A Maker? A Taker?

Eli Saslow is really doing a bang-up job reporting stories about how people are faring in the current economy (i.e. this story) and his feature yesterday following a food-stamp recruiter who visits low-income seniors to let them know that help is available, and a man who needs assistance but doesn’t want to be a “taker” is excellent:

“I don’t want to be another person depending on the government,” he said.

“How about being another person getting the help you deserve?” she said.

Did he deserve it, though? Lonnie Briglia, 60, drove back to his Spanish Lakes mobile home with the recruiter’s pamphlets and thought about that. He wasn’t so sure.

Wasn’t it his fault that he had flushed 40 years of savings into a bad investment, buying a fleet of delivery trucks just as the economy crashed? Wasn’t it his fault that he and his wife, Celeste, had missed mortgage payments on the house where they raised five kids, forcing the bank to foreclose in 2012? Wasn’t it his fault the only place they could afford was an abandoned mobile home in Spanish Lakes, bought for the entirety of their savings, $750 in cash?

The bottom line is that people who need food and are eligible for food stamps shouldn’t feel bad about signing up for SNAP—regardless of past mistakes. The piece does a good job of showing why some people who need help are hesitant to accept it.


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