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There is Nothing To Be Ashamed Of

Updated on September 5, 2012

You Are Not Alone

The state of the economy of today has caused many changes in the lifestyles of the American People. The once hoity-toity upper class has now become the middle class. The once stable middle class folks are now pushing the limits of the poverty level. It has put a thumb down on all of us. Unforeseen circumstances can turn things around 180 degrees on all of us.

Including me.

I had a good middle class job. I was a successful butcher, making a good wage. I was saving money and investing in the company stocks. Then I became injured on the job. It was a clear cut case, but the company that I worked for, year in and year out kicked me to the curb. I had lost the use of my hand and couldn’t hold a knife anymore. They had no more use for me. The workers comp claim was a joking fiasco, denied all the way, and I ended up with a pittance of a settlement and to fend for myself as far as my medical expenses were concerned.

The money that I had saved and earned from the stocks was gone in three months, all taken by medical bills. I couldn’t find a job that paid any more than a hair over minimum wage. A 55 year old man with a gimpy hand isn’t worth much these days when jobs are at a premium. I tried mowing lawns and doing yard work…I’m not as young as I used to be, but I kept at it. It was not enough. I tried running a café, but it was a dead end proposition.

Soon we couldn’t pay our bills. The low paying jobs paid enough for the power bill and gas in the car or truck. We had to alternate car payments every month, constantly a month behind on them now. But each month we were sinking deeper and deeper into the quagmire of debt. Eventually we couldn’t feed ourselves.

So, for the first time since the kids were all babies, I swallowed my pride and we went down and applied for food stamps. And we got them. It was easy. I felt awkward in the social services office. I felt like I didn’t want to be associated with all of the other people in there, the dregs of society and the losers, the bums and the druggies.

But I was wrong. There were people there my age, and people that were in their thirties and forties. People that were clean and well dressed, people that still hung on to their pride. There were people there that were in the same boat I was in. No stereotypes, just the unfortunate victims of our nation’s bad politics. People just like me. I felt no shame to be part of that crowd. I felt camaraderie.

I began to see the same people at the Labor Dept. office. We all had a common cause. We began to talk, to share information and to try to help each other out. We were all in this together. We were all on food stamps, we were all looking for jobs, and we all became friends. We soon learned to pool our resources and share supplies that we had gotten at the food pantries. What one person couldn’t use, another could. We’d trade and barter. And then once or twice a month, we would all get together and share everything we all had with one another at a giant pot luck dinner.

Is this what it was like in the 40’s when war rationing created shortages here at home? Was this what it was like during the depression? Hard times seem to bring people together. Maybe it is different in the inner city, but in this small mountain community, it is the way life is. As it stands right now, I literally haven't even a penny to my name...a far cry from 2 years ago. But I am confident that the Good Lord will provide.

If you are on food stamps or some other government aid, don’t hang your head low. Don’t be ashamed. You are not alone. Keep looking for work, both above board and under the table, continue to be a useful member of society and always give thanks to the Good Lord above for what you are getting. Many people have it much worse than you do.

©2012 By Del Banks


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    • badegg profile imageAUTHOR

      Del Banks 

      7 years ago from Southern Blue Ridge Mountains

      Thank you, Robin. I appreciate that.

    • RobinGrosswirth23 profile image

      Robin Grosswirth 

      7 years ago from New York

      I am so moved by your story. What resources have you found at the Dept. of Labor that have helped you in a career change? It saddens me that beautiful and fertile minds, regardless of age, are cast aside in our society. My prayers are with you.

    • badegg profile imageAUTHOR

      Del Banks 

      7 years ago from Southern Blue Ridge Mountains

      Thank, Teaches! It is surprising kist how many of us are out there! I wish you both the best of luck!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      Well, my husband is in good company here. The company he worked for for over 30 years consolidated and left him without a job. At 57 he is still out of work. We do have a good compensation package, but going now on a year and a half without a job. We are still hopeful, still having faith that God will guide us through this tough time of our lives. Keep positive, Del. I love your can-do attitude. Blessings.

    • badegg profile imageAUTHOR

      Del Banks 

      7 years ago from Southern Blue Ridge Mountains

      Thank you for sharing your story, lrc815. It is really too bad when good people put in so much time at a job only to be treated like scum when they are no longer considered useful. I appreciate your advice, and I think I will give it a try. What have I got to lose? Hang in there!

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      7 years ago from Central Virginia

      oh badegg - I'm there too. Like Larry Wall, I wasn't injured but at 57 years old and 38 years with the company, I was forced out. Coudn't find work that paid the bills so used my savings. Eighteen months later, it was gone. I'm living from one unemployment check to the next right now and have applied for SSD because my eyesight has failed me and is making it even harder to find work. My private health insurance is $650 a month. I'm ok because I don't need a lot but it's the solitary reason I am so passionate about this election. I wish you the very best and hope things turn around soon. Go online and file for disability. The worst thing that can happen is you'll get turned down but I'd bet you qualify.

    • badegg profile imageAUTHOR

      Del Banks 

      7 years ago from Southern Blue Ridge Mountains

      Thank you Larry. I have not given up, I don't like to lose. I am utilizing this state's Dept of Labor resources for education and training to begin a new career elsewhere. Thank you for the encouragemant!

    • profile image

      Larry Wall 

      7 years ago

      I am in a similar position. I was not injured, I was just asked to leave after 22 years. I draw unemployment. I have not gone for good stamps yet, but will if I have to. I was fortunate in that my severance package was good and my wife and I had planned and being 59 when this happened gave me a little more time to save. I have been unemployed for about 21 months. The possibility of a job is looming, but not definite. That would provide the insurance coverage I need. There are many people with situations like yours or similar to yours. Do not give up. I am sure you have, but if your hand is injured as you indicated, you may qualify for Social Security Disability. It is something to look into. I wish the best for you.

    • badegg profile imageAUTHOR

      Del Banks 

      7 years ago from Southern Blue Ridge Mountains

      It will only work out in a case by case by case basis, but only if the individual wants it to. Too many are riding the welfare gravy train due to laziness and lack of direction. Personally, I want off at the next stop!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      I read this and realized that your story is not unusual. However the masses of people have not a clue what is going on even though they hear about it from many sources. Many feel optimistic that all will work out???


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