Food stamps, Mom, and Me

This is taken from the “Huckabee Report” that I receive via Facebook: 

A humble baker is doing something politicians seldom have the guts to do: she’s standing up for the taxpayers, even if it costs her. A Farmer’s Market in Walpole, Massachusetts, started accepting electronic food stamp cards. But Andrea Tabor, owner of the Ever So Humble Pie Company, refuses to take them. She says her pies are great, but “come on!” Taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for pies! That’s like the government paying for lottery tickets and nail salons. And if the farmer’s market orders her to take EBT cards? She’ll move out. She said, “I’m not going to sacrifice my principles and standards for the sake of a few more sales.” I have a feeling she may soon have a LOT more sales! You’ll find her online at

I have my own food stamp story.  Well, it is my mother’s story but she can’t tell it so I am telling it for her.  My mom continued to live by herself successfully after my father passed away in 1987.  As she approached her 80’s and things were getting difficult, I urged her to live with me.  I lived in Tennessee and she would come for a visit on plane tickets I purchased for her and lots of assistance, but she always wanted to go back to Wisconsin.  Finally, I made plans with a circle of friends to check on her regularly.  They would call and give me reports.  Then the final day came when the doctor told her, “Jeanne, you can’t go home by yourself.  You will either need to go to the nursing home, or I know your daughter would like to have you live with her.”  She decided on me.  It was January, 2003.

As we were packing to leave after selling her small place, mom handed me her food stamp card and told me to go buy some groceries.  I didn’t know how they worked, and I told her I’d help her with her money now.  After calling appropriate services, I notified the DHS that they would not need to send home health care workers any longer.  Her social counselor was upset!  She said she HAD to see Jeanne herself.  When she arrived, I had papers in order to go over with her and handed her the food stamp card.  She refused to take it!  I gently said, well, Mom doesn’t eat much and she won’t be paying utility bills, gas for her car which she didn’t drive except to church, property taxes, home repairs, etc.  She absolutely refused the card and treated me as if I were an imposter.  Why?  Because that social worker never once contacted me when Mom may have been in need.  She led a woman with dementia down this road, when I would have helped but didn’t know.

My point is, this is just one case.  How many other cases of such treatment occur on a weekly basis?  When my curiosity got the better of me, I checked one day to see how much money was on the card.  It was a little over $250.  Mom received $90 per month and never used it all.  She didn’t want to take advantage of “charity” as she viewed it.

I took care of mom for 6 more years.  I loved that woman!  She tried my patience many times, but that fierce love never stopped.  Not only did I take care of her out of love, I also obeyed the fifth commandment:  “Honor thy father and thy mother.”

Now my eyes are misty.  I’ll never regret those six years.  It wasn’t easy, but it was right.




  1. Glenda

    Oh, Karyl!!! My eyes are also misty! You were such a blessing to your mother, and those of us who were privileged to meet her were blessed by her as well! I’m sure you are correct about the food stamps, too, because of what I see in the grocery store going through the lane in front of me. I love “junk” food as much as anybody else, but it pains me to see MY tax money paying for someone else to fill up with chips, cookies, and soft drinks when I can barely afford to buy the meat, cheese, bread, and veggies that are good for us. I don’t know whether we would be eligible for FS or not; I have not checked, mainly because of the principle of the thing. Anyway, I’m sure that your reward in Heaven will be great, not only for the care you took of your mother, but because of the inspiration and example you have set for others along the way. Your children and grandchildren are learning from you every day, and that cannot be measured in $$$. 🙂

  2. I do think, Glenda, that food stamps, or the EBT card, does not pay for everything on the check out belt. My son worked check out at a grocery chain years ago and there were things for which they had to pay cash. Maybe it was stricter
    then than it is now. I know the WIC program is quite strict. No one ever says anthing about the WIC program on the stump. Those programs are written out of the Agriculture department and I don’t think the farmers see a benefit. Why is that? My mom and dad used to participate in the cheese give aways because that did benefit the farmers. Remember dumping milk? Maybe not, you are a city girl. Some of those foods for which the EBT card pays are also not USA produced. But, maybe I wouldn’t want mom to give up her coffee. And, Glenda, thanks for the comment regarding Mom. She indeed was a very special lady.

  3. My mom went Home at the age of 74 and I believe to some degree she “chose” to so she wouldn’t be a burden on my husband and me. If she had lived she would be 96 now–and I would have felt it a privilege to be able to take care of her in order to have her in our lives for another 22 years!

  4. Glenda

    Well, I’m not really a “city girl,” but the farmers in our area were not dairy farmers so much as vegetable farmers. There were a couple of large dairies in our town/neighborhood (before Mayfield), but we never heard about dumping milk. Everything, as far as we knew, was used for either milk, cheese, cottage cheese, or ice cream. I do remember the cheese giveaways, though, as well as what was called “surplus commodities,” for which my family was eligible. We would go monthly to Clinton, TN, to get our allotment of cheese, rice, potatoes, dry milk, beans, flour, and corn meal. There was also a very delicious canned meat product that we were given, one can per family member, and it was like a stew in gravy, but no vegetables. It was a very good time for us back then, because my dad was disabled, and we had very little on Mother’s meager $.50 per hour job on Sears receiving dock. There was another family that had no way to get to Clinton, and Dad would pick them up so they could get their allotment. I’m sure there must have been cheaters on that program, too, but we never saw any evidence of it, as most folks who came to pick up those foods were in rather old cars, and many of them had obvious disabilities. I don’t remember when that program was halted, but it did a lot of good when it was around!

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