vincents Hospital and at UMass Memorial Hospital, SNAP application assistance is available at a variety of locations in the city. With the help of Project Bread funding, Family Health now has SNAP application assistance and information available daily from 9:30-2:30. Also, through continued funding from the Health Foundation of Central MA, Hunger-Free & Healthy is able to fund a mobile SNAP Outreach worker that travels to a variety of sites including Jeremiah’s Inn, Friendly House, Continue reading Family Health Center shit-storm
By Rosalie Tirella
With all the pols and papers in town congratulating themselves on how well Worcester is feeding its poor, I did not think I would see this telling little sight:
Today, in the early afternoon, at the Family Health Center on Queen Street, there’s a young Latino woman. She is bundled up against the cold in a short jacket. She is wearing sneakers. She comes up to the secretary in the doctors’ suite and says this: I was told I could apply for Food Stamps here.
She was told this by the un-sympathetic secretary: No, you can’t do that here any more. We lost the grant that pays the person to take your application. You have to go to the Department of Transitional Assistance now.
FUCKING PATHETIC! You want something to work on Mayor Joe O’Brien? Here it is! Project #1.
Here we are in the middle of Piedmont, with poor people just trying to stay abreast of heating bills, rent, etc, and Family Health Center which is, on the whole, responsible for the health of Worcester’s poor, can’t help a poor person put food on the table for herself (and I’m guessing) her kids. FHC can’t help a poor person stay healthy. Continue reading Depressing sight! Shame on FHC Executive Director Frances Anthes!