November 19, 2007
By Anonymous

This past summer I spent three days on a service immersion experience at the Romero Center in Camden, NJ. For four days and three nights a group of thirteen girls from Notre Dame spent our time doing a variety of different service projects. I worked one day in a drop-in center for the homeless, another cleaning out old abandoned homes, assisting the wheel chair bound, and another sorting food to be boxed and sent to shelters. Being able to experience these things gave me the ability to see first hand the problems facing many Americans today.
Throughout the week, we were forced to overcome many challenges. Lead by a leader from the center we were assigned into groups of four. Imagine a group of four complete strangers put into an unfamiliar grocery store and forced to budget their daily diet, spending the amount of money allotted for a typical family on the food stamp program. This number was only about twelve dollars for the group four people, as a whole: that’s about three dollars per person. Though we thought finding enough food was going to be a problem, we were shocked to find out that was our biggest problem. The biggest problem we faced was finding food to create a balanced diet. The ability to create a balanced diet was hard, because all we really could buy was Ramen Noodles, which are filled with over 900 grams of sodium. These limitations were hard, but bearable. Quite possibly the most unbearable part of this experience, though was seeing the face of people in the stores using food stamps. They were ashamed and embarrassed. Some people even waited until no-one was in line to check-out, but this didn’t relieve the embarrassment. Cashiers were calling managers to the front, and hold paper coupons to the lights to check for reliability. People’s faces turned red, and I knew then exactly why the number of people eligible for food stamps, and the number of those actually participating in the program was so vast.

Though they are aware of the need for food stamps in America, the government continues to make the process to receive and the requirements to qualify so difficult. The number one reason people don’t register to be qualified is because of the long, rigorous, and embarrassing processes to receive them; but why don’t you see any government official doing anything about this? The reason is because since the government doesn’t need to fund food for the poor they are essentially saving money.

The food stamp program in the United States is not sufficient and needs to be changed immediately to help the poor in the United States.

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