Archive for December 12th, 2013

Give a child a fish…or a Christmas present, as the case may be.

December 12th, 2013 5 comments
Flickr / Michael Hicks

Flickr / Michael Hicks

If you’ve known me any length of time, you know that I’ve been poor since I moved out of my parents’ house. Really poor. I couldn’t hold down a job because, aside from me being fucking CRAZY, there were no daycares in town, and the only people I knew were completely unreliable as babysitters, so I was constantly late or absent due to issues with childcare. I did what I could with what I had, but there were times I found myself homeless with 4 small children despite busting my ass to avoid it.

I went days at a time without eating so my kids could eat. I got some help from the county, but very little. And every three months, I was required to find a way to get me and the kids to an office an hour away, which meant spending precious money on a cab (that was, thankfully, run by a man who had also been poor a lot of his life, so he gave huge discounts to people on welfare).

Sometimes, I couldn’t do it. Sometimes, there just wasn’t enough money to feed the kids and catch a ride to social services. Especially in summer, when Head Start was closed. I don’t think people really understand everything Head Start does for low income families. So my benefits would expire, and I’d have to start the whole process again, which could take three months by itself. In those times, without WIC, HUD, and HEAP, my kids and I would have died of starvation and the elements.

Holidays and birthdays were a nightmare. We were lucky to be able to buy each kid two toys from the dollar store, and we usually went without something else to cover it. Read more…

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