Welfare - How to get people off of it
Welfare seems to be the way to go these days, jump through a few hoops and you have your check, or in today’s words, Bridge Card (Michigan is our State and they used the Mackinaw Bridge as the symbol) As I have said in my previous Hub, I used welfare on and off for more than 10 years. I have been able get off and stay off due to shame and determination on my part. I have given a lot of thought and have come up with a few ways to give people that ‘Hand Up’ take away the hand out, add a touch of shame (yes, it IS needed) and give the people some pride in themselves.
How and what is available to the needy
The food Stamp program is federally regulated yes it is necessary at times but can be dealt with in a different manner. Just handing the people a card with a certain amount of money to use each month on food is not going to teach them anything. The card was supposed to be a better way of giving out food money, this way the ‘stamps’ that were given could not be used to purchase drugs or in some cases, smaller convenience stores run by non-Americans would buy the stamps for 50 cents on the dollar. Yes, On numerous occasions I was asked to sell my stamps “I give you 50 cents on dollar, you can’t get better deal anywhere!” in very broken English. No, I did not sell my food stamps, but I did not report him either. I didn’t know who to report him to. Now the food card is just handed to the drug dealer with the pin code given, trust seems to work for these people.
Welfare is money received each month to pay your bills, the only thing you have to give in return is a little bit of your time to ‘Work First’ a program that truly doesn’t do any good since you have to find a way to pay a care giver for your children. The laws have changed and now the only way to be on welfare is if you have children. Other programs have been implemented for those who feel they cannot work it is called SSI (Supplemental Security Income). This is just a fancy name for those who can come up with a health issue that prevents them from gainful employment, and can get a Dr. to agree with them.
Medicaid is medical insurance that those who are on welfare receive. They get to go to the Dr. or the emergency room whenever they feel the need to do so, without any charge. I am putting it in its simplest form, there is more to it, but basically this is what it is.
Everyone is makes mistakes, we all have accidents. Sometimes a young girl, usually those with self esteem issues are the ones who begin the ball rolling. We need to find a way to stop the ball. To keep it from picking up speed, collecting all the garbage along the way, hitting the bottom of that hill.
The Solution - simplified
Education should be our very first issue. I’m not talking about public schools, apparently those are not working. What I am referring to is welfare school. Classes that must be taken by those who have applied for and are receiving food stamps and welfare. Let me explain:
Right now we are in the double digits of Unemployment. People are being paid for being laid off, some of these are educators. All of them have something to offer. When you register for Unemployment your job description is included, along with that you must register (in our State it’s called ‘Michigan Works’) with a job search bank. What if we put these good people who have lost their jobs to ‘work’, meaning they still get their Unemployment but have to serve several hours per week putting to use what they know, to those who don’t know?
We have young people who are receiving food stamps going to the store buying whatever suits their fancy, only to find at the end of the month there isn’t enough food or money to eat well. They buy junk with their food card, non nutritional foods, foods that may be filling at the moment but are bad for their bodies and the bodies of their children. Instant foods, something that is already made, just ‘heat and eat’. Canned foods, high in flavor, high in fat and high in calories, bad for the body.
The first class that I feel should be required is a cooking class. We need to teach them HOW to cook, how to purchase and prepare nutritional meals. Show them how to take a hunk of meat, and some veggies and make a meal with it. How to take the leftovers and make a meal with that. How to preserve foods should also be included in these classes. Handing them a piece of paper telling them circle what is nutritional is not doing anyone any favors. They need to have some hands on experience, to see how it is done. To feel pride that they have prepared a meal that everyone will eat.
Some could teach “How to do simple home repairs“. Men or women who receive Unemployment could teach “How to change the oil in a car” How about “How to utilize coupons”? Musicians can teach music, something that may not seem beneficial at the moment, but will cause the recipient to feel good about themselves. If there is something that you know, something that you are good at, why not teach it to those who don’t know? It will give those who are on Unemployment satisfaction of making a contribution and quite possibly an idea of how to get back into the work force.
Parenting classes should be mandatory for those who have children. We are seeing an influx of babies being born in our country. If something isn’t done to help these new parents and soon we will have a bunch of uneducated hooligans running around. These classes should be offered and required to take if you are on the receiving end of welfare and food stamps, if the required classes are not taken and passed, the assistance should be stopped.
We have a lot of available land in this country, a lot that is owned by the states and federal government. I personally have 4 acres, of which has very rich earth. In the big cities it would be a little trickier to accomplish what I suggest, but it still could be done if planned well.
Gardening - It has become a lost art. It is much easier to go to the store and buy something that someone else has grown. Most of the young people of today have never even contemplated such a things as growing their own produce. Digging in the dirt, planting seeds and tending to them and watching things grow give such a good satisfaction of having accomplished something. It should be required that every person receiving food stamps be required to tend a garden, during the growing season, or at least be part of a Co-op that over sees this. Let me explain:
Some of the land that each State has, for instance 10 acres per county (just an estimate some counties are larger than others), could be utilized for growing foods to be distributed to each food stamp or welfare recipient. In order to continue to receive said food stamps one must be required to participate. The SSI recipients who can move about, we are referring to those who can walk even with the aid of a cane, would be the book keepers of said project. A State official or someone within the local welfare office would oversee the entire project. For those without transportation, buses would be provided at designated times. There should be no excuse as to why anyone cannot work at one of these farms.
Animals could be raised to provide meat, tended by the recipients. This is not a ’work house’, something that was done away long ago. This is an opportunity to do something for yourself and feel good about what you have done. The children of those who are receiving welfare would not be excluded from this, daycare would be provided for those who need it, at the farm. All participants would share in the bounty. Classes for food preservation would also be taught at the farm. All would serve, all would benefit including the tax payers. The amount of food stamps that would be received could be greatly reduced, lessoning the burden upon the tax payers.
I have offered some of my land to be use for gardening, marked off in sections, to my community at a price that anyone could afford. I had to charge something for the electricity used to pump the water, a garden needs water. Yet my offer was refused, why? Because no one is being forced to do anything for themselves. They are all standing there waiting for their hand out, with no one offering them a hand up.
Just a possibility
This is not a complete end, but it is a beginning to an end. A beginning to giving the people a reason to get up, get out, get motivated, a beginning of feeling self sufficient. Other programs may follow, all I know is something needs to start somewhere. I have no idea how to get my word out, please feel free to pass this Hub along, in fact I encourage it, get it to someone who can make it happen. Even if a pilot program were started, just to see how it goes. We have to start somewhere!
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