Just read about the woman in Laredo that shot her children and herself in a DHS office after a 7 hr standoff. Kids were critically injured and mom is dead. She was desperate that's apparent but it pains me knowing she was denied foodstamps and also because of all the red tape her cased was closed. I do not condone the actions of this one parent. I hope it sheds a light on raising the poverty level in this country. It's easy for those with money to say 'get a job' but when you are a single parent often times you are stuck between a rock and hard place. Child care is expensive and wages are low. Or, like one of my family members...good job, decent salary but living just a basic standard costs more than what you make. I'm frustrated so my writing is probably all over the place so please bear with me. The 2011 HHS poverty guidelines show that a family of four cannot exceed $22,350 gross. That breaks down to roughly $430 per week, before taxes, or $1720 per month. Not a whole lot. Now what happens if you make $22,351? I have been in this scenario. Years ago when I was a newly divorced mother of 3 I lived on about $1500 per month bring home. If it wasn't for the fact that I applied and was approved for child care assistance that lowered by child care fees to $30 per week for all 3 children I would have been forced to quit my State job and go on complete public assistance. I made too much money for any other help. No Foodstamps, no Medicaid...nothing. It was hard, terribly hard.
I know there are those 'haters' that say well what about 'those people' that take advantage of the system. Speaking from a former recipients perspective...I don't care. My kids needed to eat. My rent and electricity needed to be paid. My car needed gas so I could get to work. There were times my electricity or water was cut off before I got home from work because I just didn't have the money. I'd borrow from my sister to have it turned on and then went without something else so it would stay on. Dang it was hard.
I don't live like that anymore but I sure appreciate where I came from and what I have now. I appreciate it enough not to turn a blind or judgemental eye.
Romans 12:1-2 The Message
So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.