SNAP YOU NJ SNAP!

Dear NJ Department of Human Services,

Today I wanted to buy a box of matzoh for Passover, but I couldn’t afford to.  Today I learned how much I hate you. I love you, but I hate you. I don’t want to depend on you, but right now, I have to. I don’t feel ashamed that I must use a government issued card to buy my groceries. I feel ashamed for you that you had to call me to ask me if I paid for my own phone bill and then lower my monthly grocery money allotment based how much I spent paying for my own landline.

I know that there are others who got this phone call and the letter that followed, whose SNAP allotments were cut down to the bare minimum of $16 a month, likely based on the possibility that they may not be able to afford their own land line. Fortunately, I am one of the lucky ones who can and so my monthly allotment is not as such. However, it still pisses me off that the State of New Jersey would see to it that those who cannot afford groceries due to their present situation in life, should be shopping for fewer groceries and therefore less healthy options.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that I can still afford to do complete grocery shopping trips using my NJ SNAPs, but I believe that the latest adjustment was not well-balanced. Basing someone’s ability to buy groceries on whether or not they can afford their bills when it should be based on an individual’s income. I may have received more money because I pay my own bill, and a neighbor may have received less because he does not. Is the ultimate goal not to achieve financial independence anymore?  This would be in addition to making healthy eating more affordable, as per the nutrition courses you are so desperately trying implement!  Sometimes we need a little help first in order to get us to that goal.

I walked out of the grocery store, no matzo for Passover, no soup for dinner tonight, and no groceries for the rest of this week.  Leaving everything in the two bags on the counter, I apologized to the cashier, twice, and walked home trying not to cry.  Although you might think so, I wasn’t sad or ashamed.  It took me only a few seconds to realize that I was more angry that embarrassed.  I was fuming inside!

So SNAP YOU government! Get yourself together and stop taking the food from our mouths!

Love,

A broke, not-so-middle class, white, Jewish woman.

(Yes, I was brought up in a middle class, white Jewish family.)

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