“Those People” Eat Quinoa, Too


There’s a food drive happening at the school where I work. Several bins have been set up throughout the hallways, with cute kid-decorated signs that implore us to SCARE HUNGER and donate non-perishables for the local food shelf.

As I am wont to do, I look at the food as I walk by. Why? Because I like food. It’s like porn to me. I wish I was lying. So I walk by, several times a day, and gaze at the donations.

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Dang. We have some swanky grocery shoppers at our school…the bins are filled with “fancy” foodstuff, lots of organic offerings, and some deviations from the standard mac and cheese/boxes of spaghetti. There’s rice pasta, artichoke hearts packed in seasoned oil, gluten-free crackers, olive tapenade….and quinoa. I look at those bins like Sylvester looked at Tweety Bird.

Like I was doing earlier this week. Walking by, checking out the bins. One of the women who helped organize the drive was in the hallway, and I called out to her “Wow! Look at all this awesomeness!” or something similarly enlightening. She beamed and said, “I know! The parents at this school are amazing.”

As she was saying this, another woman happened by. She smiled at us, like people who see each other several times a day in passing do, and then she said this:

“Too bad they won’t know what to do with most of it.”

It was one of those moments in life, when your ears hear something but your brain can’t quite process it.  I was fairly certain I’d just heard her say what I thought I’d heard her say…but it didn’t really sink in. It floated there, like a film of rainbow-hued oil over a puddle in the street.

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I spoke up, while she was still within earshot. “What do you mean?”. I wanted to know. I wanted to verify what she said, make sure I hadn’t misunderstood.

The woman stopped. She turned towards me, one hand holding a couple of manila folders, the other resting lightly on her hip. She was still smiling.

“Those people won’t know what most of that is. I mean, really, quinoa?”

Yep. I’d heard her correctly.

Those people.

The last time I got groceries at our local food shelf was this past February. Eight months ago. The long-overdue child support from my ex kicked in later that month, and although it wasn’t much, it made the difference between being able to buy groceries and having to get them from a food shelf. For that, I’m grateful.

Those people.

I can still remember the first time I visited the food shelf. I had driven by, so many times, trying to work up the courage to pull into the parking lot. I’d whisper to myself, “Dammit. I can’t” and I’d keep driving, home to the barren fridge and the Old-Mother-Hubbard cupboards. Until the desperation overshadowed my pride.

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Those people.

Once you get past the hardest part, which is walking through the door, being at the food shelf isn’t so bad. I mean, it’s not something that inspires one to burst into song and run around high-fiving people, but as far as life experiences go, not so bad. Sure, there’s the heat on your cheeks as you fill out the paperwork, giving these strangers your life history. Telling them how you got into this pickle. This predicament. Telling them what you do for money, how much you get and how you spend it. But you get used to having hot cheeks. You become accustomed to averting your gaze so as not to make too much eye contact. You eventually become, dare I say, comfortable at the food shelf.

Those people.

I quickly found out that food shelves are a lot like TJ Maxx…it’s hit or miss. Some days the shelves are full, and full of really good things. Annie’s Mac and Cheese. Organic marinara sauce. Fresh vegetables. Whole chickens in the freezer. Brie from Trader Joe’s that’s only 2 days past the expiration date. Other days, you have to scramble to even get near the required weight of food in your cart (yeah…you get a certain number of pounds of food, depending on the size of your family). Dented cans of creamed corn. Spoiled produce that even the most resourceful, broke chef couldn’t salvage. Individual sleeves of saltine crackers. But beggars can’t be choosers, right?

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Those people.

I visited the food shelf a total of 5 times in about 11 months. I only told one friend. I told my kids, and when I did, I expected them to laugh, or get angry, or embarrassed. They didn’t do any of those things. They helped me put the groceries away, and they did so quietly, not saying much other than the occasional exclamation of “Yum!” or “Gross!”. I can recall for you, on command, most of the meals I made with food shelf goodies. Oven roasted chicken with quartered rosemary potatoes. Turkey chili. French toast. More mac and cheese than I care to admit. One of my favorites was an organic risotto, flavored with mushrooms and olive oil.

Those people.


I wanted to say that, but I didn’t. Instead, all I could muster was,

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“I like quinoa.”

To which she replied, “Well yes, of course. You’re not one of those people.”

If only she knew.

Can you help one of “those” people this year? Please read about the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project. We need your help! 

About the writer

Jennifer Ball is a writer, a mom and a dog person who used to have really pretty feet. Her work appears sporadically on her blog, Happy Hausfrau, and has been featured on The Huffington Post, The Today Show, Family Circle magazine and in the Listen To Your Mother anthology published by Putnam in April 2015. When not working at her full-time job or trying desperately to keep up with her TV shows, she enjoys drinking martinis and following drama in comment sections. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There’s also a really good chance you can find her at either Target or Costco.

From Around the Web


pam 1 month ago

I’ve been one of ‘those people’ too, and around here, the people that shop at the food pantry that know what quinoa is, are definitely few and far between.

Eric 2 months ago

She probably meant black people.

Rae 6 months ago

…. Slow clap … Thank you for saying this. Exactly how you said it. Bravo to you… Though I admit being small and hateful enough to wish that you had given in to the shaking and screaming part….

Brenda 6 months ago

I too have been one of “those people”. I have worked from the time I was 14 paying taxes, but nearly two years ago at the age of 48 I fell and dislocated and broke my shoulder. My husband is disabled and I was not able to perform my job as a nurse after the injury. My employer would make no accommodations for my injury. My income was our main income and we were cut down to less than 1/3 of the income we were used to receiving. During the first few months my employer paid me for enough hours to ensure that my health insurance was paid, but it put us over the limit to receive any public assistance. Once the PTO time ran out we qualified for $160.00 per month in food stamps for myself, my husband and our granddaughter that we are raising. We were privileged to find out how the food pantries worked. I would go religiously to get food when we could because although I had a fairly stocked up pantry to begin with it was rapidly dwindling as we were unable to replace any items that we used. During the time off I went back to school to get an MSN so that I would be able to get a nursing position that didn’t require lifting as I was not sure when I would be able to lift again. After being off for a year I was able to get a part-time job that did not require me to lift.

During the time that I went to the food pantry I met a variety of people there. Some of those people were there just “using the system” but the vast majority of the people were people with situations similar to ours where some catastrophic event had occurred that left them unable to obtain enough food to feed their family. I too saw that there were foods that some would not take as one of the pantries regularly gave out a large amount of produce. Many of the people did not take the produce and most did not know what to do with the items that they did not take. I spent time talking to people and eventually began a ministry at our church teaching people to make meals for their family for around a dollar a serving. I tried to use many of the items that were frequently given out in the food pantries and even made an effort to take some of the produce that was typically given out and find recipes that used those items and have samples with recipes for people to try in addition to making the meal to take home. I was fortunate in that I had learned to cook at a young age and have never been afraid to try new recipes. With the internet it is easy to find a recipe for some food that I am not familiar. However, many people have not had the chance to learn these skills. My mother and grandmother were wonderful cooks and passed that skill along, but many people have not had the opportunities that I had. I felt like it was something I could share with others to help them be able to make the most of the items they could get at the food pantries.

When I went and was given produce many times they would ask me if I would take a case of whatever they were giving away. I never turned anything down. I also had skills at freezing and canning items which again is not a skill everyone possesses. I think that if more people could help “those people” develop some of those skills instead of judging them and being critical the world would be a better place. I know what it feels like to be one of “those people” and it isn’t easy to go to the food pantry for food, but it did get us through a rough place. I am just finishing my MSN next month and have a full time position lined up. I have been working part time for 9 months and have not had to go to the food pantry although my income is only 1/3 of what I was used to making. We have been very frugal and have been able to make it without the food pantry during that time. I was just thankful that there were places that helped us get through the roughest time. I hope that with my classes I might help at least a few people know how to make their food dollars go a little farther and I can give back some of what I took during our rough time. If everyone could work to make things a little better for someone else, our world would be a better place.

This article was a good article and you really truly never know when you might be talking with one of “those people”.

Ally’s Sweet & Savory Eats 6 months ago

I’m so glad this came across my news feed today – what a great read. I recently posted to my blog about our families journey to volunterring at the food pantry. I was truly changed by it. You just never know a persons situation….or if that could be you sometimes. Many, many people are just one paycheck away from visiting themselves. Thank you for the great awareness needed towards this subject.

lisa g 6 months ago

My family was in that position a few times when i was young. My dad would paint signs for the food shelter and theyd pay him in food. I thought it was awesome.

We had a food drive at work. There was a competition between departments to see who could raise the most. The rules were that only the most needed items would count towards the competition.

There were some people i my department complaining that they could get more packages of ramen for the price of on jar of peanut butter. I was so embarassed to call them coworkers. I went to a tirade about whow everyone deserves healthy food. Some looked at me lik i was a snob because i thought they should donate something better than noodles. Others tha had been in th position agreed with me and bought a variety of delicious food.

Annalee 6 months ago

This post hits home. Shaming comes in all forms and like the flu doesn’t have a prejudice on choosing its victims. We’re all guilty of judging at one time or another of feeling that sense of entitlement for “our tax dollars” and while a few may abuse the system, many of us never stop to think about how hard it is to ask for help until we’re the ones who needed it.

I happen to love quinoa.

Justine 6 months ago

Elaine I am so sorry you and your children faced such horrible financial abuse. Every person who humiliates or belittles a woman or mother who needs help adds to the power of financial abusers.

Victoria 6 months ago

I came across this article and read a bunch of inspiration stories and found out there were great non-judgemental people in the world. Then I came across your comment Fond du Lac and you ruined everything. Don’t go around judging people’s lives from what few things they said, the story is always more complex!

Also, not sure if you are from Wisconsin from just being pretentious, but “Fond du Lac” means Lake Bottom in French. Just FYI.

Dale 6 months ago

I am not a mother (except to two cats – who eat better than I do!) but I have to say to this article RIGHT ON WITH YA BAD SELF! I just lurve (not a misspelling) what you wanted to say to that arrogant woman. I’m less concerned with politeness and probably would’ve said it out loud but that’s me.

I have been one of “those people” several times in my life and even without children it is humiliating to have to ask for help to feed yourself. At one point, I lost my condo, had to file bankruptcy and seriously considered dumpster diving after a serious illness and a car accident had me off work for eight and a half months. Had it not been for a couple of good friends I would have had to wheel myself into the street (I had a broken, surgically repaired leg, a broken hand and broken ribs and was confined to a wheelchair and couldn’t negotiate the stairs with my platform crutches for months). One friend, not well off herself and with a special needs son, brought two bags of groceries. The other helped me pay off immediate bills and get medical papers filed with utilities so I wasn’t sitting in the dark with my equally hungry cats.

Power and lots of light to all of us who have been and may still be “those people”.

Steve Ortner 6 months ago

All that Ignorance takes to spread is that no one takes the time to Correct a misconception!
If anyone were to take the time to explain civilly and calmly explain to her …
That there are no “Those People”, that they are not a sub species or some alien race , or a stray animal to be taken in . . . THEY are US, who now need some Help.
Perhaps she would be able to explain to others who see thing incorrectly and a great many more would join the cause.
Again, All that Ignorance takes to spread is that no one takes the time to Correct a misconception!

Cathy 6 months ago

Funny enough quinoa originated from South America. Many of these expensive fancy grains are from these countries. Now farmers want to sell to the first world countries and not to the people around them who depend on these grains.

As someone who is on SNAP I can tell you once you get assistance its hard to get out. Make a little too much and you get no money, hence none for food. So anything bill wise you normally spend your paycheck on goes for the food or the bills. Out of fear you stay under almost afraid to make more. Silly that we prefer people to fend for themselves but offer only jobs that pay nothing so they need assistance to survive and then punish them for making more money.

podhajska 9 months ago

I’m not sure where you’re getting your info, but good topic.

I needs to spend some time learning much more or
understanding more. Thanks for great info I was looking for this information for my mission.

CJ 10 months ago

For certain the woman with the folders misspoke when she used the term, “Those people.” It would have been more accurate to say, “the vast majority of food bank patrons”. I interned at a food bank and stayed as a volunteer for years while I was in undergrad. I worked a homeless outreach for years as well. I was a social worker for over 5 and now I am a teacher in a low income school. MOST (clearly not all) food bank patrons do not know what to do with the high – end food your school so lovingly donated. My comments are backed by not only my own experience but also vast research on “food deserts” and the lack of access to quality food in poor communities. I would watch clients toss out canned salmon or whole grain bread and demand peanut butter and jelly with white bread. They refused skim milk and wanted sugary drinks. Why? Well, when they had money this is what they would purchase! 1. It’s cheap. 2. It tastes good to them. When I worked in my first low income schools our Friday afternoon instruction time was interrupted by the food bank handing out bags of groceries to get our kids through the weekend: mac and cheese and other cheap food.

On a personal note: I grew up middle class until my mom became a single mother and at times we were on food stamps. It was humiliating for me. Sadly, I also became a single mother. I went back to the food bank occasionally because my pride would not allow me to apply for food stamps. Having served with the food bank and been served (literally) by them- there is no shame in my game. I often joke, “Don’t let my master’s degree and job title fool you. I DEFINE ghetto.”

Your reaction to your co-worker’s comments is actually pretty telling about your own biases. You are embarrassed to admit how much processed mac and cheese you served your kids. Really? Why? You and your kids are too good for the cheap quality food you got? You mentioned you like quinoa and defended your consumption of it while withholding from your co-worker information about its availability at the food bank. It’s almost like you identify with “those people” while holding their food choices in contempt. I want to be honest here: your reaction to her comments is totally your problem. She may sound ignorant when she judges food bank patrons, but you are ignorant of the story you are telling yourself here. Let go of whatever shame you have about your situation because as Kati said in an earlier comment, food security and poverty are on the rise for many, including those of us in the educated class. You are benefiting from the higher end food you can find at the food bank because no one else wants it. Enjoy it! Despise not your “bitch” of a co-worker because believe it or not, you are a food bank patron. You are letting your pride drive your reaction to her ignorant comments. Like the rest of us, you’re just doing whatever you need to in order to make the ends meet. Your kids are loved, housed, and fed. That, right there, is where you place your pride- not your ego.

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Maive 11 months ago

I grew up poor. The kind of poor they write novels and plays about. When I was 11, my family moved from our tiny island to the USVI. It was just American enough to be the land of opportunity without being to foreign. My mom got a job. It didn’t pay very well but it kept us comfortable. No more climbing trees to make a meal. I graduated high school in the top 25th percentile, drifted through college and got a job. I graduated in March, I had a job by April. I was making $20 an hr, more money than I’d ever seen at 1 time in my life. I wasn’t the thriftiest. Most of my money was spent on food. Not eating out or buying junk, just having enough to eat what I wanted when I wanted. I got a new apartment (after the lease ran out where I was staying before), furnished it with a mattress, and couple couches and and dining table I found on Craigslist. I started saving for a rainy day. I paid to become a citizen, to finally get an eye exam and a desperately needed new prescription. I indulged in perks like internet so I could work from home and cable so my roommate and I could bond over American Horror Story. I got a cell phone that worked. Then I lost my job. One day, I’m doing really well, the next, “We’re sorry. We’re just not doing as well as we used to. We have to let you go.” I was okay at first. I had some money saved up. But that started slowly drying up. I cut down expenses and sent out applications. Months pass and nothing. Last year I had people calling me up to offer me positions. This year, I can barely get an interview. I change my resume, my cover letter, my website, nothing. My roommate gets married, has a baby, moves out. I finally get a job. By then my savings are gone. But I’m working now. About 3 weeks in, the manager hires her son in law, a week later, there isn’t enough work to justify hiring me. I have an apartment, I have bills, I have no roommate, I have no job. I have no food, I have no money. Going home is no longer an option. My entire family is 4 hrs away by plane. Plane tickets cost money. That’s when I got foodstamps. People don’t know. Most people don’t get it. It can be anyone. You can be perfectly fine and still need help. You can dig and claw your way out of poverty and still need help. Sometimes life pushes you down, then kicks you while you’re down there.

Amanda 11 months ago

Ignorant woman. I was one of “those people.” When my son was born, I was laid off and on unemployment, WIC, and government healthcare. I got my food from a food bank, when I needed to eat. And I like quinoa, too.

rae 11 months ago

If it wasn’t for my parents we would have been a at a pantry a few times. Both high school grads. Things forced to me to a sahm and sometimes we really can’t afford it. My DF works 60 hours a week and we live in a nice area. But he had gotten hurt at work and we lost part of that income. We let our Netflix, phones, internet and all go to try and make up the difference. It didn’t work and we had lost our gas and electric for a while to. If not for my parents I’m not sure how my toddler would have eaten. There’s been many Times I didn’t eat so her and DF could. Her lunch was often ramen middle or hot dogs. Things happen and no matter how well educated you are how well you were doing it can throw you down. Just pray she never knows the feeling of going hungry.

Christine McNutt 12 months ago

What you are doing here is AWESOME!!! So many parents will have a happy and blessed Holiday because of what you are doing. It is so very difficult for those of us who are the working poor to ask for help. It’s frustrating and we feel like failures. But when the help is given to us, we are grateful beyond words. Keep doing what you are doing! (Btw, love love love your website!)

Virginia 12 months ago

I understand why you didn’t feel like “coming out” to this seemingly bigoted woman as one of “those people” during that conversation. But I wonder what would have happened if you had. I expect she would have apologized, and she probably would have learned something, too. Most of us have a blind spot somewhere. Maybe she’ll read this article instead, and learn something from it.

Thank you for sharing this painful experience. It was certainly valuable to me, and I’m sure to many others as well.

kc 12 months ago

What an ass hole.

Lynn 12 months ago

I have been one of those people
I have also been one who secretly helps those people. It really galls me to hear someone who has no idea what poverty is complain about the “moochers getting food stamps”. I live on a fixed income from the Social Security Administration. I received an $11 a month raise last January and had my food stamp allotment cut by $36 dollars. My costs for groceries and utilities have doubled, yet those people like me are constantly referred to as “takers”. I would like to take them out to the woodshed and give them the what for, but like you, I bite my tongue and pray foe them that they never have to chose between paying for your prescription that insurance won’t cover, or the cord of wood to put in your stove to keep warm. Thank you!

Stephanie Dillard 12 months ago

Many of us have been one of “those people” at some point in our lives. How rude and cruel people can be…. Every one needs a hand up once in awhile…

John Henry 12 months ago

I understand your point, and yes, it is a valid one to an extent. But,i think I might have sensed a bit too much defensiveness there. There are many people who would not have a clue what to do with some of the items you’ve mentioned. Some, not all, have been with kids, poor, and just trying to make it for most of their lives, and though they may have perfected ten different recipes which are variations on a theme of mac and cheese would have no idea what the heck to do with Roquefort, or brie, or any of a thousand different things that frankly are more about style than quantity. When you have a brood and little money coming in you really don’t care to serve six saltines with arugula and a slight smear of mascarpone on it and then send the little ones to bed hungry. When you have a limited income, then what “those people” are going to do is get the largest quantity for the least amount of money. It is called survival. And, “those people” have done that for most of their lives in quite a few instances. They do not hold to the Gwyneth Paltrow form of meal planning where each individuals’ dinner runs 50-100 dollars in food costs. They understand that there is only “x” amount of dollars on a given month for a food budget; they understand that leg quarters (caged up, force fed chicken leg quarters, not lovingly raised, free range, organic or any other foo foo term of the day) may in fact help them to have at least some form of protein on the table come dinner time. They may have to do this for years. They may not even remotely care whther something is gluten free, or hydroponically, organically grown when that means that for the cost of one “healthy” meal a weeks worth of food budget is shot. “Those people” would not know what to do with “artichoke hearts packed in seasoned oil, gluten-free crackers, olive tapenade….and quinoa”. They of course would be grateful and do what they could with it, but they would not know what to do with it. That is not meant in a derogatory sense towards “those people”, not at all. hey are doing all they can to survive. The lady that passed you in the hallway was quite correct for about half the people.

Lindsey Perrott 12 months ago

XX Hugs XX

Brenda 12 months ago

Over the past year our family has had the privilege of being some of “those people”. I had an accident that made it unable for me to work. My husband is disabled, and I was the main source of income. For a short while (until my PTO ran out even though my employer was only paying me enough to cover my insurance premiums so I was actually taking home nothing) we did not qualify for food stamps. When we did qualify at the beginning we were receiving 100.00 a month for three people. (We are raising a granddaughter). While we started out with well stocked cupboards eating all our food out of them was depleting them very quickly. The only resource available to us was the local food pantries. We began going every time we were eligible to go which was once a month. There were two food pantries in our local area and occasionally they had a mobile food pantry that came to the area as well. At neither of the food pantries did we really get a choice in the food we were able to take. At the first food pantry they had you fill out a list, that you could choose items, but frequently, even though you filled out the list, they did not have the items on the list and substituted whatever items they did have on hand. The questionnaire had the number of people in the household and then you could circle how many cans/boxes (up to the limit) of the types of food available. They did not give out produce at that food pantry (well once or twice they had some apples that people could take if they wanted to in a bag). The other food pantry gave out a lot of produce and they had you move through and take what you wanted, although it was expected that you would take pretty much everything they offered as you went. They did give you some choices in the meat you chose (I never saw a whole chicken at any of the visits). This pantry that gave out the produce had a lot of people that did not take what was offered in terms of produce. While this was to my benefit (When I said I would take some zucchini for instance one month they asked if I would take a whole case of it. And another time they gave me a whole case of kabocha squash. A different time we left with two cases of bell peppers etc.) it saddened me to see that many people did not take the produce they offered. This was due to the fact that many of the people that did not take it did not know what to do with it and did not have the ability to store it for long term use. As I saw this happening I began to puzzle over it. God had already given me an idea in my mind that I should help to feed the hungry in our community, but I wasn’t exactly sure how that plan was to be played out. Over the months of going to these places and seeing this I found God’s plan for me in this area. When I got some new food that I was unsure what to do with it or even if I got something I recognized but wasn’t a food we typically ate, I would search out recipes to try and I became very creative developing recipes that would use the mismatched food that we acquired from these places. (Sometime the stuff they put in the box were next to impossible to figure out a semi-healthy meal to make from it.) I eventually went to our Pastor and explained the mission that God had called me to. I developed a class that is offered once a month at our church. I teach people to make meals for less than a dollar a serving and I try and incorporate many of the foods that would be things that the local food pantries routinely give out. I also bring to the class samples of some of the recipes that I have found for the unusual foods that would be given along with the recipes for them to take home so that when they are offered a case of avocados, they know that the only way to eat it is not guacamole for example and they will be able to take that and nourish their family. While these meals may not be the healthiest meals someone can prepare (using dark meat chicken instead of chicken breast because we got lots of leg quarters, but never a package of chicken breast) they are still healthier than a boxed food and the goal is to keep the meals at or under a dollar a serving for the entire meal. When I received large quantities of foods I was able to can/freeze much of it so that we would be able to use every last bit and have food while this extended time off work lasted. I am only recently employed again (my employer terminated me for being on medical leave too long) I still cannot return to the job I previously had and am only working part time which now disqualifies us for the assistance we were getting. However, over the summer I spent much of my assistance on produce that was marked way down and canned and froze enough food that we should be able to manage through this winter. I have also gone back to school to further my education so that I will be qualified for a job that I no longer have to lift as I am still unable to lift more than about 10 pounds. This has been a trial for us, but God has provided and our family has never been hungry even though there have been times we really did not get to make our own food choices. While it was at times humiliating, I do not believe I would have been aware of how rampant hunger was in our community or how unprepared many are to deal with making meals from the mismatched items that are frequently given to them. I am glad that God gave me the opportunity to meet and see these people and put this love in my heart for them to help them in learning creative ways to prepare the food that they have and to use the resources available to them in the best way to provide the healthiest meals possible on such a limited budget. This has been the best part of going through this process and I’m glad that I was able to see that it takes so little for any of us to be one of “those people” for me it was one wrong step and it totally changed my life as well as the life of my entire family.

Kari 12 months ago

It happens. Everything has abuse in it. And no matter how much you try to weed out the bad apples, there will still be a few of them.

Personally, if I have to err, I want it to be on the side of compassion.

And some people have just been so beat down all their lives that they honestly don’t know HOW to do any differently.

Kari 12 months ago

Because even “good money” isn’t enough to pay for the high cost of living. And why would anyone have to justify themselves to you?

Just because a person receives aid, doesn’t mean that they have to have everyone up in their business.

Do you want to fully explain all of your financial decisions? Do you want to justify yourself to me or anyone else?

She obviously qualifies for food stamps or she wouldn’t be getting them.

Quit trying to decide who is “deserving” and who isn’t…. It’s none of your business.

Michelle Baker 12 months ago

Food banks and lockers are a wonderful stop gaps but truly don’t end the long term issues with poverty and food insecurities. The cost of food and the destruction of our economy have made this a serious national issue that must be addressed at the local. State and national levels. People need good secure jobs that pay a decent wage and allows families to feed their children. And yes I have been in this position and much worse, spent my entire childhood more often homeless then in a home.

Beth Rose 12 months ago

I have helped with food drives and hate when people bring in very expired food and think they are a hero for donating it instead of throwing it out. If you wouldn’t feed it to your family why would someone else?

Brie Urso 12 months ago

This made me mad. I am one of “those people”. Some of these comments made me mad too. Don’t assume that low income households going to food banks, don’t know how to cook. Don’t assume they don’t have woks or other cooking utensils. Our family was fine until I could no longer work. Other families are in the same boat losing an income that had helped. Not every low income family are uneducated about cooking and food. The reason why easy processed foods are eaten is because it’s what’s available and less expensive.

Joanna Garcia 12 months ago

may god be with yall and the people surfing

Melinda Brown 12 months ago

I wish she would have said something. Not mean, but taking the opportunity to spread some awareness

Carline R. Hooker 12 months ago

thanks for posting!

Linda Campbell 12 months ago

Until you have been, or have known, one of “those people”, you will never understand how it feels. Donating a little can help a lot. Local grocery stores often have bags that you can purchase for a couple dollars. They are stocked with basics that every family can use. If you want to be especially generous, donate tampons, dog food, cat food, paper products, etc. These are items that most people forget, but are necessary to most families.

Heather Hedstrom 12 months ago

Once a month I’m at a local food bank sorting food. I live in Silicon Valley. 1 in 10 of our neighbors here get help from the food bank via the 300+ partner organizations that receive food from them. 1 in 10! These are our local kids, seniors, families. Recently I had a colleague arrive from India. He saw the posters I have up in my cubicle about the food bank. He was floored that there is hunger in Silicon Valley. Floored. His image of the SF Bay Area is that we are affluent, that we all have what we need. Sad to have to tell him otherwise. Don’t just donate when there’s a food drive. Donate year round. Go help at your local food bank. Get involved. Help.

Stephanie Myers 12 months ago

I’ve been one of those people many times, people need help every now and then, even people who work their butts off

Shanna Jones Ross 12 months ago

I have to say that over the last few weeks of reading Scary Mommy I am so much more inspired and happy to know that I am not the only mom, woman or person to feel these ways! I love my kids my life and my husband and I
Am a better person for each of them and for everything that is written and posted on this site/blog! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being honest and putting it out there, no matter how bad it is! I ❤️u

Corinne Clark Stevenson 12 months ago

Oh Scary Mommy, I wish I could like this post a thousand times. I adore you! It is so very hard to admit that you need help and you feel so ashamed, but we Momma’s have to do what we have to do to feed our kids. One of these days when I’m not so strapped myself I will be helping to fill the shelves of our local Food Bank and do my part to help others.

Emily Blank 12 months ago

My confirmation kids will be trick or treating to fill our local food pantry up this year! I’m super excited!!! Praying the hearts of the community will be open to share the blessings God has given them!

Kaci McKeown Doane 12 months ago

The problem is the people who take advantage of wonderful programs like this. I too have been to the point of having to use food donations but a lot of people don’t want to give bc of selfish people who sell their food stamps to buy drugs then go to food pantries for their basic needs.

Elizabeth Samudio 12 months ago

Sending prayers Christine Warner. God bless you.

Sarah 12 months ago

Thank you for this post. That woman is very fortunate to have not needed to utilize a food bank. No one should have to justify needing help. We all go though ups and downs in our life. When we are in an up we give, when we are in a down we receive. The circle of life. I don’t care who you are everyone likes to have special food. How much mac & cheese and canned veggies can one family eat? 😛

Karen Phillips 12 months ago

Someone just asked on one of my other groups if they should donate 2 year expired cake mix because “I’m sure it would come out ok.” Um…please throw that away.

Kate Williams 12 months ago

I think the majority of us have been in that position at one point in time in our lives. It humbles you as a person & in turn we become those that donate more than just the basics. Because we as humans all want to be able to have the finer things.

Just remember that there are those that are blissfully unaware and those that are just plain ignorant!

Joseph Szarka 12 months ago

I wanted to take my whole troop there on a Tuesday morning. But that wouldn’t be right. So I just thanked them and told them the story. There, but for the grace of God, go I.

sm 12 months ago

I totally get what you’re saying, but that still doesn’t validate the woman referring to “those people” as, well..”those people”. She was assuming that the people who would eventually be getting those goods would be unable to use them. Was she right? Obviously, no.

Just because you don’t know what those kinds of foods are, because they aren’t in your vocabulary, does that mean people shouldn’t donate such things to food banks? The world is a very diverse place and the people who frequent food banks are, too. Thank goodness the people who are generous enough to donate food are, as well.

Beatrice Leavens Brown 12 months ago

Been there. Done that. Hubby had a work related accident. Unable to work for almost 3 years. We used it a few times in those 3 years. 3 kids and a minimum wage job. And yes, hubby volunteered before, during and after his accident. And yes, we made some good meals. Though there was never any meat unless it was canned. Yes, we donate, even during our toughest times, because there is always someone worse off than we are.

Joseph Szarka 12 months ago

My wife’s Girl Scout troop collects food for the local food band every year. I get to participate by driving the girls through the neighborhood to collect the donations from door steps. I get to help drop it off on a Saturday when the bank is closed.
Then I organized a collection with my Boy Scouts, separate from the BSA Thanksgiving drive. The boys raised money flea marketing and then shopped. It’s a small troop, it wasn’t a lot. It wasn’t enough to have the bank open on a Saturday to receive it and the two hundred dollar check.
I had to go when the bank opened on a Tuesday morning. I arrived a few minutes early, I was trying to get to work. The line was out the door already. Dressed in business attire with a tie, I walked past the line outside, down a long hallway of filled chairs and the looks and found the office. The lady inside says “excuse me sir, you’ll have to wait in line.” Already rattled, I started to say “No, I’m not here for …..” And she asks with a friendly smile, “haven’t been here before?” And try’s to hand me paperwork to fill out. I finally pull out the check and say I have food donations in my car. The small staff light up and rush to my aid.

Windy Paneto 12 months ago

I am one of those people…as a mother survival mode kicks in and I will swallow my pride and do what I need to do for my children.. but it is not easy and it never comes w/o a price! I will make it to the other side and make sure I can give back to those people…survivors

Scott 12 months ago

The question here is NOT whether people using a food bank know how to use quinoa or not; the issue is the arrogance of the comment, “those people,” as if she would never be one of “those people” who need some assistance. If we’re discussing whether or not people shopping at a food bank know what to do with quinoa, the truth is probably much more that, whether you’re shopping at a food bank or Trader Joe’s (that’s a regional organic-type grocery, for those not familiar with the name) or your local grocery store, a lot of people don’t know what to do with specialty food items, and so they don’t buy them. And yet, Trader Joe’s STILL stocks quinoa (and all sorts of other things I wouldn’t ever know what to do with) because some people DO know what to do with them, and so the food is there. I would wager a bet that the percentage of people shopping at a Trader Joe’s who know what to do with quinoa is probably not much higher than the percentage of people that shop at a food bank. And who knows but that a budding young chef, the son or daughter of a family served by a local food bank, might not enjoy the occasional challenge of something new and different. And yet, this woman’s careless and insensitive attitude conveys the thought that anyone who benefits from a local food shelter is part of a monolithic group of people that can only cook the most basic of foods, would never appreciate anything different, and are ignorant of anything beyond macaroni and cheese and canned corn. If only she knew . . . As the old saying goes, “There but for the grace of God go I.” May this woman come to understand that it is by God’s grace that she is able to care for her family, and that any number of circumstances might arise that could very quickly turn her into one of “those people” — I just pray that, if that were to happen, she would be able to go to a food shelter and find quinoa and many of the other foods she now enjoys eating that, according to her, “those people” aren’t really worthy to have.

Sarah Gregory 12 months ago

I’ve been one of “those people” before. I’ve eaten nothing but toast for weeks straight so my husband and children could eat what food we had. I’m forever grateful for any help we’ve received, and do my best to give back. I never judge another person that needs help.

Kat 12 months ago

A lot of people use food donations to clean out their pantry – getting rid of stuff they bought and never used. Some of ‘those people’ might be glad to get unusual ingredients but most will not (as said so well above). My daughter was out of work for 5 weeks due to illness. She is a CPA and is only paid when she works. Five weeks with no income and she was ready to go to the food bank. She did get more beans than she will use in several years, but appreciated the items and learned how to cook the beans and make healthful meals.

Erin Bielecki 12 months ago

There’s so much one can do with quinoa!! Anything you would use rice in.

Linda Jayne Spray 12 months ago

I have no idea what to do with quinoa!

Erin Bielecki 12 months ago

I love this story. I still quote it. “I like quinoa.”

Rose Mallow 12 months ago

Can I get copi

April Sumner 12 months ago

or maybe she did mean it mean, I have no idea. I do know I don’t donate hard to prepare or fancy food to food banks just because I would hate for someone to get something they don’t have the skills or cooking tools to prepare. You have to keep in mind often lower income people can’t afford woks or lots of cooking utensils and pans and pots etc. They might be working with limited means. So I donate easy to prepare stuff. I can’t cook with a flip either so I would be in that same position.

Christine Warner 12 months ago

I’m also one of “those people” but the application process is closed at the moment so I pray that I’m able to get in once they open it back up. You see just a few months ago I received a call that my daughter hadn’t picked up my 18 month old granddaughter from the babysitters. Well she ended up showing up at my house, battered and bruised, and hysterical. She was abused by her boyfriend. She was at the time 9 months pregnant. He strangled her and assaulted her terribly. I had NO idea she was being abused throughout her pregnancy. Well he was charged, arrested and she has a restraining order. In the meantime he and his family took ALL of her belongings including all the children’s also. SO with a week before the baby was born we had to try and find help to get her and the babies clothes and other needed items. I don’t make much over minimum wage and have been a single mom for many years so I wasn’t able to assist financially but of course they are now living with me. The baby was born a healthy almost 8 pounds… well a few weeks ago he started having some problems and it was discovered he had some abnormalities with his heart. He had heart surgery a week and a half ago and has been in the hospital’s pediatric ICU for over three weeks now due to some complications. I stayed with my daughter at the hospital for almost 3 weeks and I am so far behind on my bills that I am scared. There isn’t any help either, the hospital social worker insisted we set up a donation page, so we did but I don’t have any family other than my girls so the help has been slow. So I am one of “those people” and would so very much like to have my family together at the table for Thanksgiving because I am SO VERY THANKFUL that they are all here and safe…. I pray it opens back up soon!!

April Sumner 12 months ago

eh she is technically right. A lot of lower income people lack cooking skills. There have been studies proving that. They mostly go for convienence food and that is also why there is an obesity problem associated with low income families. Heck I don’t know what to do with half of that stuff either and if my husband lost his job and we needed food bank food, I would not know what to do with that stuff either. I think you need to chill out. I doubt she meant it in a mean way but more of a practical way.

Soul 12 months ago

It…Hurts for me to go in to one of “those” places. I always feel so ashamed, because I know there are people who need it A LOT more than me and mine. But I have to swallow that pride. I can look right now and see a few days worth of meals in my cabinets. But that won’t last. And there are four adults and two children in this house. One who can eat grown-up food but still wears diapers, and then my own daughter, who doesn’t even get the concept of holding a bottle just yet. In a few days, I’m gonna have to suck it up and stand in line at the pantry, or the Salvation Army, just to try and feed us, because out of us four adults? One is working.

My husband just got fired from his $10/hr job with 36 and 48 hours a week…That hit hard. And there are so many bills, some we could live without, of course. But this month we have to skip on my car insurance. We have to skip on one of our phones, because this poor roommate of ours has a meager job. We may not be able to pay our stuck-in-a-two-year-contract DirecTV bill. We had to skip paying storage. And now, I HAVE to find the time to go clear it out before the owner of the facility takes all of our things. It stings, being in this predicament. But I have to grin and bear it while we look for work.

I’m GRATEFUL to have “those” places to turn to, even though I feel like there are people far more needing than me and mine…Any person who doesn’t understand that feeling, or look down on “those” people, can take their high horses and shove them up their arses, sans lube. :/

claire 12 months ago

4years ago, I was a head teacher. In a private school, 8yrs into a marriage with an abusive man with a well paid job. Within a year, I had a baby, my husband left, I discovered he had spent all of our savings, then lost my job because I started speaking out about what he had done to me and our daughter. For safety reasons, we also had to leave our home. Every day, I am aware that it is only by the grace of God, the generosity of family and friends, and an excellent welfare system that allows me to take physical care of my daughter. Life turns around quickly. The lady with the folder could very well be mere weeks away from being one of “those people”

Jaggi 12 months ago

Woooooow. Really?

To get personal: my father was very abusive to my mother because of his mental health issues we later learned. I’m sure if she had the choice and wasn’t constantly living in fear, she probably wouldn’t have chose to have as many children as she did. By your name I’ll assume you’re male and by your comment, I’ll assume the thought of some women not having any control over what happens to them has crossed your mind. When my mom was finally able to leave my father with the help of his mother, she had no job and no skills and no place to live with the five of us. We moved in with my grandmother until she passed away. I’m the oldest – I knew and understood what my mother had to go through. She worked a full time job as a house keeper and went to school full time. I gladly took on a lot of the responsibilities for my siblings. She worked hard to not let us see how dire our situation was. She made too much money to be eligable for food stamps or for us to have free lunch.

It’s a lovely thought to map out your life and if you’re fortunate, be able to stick to it and never have a problem. But the reality is life is unpredictable. A good situation can turn bad in the blink of an eye just like a bad situation can become good

Karen Duff 12 months ago

Ignorant sums up “that person”. I don’t know if food banks were available maybe 40 years ago but I remember my dad, god bless him, “taking without paying” tins of food to feed me and my brother. No one knows what each person is having to go through. Don’t judge what you haven’t experienced xxxxx

Lily Carter 12 months ago

I am one of “those people”… a single Mom with a 4 month old. I work, I go to school, I breastfeed my daughter, and I cringe when I hear people talk about people like me. On public assistance, trying to do what needs done to get off it, and still falling short on groceries. I didn’t ask for my situation, but I won’t listen to that kind of prejudice.

I’m grateful for the help I get from family and friends, and the food banks. Yeah, I’m a bit embarrassed, but I can’t afford to not go. Even a nursing mom has to eat to keep making milk! And I didn’t know what quinoa was until this thread, but I can Read!

Those people…. /sigh

Bethany 12 months ago

I am one of THOSE people. I remember a few times, my mom having to go to Food Share. It was humbling. As a mother myself, we have had to use WIC and Church Food Assistance through our church. It’s hard being one of THOSE people. But, I am humbled, grateful, appreciative, blessed. I will lower my pride to keep my children from starving.

Rachel Phillips 12 months ago

Very moving article. X

Beverley Anderson Romer 12 months ago

Good to hear the real side of needing help.

Michelle Smith-Pimentel 12 months ago


Stephanie Dixson Adams 12 months ago

The best way to give is anonymously because it ensures you’re giving for the right reasons, and give what you might want to receive.

Mande Sumner 12 months ago

Thank you for this! I’ve never been one of “those people,” but da*n if I haven’t been close. Going from $150k a year to losing quite literally everything and making $35k almost sent us to the food shelf. Because of that, and because I’ve learned to coupon, the food shelf near us (and those who use it) get not only a load of staples, but lots of “fancy” food too. I donate gluten free, nut free, dairy free and even low fat and high fiber because you NEVER know the dietary restrictions of people that make use of the food shelves. Shame on anyone who thinks that way about people who are in a time of need. Makes me wonder if maybe SHE wouldn’t know what to do with quinoa!

Christina Merrell 12 months ago

I did and thanks for the repeat!!!

Jaggi 12 months ago

I was “one of those” kids. My single mother of five made too much money at her housekeeping job to get assistance like food stamps so it was a mega struggle to keep everyone fed at least once a day. I am the oldest so i went to the food bank with her often. I stopped eating lunch because i thought it would help. We weren’t eligable for free lunch at school so my mom had to scrape up lunch money for my siblings and i so i as one of those people are forever grateful of the kindness of the donations of strangers who thought pumpkin pie filling is not food

Amanda Martine Gates 12 months ago

These kinds of stories make you thankful for what you have and want to help others even more, even if you don’t have a lot.

Jenna Slye 12 months ago

Because I am who I am, I would have said, “actually, I AM.”

Sarah O’Connor Raley 12 months ago

So those people don’t deserve better than canned soup and canned tuna? So basically she’s saying ‘poor’ people only know crappy instant food. Isn’t there a huge issue with getting healthy food to those in need? What a privileged thing to say!!

Claudia Sinnott 12 months ago

Thank you. It brought tears to my eyes because I was the “those people” at one point

Abigail Christ 12 months ago


Donna Wicker 12 months ago

How sad that people can be so narrow minded.

Vanessa Hahn 12 months ago

Yikes, what a naive woman.

Lisa Ann Heintz-Hajdu 12 months ago

…bless us oh Lord & these thy gifts which we are about to receive. ..amen!

Tosha Gray 12 months ago

I’ve been one of “those” people… I grew up being one of those people. I remember the basket of food and donated toys I got as a little girl for Christmas. I remember kraft dinner every other day and half cups of milk with one meal the rest of the time it was water. During my teen years when I left home I ate at soup kitchens and the only food in my room was from a food bank. I pray every day that my husband and I will be able to alway provide for our girls. I know the shame of going to school with donated food

Michele 12 months ago

I am one of “Those people,” too using our local food pantry for quite a while over a number of years. I finally had to bite the bullet a year and a half ago and was the recipient of food stamps for a year’s time. Thankfully things have improved. I remember going into the local grocery store with a voucher from the local Dept. of Social Services for a $50 gift card that was being held at the store for me. As I waited (in a state of complete embarrassment) for the cashier’s assistant to retrieve it from the Customer Service Desk, the lovely teenage/early 20 yr old cashier asked me what I did to get the gift card, did I donate to DSS or something? She thought I must have donated, so I got a gift for that. I was so taken aback and kindly just told her that I didn’t think it was any of her business. I felt bad for saying it, but I was mortified. You see, I guess I don’t “look” like “those people.” Whatever “those people” are supposed to look like. The face of hungry people has changed. I own my own home (well, the bank has my mortgage), I have a job, 4 children and a husband. I have a car payment and 4 animals who remind me everyday that I’m loved. Thank you for writing this piece. You hit the nail right on the head!

Maria Angel Bedell-Face 12 months ago

Quinoa = keen wa

Buffi Robinson 12 months ago

When we buy for a food drive, I buy good food. If I won’t feed it to my family, I sure as hell am not going to expect someone else to feed it to theirs. I am lucky to not be one of “those people” (for now), but that doesn’t mean I know what to do with quinoa. I barely know how to pronounce it!

jaq 12 months ago

I’ve never had to be one of “those people” but I know how incredibly lucky I am. I’m lucky that my dad had a good job, that my parents let me live at home during college, that they insisted I finish my eduacation, that they let me live at home again in the job-searching months after graduation, and that I now have a job that allows me to live quite comfortably. I’m incredibly blessed and lucky. The difference between me and “those people” is basically the parents I have, and that is hardly something I can take credit for.
Here’s the thing- do “those peope” NEED quinoa or organic produce? No, of course not. But neither do I! I still like it, and it’s good for me, the same is true for everyone, whether the quinoa is a gift or you’re buying it for yourself.
If someone feels like buying expensive food for charity that’s their business, and it’s a kind thing to do. Suggesting that “those people” won’t know what to do with it is like saying “I bought my mom flowers for her birthday. Too bad she won’t know what to do with them because she didn’t buy them herself.” The food on those shelves was a gift, no different from any other except you might not know the giver.

Aimee Hempy-De La Cruz 12 months ago

I’m one of Those People. I’ve gone to food banks quite a few times. I barely ate the first 4 years of my son’s life and weighed 90 pounds because I was single and everything went to him – I only ate what was left over from his plate. So grateful for Food Banks and Pantries and food drives. Even now years later I still skip meals. I’m so used to not eating from the early years- it hasn’t gone away yet. My son is 12 and eats triple what i do.

Màrcia Eddy 12 months ago

Creep. BTD myself.

Krystal Patterson 12 months ago

Psssst….I don’t know what to do with quinoa.

Stephanie Brownawell Holzman 12 months ago

Wonderful post, good read…

MyLove M. Barnett 12 months ago

From one mom of a house full of teenagers to another, I can answer that question “What the hell am I supposed to do with a box of plain lasagna noodles?” — Nothing, until you get at least 2 more boxes to go with it, and can save up enough money to pay for the whole back end of a cow, for the ground beef to go in the lasagna, and then rob Fort Knox to pay for the cheese! And that’s if you don’t plan to have anything else with it. Like corn, garlic bread, and salad (which is how my grandma always did it.) We LOVE lasagna, but to make enough to feed it to our brood costs about 3x more than what it would cost to just get a bag of burgers from a drive through. We’d just stick all that stuff in the cabinet until we had enough to do something with. I think I still have a little bag of dried pinto beans from 2009.

Jeanie Prichard 12 months ago

As a former social worker, I totally agree with everything. But I also just read another article laminating the stuff people donate to food pantries, because she has a hard time finding stuff her children will eat. She was thankful but wanted “normal” foodstuff to feed her kids. We need to look at both sides.

Monica Sell Ramos 12 months ago

Great article, eye opener.

Letitia Tappa 12 months ago

“Those people”? I thought we were past that school of thought, but i guess not.

Crystal 12 months ago

This is perfect. I’m not one of “those people” meaning I wasn’t able to swallow my pride or found a way in the final moment to not have to so far but it doesn’t mean the moment won’t come and since my son comes first eventually my pride will come after. Not to say I haven’t had to in other areas just not this one.
If I was you I would be proud for not smacking the woman or screaming at her though, I’m not sure I could have restrained myself. I work at a group home and there we are “those people” and that ignorant woman would be shocked with the how much they not only appreciate every meal they have but also how eclectic their pallets are. I’m still amazed that someone would think because they go to a food bank they would not know a variety of foods when often going requires you to become a little more creative outside of the mac-n-cheese epidemic which isn’t only at the banks.

Jenny Ball Tufford 12 months ago

Thank you all so much for your kind words, your tears, and for sharing your stories. When this post ran on Scary Mommy last year, I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support and camaraderie. Life can change in a heartbeat, and it can change so slowly you don’t even notice it. For all of you who are “those people” right now, I send you love and hugs and infinite hope for things to get better. For all of you who have helped, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of the people you’ve touched. And for those of you who want to help, but are just barely feeding your own families? Keep on rocking it, mamas (and papas). Your time will come. As for me, and my kids? Two are in college now, two are still at home. I was laid off in August but thanks to an angel disguised as a principal I am working about 4 different jobs and was able to hang on to my insurance and also continue doing what I love, working with kids.

Thanks again for your warm response to this post. It was hard to write, but so, so worth it. Endless thanks to you, Scary Mommy, for running it. I <3 you.

AND DON'T FORGET: If you can, PLEASE donate to the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project!!! http://www.scarymommy.com/the-2014-thanksgiving-project/

Kathy Phillips Morus 12 months ago

I headed up a spring cleaning drive where I taught. Asked for donations of any sort of cleaning products (personal or household) and paper products. The local pantry was thrilled.

MyLove M. Barnett 12 months ago

I’m sure if recipients receive items that they have no use for, or can’t figure out how or what to do with it, then they are perfectly capable of either finding out, or re-sourcing it to other people they know who might have use for it. Your question is not completely invalid, but think about the bigger picture of what you’re saying. Your home health aids don’t read English. Okay. That doesn’t make them ignorant or unable to ask somebody in Korean “HEY, what the hell is this stuff, and how do I cook it?”

Kathy Phillips Morus 12 months ago

My dad lost his job when I was little. ..almost 55 years ago. No unemployment as the company went out if business. All that we could get as “free food” was peanut butter, cheese, some canned meat stuff and powdered milk. Occasionally there were a few extra things but no veggies or fruit. It was embarrassing to go pick it up. We took our wagon as it was too heavy to carry so everyone in the neighborhood knew. Thank God things have improved a bit.

Jennifer 12 months ago

I am one of “those people” I used to be so embarrassed about having to go to a food bank just so we could feed our two kids. My husband works full time and there is no childcare that is affordable for my 6 and 4 year olds so we will continue to be “those people” I have met some of the most humble and wonderful people through the food bank. And I can not even begin to express how awful it is to hear other moms at my kids school talk about spending money on this and that and here we are, barely able to keep our lights on and food on the table. I wish people would think before they assume that all people that get assistance are lazy or looking for a hand out. I would much rather be living in a two income household. I just got an email today telling me that my family had been approved for the thanksgiving project and I can not even begin to express how much that means to me and my family. I’m am so thankful for people that donate to others in need, I used to be the one that would donate to others, and now I’m needing the help. It’s a hard adjustment. So please think before you speak you don’t always know what others are going through.

Maria Angel Bedell-Face 12 months ago

When i read this last year i cried, i’ve experienced that position, more than once. I AM one of “those people” i however seem completely unable to keep my mouth shut, and have told a few people off because of it. I never asked to become disabled.

Miranda Kelso 12 months ago

I’m one of those people. I have been for 5 years. There have been times where I’ve gone several days without eating so my son can have the last of the food. You gotta do what you gotta do for your family. There’s no shame in being a survivor.

Amanda Knudsen 12 months ago

I second that! I am a getter right now, and have given in the past by heading up the food drive at my work. I dont have food to give, so i find kids clothes that my kids outgrow and give that instead!

Katie Schmidt McMurry 12 months ago

we’re there. just had our food stamps cancelled because they upgraded the computer system and it deleted us (and others) for no good reason. so i have to re-apply all over again, just like i did a few months ago. which takes a few weeks to process and suddenly your whole precarious budget topples because you need to scrape together the couple hundred dollars you need to feed your family for the next 4-5 weeks. sure, we eat ok. not like we used to but we have only gotten really empty on a few occasions. instead we are up to our ears in credit card debt making up the difference. it just sucks all around.

Sue King 12 months ago

A call out to cottagers…. At our cottage..leaving all the stuff in the pantry at the local shelter..nothing anywhere near expiration. Lots of soups..ya, it was summer..why did I bring soup? When I get home I am calling the shelter there to see what they might be short of.. I have no problem in buying a cart or two full of tp and paper towels, dish soap, macaroni..whatever they need the most… I give at the holidays..but bet the shelves are pretty empty now..just before…….

Kristina Lind 12 months ago

“Those people”, I am blessed to have so much support from my family but being a single mom with two little ones it has come close. I think one of the most amazing stories about “those people” is Sandra Lee (she’s on the Food Network) she was one of “those people” in the saddest of ways and her whole show is dedicated to making gourmet food with not-so-gourmet items. She’s a self proclaimed chef and she taught her self and her siblings, being in a tough financial situation does not make you any less deserving of GOOD food. This article really struck a chord and I will definitely be buying extra GOOD food to donate. The thought of a child going to bed hungry breaks my friggin heart!

Erin Brewster 12 months ago

I see all these posts on Facebook of people food shaming. Whether it be a food pantry or food stamps. I can honestly say it’s never occurred to me to look at people’s food and see how they are paying for it (maybe if they are taking a long time and annoying me, but I’m from NJ :-P) I’m so sorry to see that this happens and as frequently as it appears to. People need help sometimes, there’s no need to judge or assume things. I think it’s a real shame it happens. people need to keep their opinions to themselves, or better yet not have one in the first place.

Leilani Amparano 12 months ago

I have been in your exact shoes Stacia, and if it wasn’t for some miracle blessings all happening at the same time, I may have still been there.
I hope you and your family have an easier go of things very soon.

Courtney Cornell 12 months ago

If not for my husband’s overtime we wouldn’t have the money for groceries. Everyone needs help sometimes.

Barbara Colacci 12 months ago

If you know of a needy family, my preschool has a food drive every year and we donate to the Sun Youth organization in Montreal. We can give a portion to a needy family! Contact me in private message !

Pearl Leopando 12 months ago

Pretentious bitch, indeed.

Amanda Wingo 12 months ago

Our family was in the same predicament for a very long time, (and most of my childhood as well) it slowly started getting better about a year and a half ago and we are gratefully doing fine now. Which is why I always donate food, clothes, school supplies, you name it. I hope things get better for each and every one of you that are struggling.

Alison Akins Franzen 12 months ago

May be the woman didn’t know. I would’ve told her. And really, a lot of people don’t know what quinoa is. Big deal.

Marilyn Irene Romanick 12 months ago

This is for “Pat” , you are truly awesome, read your story and I am quite inspired by your struggles. I do hope some one out there helps you as you have helped others in your time of need. God bless.

Maureen Falzone 12 months ago

Kinda sad that I can imagine one person, in particular, doing exactly this at work

Nicole Marie 12 months ago

Good for you Melissa for believing in yourself enough and sticking to that decision,I’m sure it wasn’t easy. May your future hold nothing but happiness

Toni Norville Meaderis 12 months ago

I was one of “Those People” and damn proud of it.
I’m not lazy then or now.
I needed help then I give help now.
I was in school working towards my RN then.
I worked for 16 years until I retired for health reasons.
The friends I made then you know “Those People”
are still my friends now.

It just ruffle my feathers when I hear comments like that. Sometimes I let it go but more often than not I don’t. I just have to explain that most of “Those People” would rather stand on their two feet, pay their own way, proudly walk into a grocery store and pay cash for the groceries they want. But instead, for whatever reason loss of job, divorce, death or whatever, help is needed.
Don’t talk about the toothpick in my eye while you have a telephonepole in yours. Tomorrow you just might be one of “Those People”

Autumn 12 months ago

I am one of “those people”. But you know what? I am educated. I know how to prepare quinoa. I am NOT an idiot because I am poor. I had a series of unfortunate events that do NOT define me. I am working my ass off to improve my situation and claw myself out of this pit, but I’m not a miracle worker. Just a mom trying to survive

Dawn Kitchen 12 months ago

This is the first article on Scary Mommy that has actually made me cry. THANK YOU to the author for putting this out for everyone to see the plight of alot of our country’s families. I have been very close to being one of “those people” but have been very fortunate and managed not to be although barely. If it weren’t for relatives is all I can say. I have a best friend who has had to go a few times and the embarrassment she suffers when she gets food for her children just breaks my heart. She is a single mom who’s loving husband decided to abandon her with their 6 children. Yeah great guy….NOT! I just wish there wasn’t such a stigma attached to using a food pantry when you are out of options. My heart truly goes out to ANY PEOPLE who feel embarrassed by providing for the their children no matter where they have to go to get the food. That is what parenting is all about putting your child’s needs before your own pride and I applaud EVERYONE who does that. :)

Bobbie Diedrichsen 12 months ago

Juliana Cooke you are the lady holding the manila folders, I actually pity your ignorance. Go back and re-read the article.

Wendy Barnes 12 months ago

Thank you. I too was one of ” those people” at a certain time in my life. I had forgotten what it felt like.

Tonia 12 months ago

I have no idea what to do with quinoa either I had to look it up online on how to cook it, I am fortunately not one of “those people”, and don’t know how to cook many different things sadly lol.

Lisa Webb-Corley 12 months ago

I was one of “those people” last year. Now, I’m digging out. Not everyone is as lucky as I have been.

Kate 12 months ago

So true. There are people in this world who would do well to remember that everyone is really only ‘a series of unfortunate events’ from disaster. Be grateful, give back, do not judge.

Kelley Dagner Martinez 12 months ago

What if everyone who was ever a “them” couldn’t hide it or deny it? Then what? I think a lot of people out there would just put their heads down and keep their mouths SHUT.

Tanya O’Grady 12 months ago

I’ll be there soon enough! I hate that mentally that thinks it’s okay to put someone down due to their economic and current situation! Class- ism at its finest! I’ve been a social worker for 7 years but health and stress made me leave – now I am struggling! I have chronic foot in mouth disease so I would have said something… Not politically correct I’m sure – but it’s a form of bullying, we’re better than they are! One should never feel belittled by those who have smaller minds! And we all should when we can, call people out – most don’t even realize how what they said would effect someone else!

Sarah Sousa Stevens 12 months ago

So true….most people don’t realize that most everyone has chance of becoming “those people.” I was “those people.” Now I have a master’s, a good job, and I can take care of my family. I wish that everyone could see that we’re all one long term sickness or one lay off from being “those people.” I hate this mentality so much!

Julie 12 months ago

I am one of “those” people today. After years of donating to causes, ringing the Salvation Army bell, faithfully giving, etc., I am now struggling to keep a roof over our heads. I will spare you the sorry ex story because it’s the same ole, same ole. So I am now a single mother of 3 who works for just above minimum wage. Last night, my boys didn’t have dinner. Today, I went to the food bank. Same scenario- pink cheeks, head down, trying so hard not to cry, not making eye contact with anyone. The people at the center were great! Helped me load my car, gave me a tissue to wipe my tears, and encouraging words. Tonight, my boys ate. They are going to bed with full bellies are because of the kindness of strangers. For that, I am eternally grateful! When my situation improves, I will go even further out of my way to pay it forward. Thank you for sharing your story.

Deleana Coyle-Ray 12 months ago


Melissa Munkers 12 months ago

So much of the stuff at food pantries is expired. And then there is the 20 lb bag of potatoes that if you don’t use in 3 days they start to rot, not grow eyes, ROT. I have a family member that goes sometimes but each pantry has a once a month limit, they give enough food for a week maybe and half of its expired. I don’t think people realize how bad it is. I see so many condemning food stamps and saying if you need help go to a food pantry, well, I hate to tell you but it isn’t that easy and at least with food stamps you can get unexpired food that will last you more than a few days. Of course, the majority of the people going to food pantries don’t qualify for food stamps, so there’s that. I was raised by a broke, single mom. I know how this stuff goes and it’s not fun.

Jill Yeatts 12 months ago

I guess some people think “those people” are too stupid to read. Cooking instructions are on the box, and if not…well, I don’t know many people that don’t know how to use google. That woman just proved her ignorance by making narrow minded assumptions. Believe me, poor folks can make a meal out of ANYTHING. And yes, I speak from experience. I’ve become a VERY creative cook over the years.

Cindy Schoop O’Brien 12 months ago


Nicole Dunn 12 months ago

I am a nurse. I work 2 jobs. I raise my 3 teenagers without any financial help from their pos dad. When my oldest daughter’s boyfriend lost his job and they lost their apartment in May, they moved in with their 3 month old. When my boyfriend almost died and spent 2 weeks in the hospital this summer, we lost our second income. We were lucky enough to be awarded weekends with my other grandson… I am supporting 8+ ppl. We have been to the food pantry twice. Once we got lasagna noodles, a bag of dried cherries, one pack of ramen, a jar of peanut butter, and a bag of rice.
I’m feeding us on less than $100/wk. No one is hungry, although they may not be eating what they would like. We drink water. We don’t eat out. I eat ramen for lunch at work. What the hell am I supposed to do with a box of plain lasagna noodles?

Elizabeth Lopez 12 months ago

I am in the company of those who would feel the need to educate “that person” on who “those people” really are. While it is great that she has never had the need to utilize a different type of resource, it also doesn’t give her room to judge. Unfortunately she still doesn’t know and won’t until someone shares the real truth with her. People are people and more often than not we all need help with something. Lord knows I could use some money to help make life a tad bit easier however I have the hand I was dealt and we make the best of it!

Helen Russo 12 months ago

I cringed the first time I read that and again this time.

Anne S. Laub 12 months ago

I have been on both sides. The giving and the getting. I like the giving side better because it means I have some extra. Sometimes I don’t. That is the way it is. I appreciate both. I am human and sometimes I need help and sometimes I can give it. So, who are Those People? We are. The givers and the getters.

Haley MacDonald 12 months ago

One crippling back surgery, surprise twin pregnancy and my finances sudden lay off and My family became “those people”. We are still struggling even with my man’s THREE jobs. I am forever grateful for the food there is to not only cook but be able to eat as well. Many moms judge and I don’t pity them for thier ignorance nor do I resent thier sometimes very cruel words. I pray that they don’t have to find out how humbling it is to be on the “other” side. I pray that they can have there eyes opened in some way other than heart wrenching desperation for necessities. I pray that they, if in the of chance become one of “those people” will be able to find a food pantry That has helped us get through these tough times.

Elizabeth Grace Frostick 12 months ago

My husband left, and I had nothing. I work a minimum wage job, now I have two. And I’m back in school full-time. And i am one of those people. And Juliana Cook, yes those people do know how to cook some of that food.

Angie James 12 months ago

Those people……I am one of those people, this week it was either buy groceries or pay the electric bill. The electric bill won. We went to our local food pantry this morning. My kids will always come before my pride. Last year we helped to volunteer at the food pantry, this year we have been there 4 times. It sucks and it’s hard but to be thankful just to feed my kids is a great feeling.

Melanie Lane 12 months ago

Do onto others, as you would have done to you– simple and true

Amy Ramirez 12 months ago

I am one of “those” people and have been since I lost my job my hubby and I do everything we can to provide for our 3 kids. And it’s hard to have to ask for help no matter what and for someone to degrade a person for a situation they have no idea about or understand shouldn’t be a person working in a school. But I would donate when we were able and no matter helping others will always be returned and usually when it’s needed most.

Sheri Sprau 12 months ago

I thought it was hard when I lost my job due to lack of funding (I’m a school teacher). I had to get unemployment for 3 months & that was humbling enough. We always donate. We have 2 kids & my husband works & fortunately I do too. I can’t stands self-righteous people like this. The author has a lot if restraint b/c I would have gone off & it would have felt good! Sry

Tiffany 12 months ago

It’s because of one of those people I was too proud to go to the pantry. Which lead to losing my shit on my teenage daughter over what she was going to eat at school for lunch. I made my baby girl deal with the grown up problem of not having enough food for her lunch on her own because I was afraid to be one of those people. It will never happen again. I would much rather be one of those people than one of those narrow minded people.

T Evonne Jones 12 months ago

Check out this cookbook! It’s designed for individuals who get WIC/ Food Stamps. I’m betting the food from the food pantries would help with some of these recipes.


People need to get over themselves. Life happens to everyone. For some, the hit is harder than others. EVERYONE needs help some time. I’m just grateful to be in a place to be able to share and give.

Linda Outland Petersen 12 months ago

I’m on the verge of being one of those people. I haven’t gotten up the courage to go into our local food pantry yet. But with 4 kids to feed and 2 months late on my mortgage and holidays fast approaching, I’m going to have to swallow my pride and walk in. Thanks for the great blog.

Jennifer Kehoe Whyte 12 months ago

People can be so ignorant sometimes.

sylvia 12 months ago

trust me i understand i have been there more than once.

Chrystal Bingham 12 months ago

Being one of “those people” was how my mother managed to provide for 4 children on her own after her deadbeat husband checked out. She worked 3 jobs and I worked to help make ends meet as well (from age 14 onward) and we still barely had enough to keep the lights on and basic bills paid. Groceries came from food pantries or church charities, it’s just the way it had to be. “Those people” sigh, I hope to God that my children have more respect than that ignorant woman showed for those in need of help.

Beth 12 months ago

As I’m writing this, I have tears in my eyes.
I was, and could very easily again be one of “those people”.
You summed it up so perfectly and eloquently that I can add very little.
I hope that that pretentious bitch, or another person like her reads this and gets the virtual slap in the face that they sorely need.
I wish there was no need for food banks, or shelters, or soup kitchens – but there is and thank god. People who have never been hungry rarely appreciate the blessings that they have in their homes.
Thank you for writing this.

sylvia 12 months ago

we have two systems here like the pantry. one is run by lifeline/st vincent etc. you ring up explain your situation and they ask address, name and whether or not you need nappies and formula. they come by in an unmarked car with a box of basics -flour, eggs, a few cartons of UHT milk, coffee sugar, pasta etc. they stay and have a chat for a bit. neighbours just think you have a visitor who brought presents or hand-me-downs for the kids/family.
i know, i’ve used it a couple of times, one time a lady brought a cook book she had made up with basic, filling recipes. she had tagged the ones i could make with the ingredients they had brought. she had even made handwritten notes of what i could substitute, what i could leave out, what i could add for more flavour etc. you could tell she put some effort in.

we also have a food pantry, though they call it “the food war” its relatively new. the ladies are wonderful. they occasionally give my son a stuffed toy or something to play with and keep. they never look down on you, never pry. they just ask for your assistance number and name, that is it. after you’ve given that they talk to you and joke with you play peek a boo with the kids etc. make you feel a bit like you are shopping at friends store.

Juliana Cooke 12 months ago

This fancy food is well and good, but do the recipients know how to use it, or what it’s used for?

Blogging Midlife 12 months ago

I’ve shared on my blog page and have updated my cover page. So grateful to be part of this community.

Leslie DeSabato 12 months ago

I am one of “those people”. My ex left in March of 2012. The boys are 8 & 6. I’m making it on my own with no help and minimal support (from my mom). The food bank and food stamps keeps me able to pay my mortgage and keep our house. Until you have walked a mile in my shoes…

Bonny Bonfire Rayward 12 months ago

I am one of those people. My kids eat though. So f@ck her and her self righteous attitude.

Amber Nicole 12 months ago

I realized how many things I take for granted. Thank you…

Aimee Liz 12 months ago

I’m a single mother of 2 boys. I lost my job n only means of support a fee months ago. Im not lazy i.looked for jobs n it’s a difficult job field. I relied on things like that too..u do what u can to survive. I’ve found a job now n even working it’s still a struggle. Ppl shouldn’t judge until they can step into someone else’s shoes n feel that fear of “omg what am I gonna do?”

Angie Shoemaker 12 months ago

Luckily not in that position now, but was when I was a kid. But back then they did not have these places to go for food where I lived.

Amy Shelden 12 months ago

I am one of Those People…have been for years and it seems like we will be one of Those People for quite some time.

a.m. 12 months ago

I’m one of those….no one knows…We need help now and i can’t seem to find the right time or the right people to ask for help! My vehicle broke down, my bank acct is negative and we both work and are still struggling! I know it won’t always be this way but its nice to hear that some understand! Thanks for sharing!

Charlene Dargon 12 months ago

What a great story. Most Americans are only a paycheck or two from needing this kind of help! It’s not them and us, it’s all of us in this ( life’s hardships) together.

Lisa Turnblom Cowley 12 months ago

I hate to think of those in need having only a limited variety of unhealthy selections. I try to be thoughtful of those on alternative diets like myself and provide something healthy or at least interesting- ie: case of organic shelf stable coconut milk, almond butter, interesting snacks that are somewhat healthy. I don’t believe in poisoning myself with too much junk food. If I’m “giving,” I should be considerate and generous.

John H 12 months ago

I understand your point, and yes, it is a valid one to an extent. But,i think I might have sensed a bit too much defensiveness there. There are many people who would not have a clue what to do with some of the items you’ve mentioned. Some, not all, have been with kids, poor, and just trying to make it for most of their lives, and though they may have perfected ten different recipes which are variations on a theme of mac and cheese would have no idea what the heck to do with Roquefort, or brie, or any of a thousand different things that frankly are more about style than quantity. When you have a brood and little money coming in you really don’t care to serve six saltines with arugula and a slight smear of mascarpone on it and then send the little ones to bed hungry. When you have a limited income, then what “those people” are going to do is get the largest quantity for the least amount of money. It is called survival. And, “those people” have done that for most of their lives in quite a few instances. They do not hold to the Gwyneth Paltrow form of meal planning where each individuals’ dinner runs 50-100 dollars in food costs. They understand that there is only “x” amount of dollars on a given month for a food budget; they understand that leg quarters (caged up, force fed chicken leg quarters, not lovingly raised, free range, organic or any other foo foo term of the day) may in fact help them to have at least some form of protein on the table come dinner time. They may have to do this for years. They may not even remotely care whther something is gluten free, or hydroponically, organically grown when that means that for the cost of one “healthy” meal a weeks worth of food budget is shot. “Those people” would not know what to do with “artichoke hearts packed in seasoned oil, gluten-free crackers, olive tapenade….and quinoa”. They of course would be grateful and do what they could with it, but they would not know what to do with it. That is not meant in a derogatory sense towards “those people”, not at all. hey are doing all they can to survive. The lady that passed you in the hallway was quite correct for about half the people.

Shannon Adler 12 months ago

“Those people” deserve to eat healthy and nutritious food just as much as the next person. Who cares if you don’t know how to cook it. There are instructions :)

Dana Schultz 12 months ago

We have been there when my hubs was laid off and I was a SAHM….it tooks months for me to find a job where I didn’t even make 1/2 of what he did and even longer for him to find a job! For a family of 5 that was already living pay check to pay check, it was a new experience and I now contribute as much as I can to that area food banks and to causes that benefit them!!!

Holly Martinenza 12 months ago

So sick of the poor shaming that goes on in this country. Yes, some people take advantage, there are some in every type of bunch, but there are more people who truly, honest to God need it and they shouldn’t be made to feel worse than they already do. Judgemental people like that really need a dose of humility.

Linda Ode 12 months ago

Wonderful article. I’ve been there. It can happen to anyone. There is no “those”. We’re all people.

Jeannine Reilly 12 months ago

I loved this!! So well written!!

Lucy Pearce Hughes 12 months ago

What an amazing article on so many levels.

Kimberley Smith 12 months ago

I suddenly feel incredibly grateful for my pantry contents.
Great article!!!

Amy 12 months ago

I’m so glad I’m a nurse and I bought long and short term disability insurance.

Angel Marie 12 months ago

Always do what you can for others when you have the chance. You never know when you may be experiencing the exact same thing.

Elizabeth Zimmerman McKinney 12 months ago

I was one of “those people” in 1992, and again briefly in 2000. I know how it feels.

Hannah Rose Clay 12 months ago

This only motivates me to do my clothes and blankets drive. I’m one of those people, but I’m still more blessed than others.

Heather Williams 12 months ago


Sonya White Hoffman 12 months ago

Great reminder for anytime of the year. Holiday foods drives have already begun, get out there and give! Stay strong “those people”.

Barbara Mastroddi-Lackey 12 months ago

I make it a point to always donate to food pantries because I have my nightmares that I, too, may be one of “those people.” It’s become more commonplace in suburbia than you’d realize. Although I do have to vent about someone I know whose family is getting assistance via SNAP and food bank donations, yet they are the biggest wasters of food that I know (this same family somehow manages to dine out a lot — apparently a relative spots them money –, and throws out a lot of good food they cook during the week). It pisses me off to no end because someone else who is truly needing those food bank donations and SNAP subsidies (and would NOT waste it) isn’t getting it.

Keri LaPine 12 months ago

Could barely read through my tears by the time I got to the end. I’ve been there. Gone days without eating because I didn’t dare take a single piece of what little I had for the kids. We are in a much better place now, but you never ever forget.

Melissa Raffaeli 12 months ago

I read this last year and it made me cry and I read it again today and again it made me cry. I am one of “those people” I have been for the past year because I finally gathered the guts to kick out an abusive husband about this time last year. This article is very emotional for me….

Sara Gremlin 12 months ago

This is one of the best articles I have read discussing how to treat others. Less judgement, more support. Thank you for sharing this again.

Nicole Bonomonte-Snyder 12 months ago

Amen to this. I volunteer at my local pantry, this was amazing!

Marie Plueger 12 months ago

I was one of ‘those people’ for about six months after my husband lost his job right after we had out first daughter and I got laid off just before she v was born and unable to find work for 10 months. We no longer need the assistance, but there are tight times, but when I’m able to help my local food pantry out, I will. It was the difference between possibly not having enough for us to eat, and being full at night. I’m forever grateful!

Melissa Ryan-Brown 12 months ago

Well written. To those who judge on others in their lowest moment are ppl who aren’t worth the time of day. We all have struggles and I commend this mom for writing this piece.

Bernadette Anna Goodpasture 12 months ago

I feel so grateful to have never had to go to a food bank but alot of time it is a very fine line that we could need that help at any moment. I donate when I can and what I can and sometime I do donate the “fancier” food. That lady is assuming just because someone needs a helping hand that means they are not intelligent. Such a rude person.!

Sharon Shelton Hanson 12 months ago

Reading this brought tears to my eyes. I’ve always donated to our local food pantry, and now, due to illness, I’m unable to work, and find myself seeking help. With the impending holidays, I know that we aren’t going to be able to have the meals we used to, and I worry that we will have enough for everyday meals. And yet, I still feel bad that I’m not making the donations I used to.

Elizabeth Myers 12 months ago

Wow- people don’t know how quickly your life can change and how you have to put aside your pride to take care of your kids. Thanks for putting this out there!

Jess Spencer Ferguson 12 months ago

This was an amazingly written and so real to life, my life in particular, article! Thank you! It made me tear

Cortni 12 months ago

This made me cry. Im one of “those people”. My kids are “those people”.

Kirsten 12 months ago

I was one of “those people” on food “stamps” in the immediate aftermath of my divorce. I have a Master’s degree but I was a stay-at-home mom/substitute teacher at the time my world came crashing down. I’m not proud of it, but I did what I had to do to feed my children & got off them as quickly as possible. Some of us really do just need a hand up now & then. Thank you for sharing your story!

Sara Bechta 12 months ago

At first I was ready to be mad at the author for being so closed minded about peoples choices of donating food stuffs… then I read further in and I am in 100% agreement. Why are people who are barely able to feed their families, and need to humble themselves accepting help, shamed like they are. I think most of us have been there a time or 2 in this economy (I know I have)… and anytime there is a donation box around I try to buy and give as much as I can so somewhere a hungry person is eating tonight. I used to be one of “Those People” and will never be ashamed of it.

Tawney Beaver 12 months ago

I remember reading this last year, still makes an impact a year later…

Joi Grady 12 months ago

I am one of those people too. I have pulled into and out of that parking lot, tears of embarrassment streaming down my face. But my kids aren’t embarrassed. They’re grateful.

Terri JS Molitor 12 months ago

Pretty sure I have spent the majority of my 37 years on this planet as one of ‘those people’ and I will tell you. I never judge anyone who needs help and I never ever think twice about helping if I can. You never do know when you, too, could be one of ‘those people.’

Amanda Shaw-Laidlaw 12 months ago

Read this last year & it is very insightful & humbling. Thank you for resharing

Angela Welch Courteau 12 months ago

I am “those” people

Amy Bilicki 12 months ago

What a fantastic article! I’m sorry that you have to deal with people with such a complete lack of empathy. Some people will just never “get it”. Prayers for you and your family!

Melanie Moreno Baraby 12 months ago

That makes me want to cry. And immediately empty out my pantry and donate it.

Kendel Windsor Schinzel 12 months ago

I am 1 of those people!!!

Susan Scobie Hines 12 months ago

It helps to remember that food drives aren’t a pantry clean out opportunity for expired mustard. They are opportunities to feed families- real food, and maybe share some pet food or shampoo or sanitary napkins or other things that are negotiable when there is no money. Not a believer but the phrase that occurs to me when I see a food pantry or food drive is ‘there but for the grace of God go I”

Living with Less and Having More 12 months ago

shared :)

Victoria Bryce 12 months ago

Thank you for this

Courtney Shafer 12 months ago

Are you laying the groundwork for your fabulous Thanksgiving meals project? I was unable to donate last year, but I would SO LOVE to be a part of the project this year. How can I help?

Ambra McPeters 12 months ago

We had to go to food banks when i was pregnant with Genesis, and then after i lost my job due to being hospitalized during this pregnancy as well. Almost everyone finds themselves in this position at some point. There is no “those people.” Thanks for posting.

Wendy Jones Wheeler 12 months ago

I’m coordinating our office food drive. I pulled out a box of Stove Top stuffing that expired in February 2008. That’s not helpful.

Lesli Ross 12 months ago

It’s too bad that some people are so judgmental. Some of us need that since there is a deadbeat dad in the picture and all we can ever imagine is our children never going hungry, not eating so they can etc….I doubt I could have shown restraint, it’s this kind of turning a blind eye that has gotten us as a society into the pickle we’re in as far as courtesy and kindness go.

Stacia Reichelt 12 months ago

I’m one of “those people” right now. We make just enough to cover bills right now, and I make sure we have enough to cover dinner every day, but any other food just hasn’t been in the budget the last couple months. I’m running out of things in my house to sell (which is how we’ve covered those “extras” like groceries, gas, and diapers the last couple years when we’ve used up my husband’s yearly bonus). Everyone falls on hard times. Everyone needs help sometimes. Everyone.

Lillie Eudy 12 months ago

I hate quinoa and I’ve been blessed to not be one of “those people” my adult life. Why did that hooch volunteer if she didn’t think it was for people who weren’t “those”

Masiel Monnalisa 12 months ago

The only thing to say to her is “thank you. Now I know the type of individual you are.”

Crystal Andrews 12 months ago

How clueless and completely out of the real world people are. It’s such a shame.

Kriste Colley 12 months ago

Brought tears to my eyes! Thank you!

Robyn 12 months ago

Loved the essay. You never know when you will be one of “those people”. It is ignorant to think that everyone benefitting from a food bank is unaware of how to use quinoa, for example. A dear friend of mine found herself destitute during the time between when her husband left and a court order of financial support was put in action. We, her friends and church family, rallied around her and made sure they had food, gas, school supplies, etc.
Financial hardship can happen to almost anyone. When you can, help,
When you need help, it’s there.

Savannah de los Santos 12 months ago

Love this article!

Dayle 1 year ago

Can i just say, i think you handled this situation with SO much grace! My heart literally broke reading this, as i cannot fathom someone being so callous over such a subject, especially assuming that everyone lives their lives from a silver platter like she seems to. You are an inspiration to others by being that hero to your children, and making it work so they dont have to go to bed hungry. I know i am a complete stranger, but i am so proud of you, for putting aside yourself to better your children! They are so very lucky to have a mother who loves them as deeply as you so obviously do! dont ever let someone like her bring you down! your children are so blessed to have you as a mother!

Frances 1 year ago

Love this article. Thank you do much. I volunteer at a local food clothing bank

holly 1 year ago

If it wasn’t for the kindness of my parents and food stamps, I would have never survived the six months post graduation hunt for a job. McDonald’s wouldn’t even hire me because I was ovrrwuslified. My husband got laid off three months into thid, and we constantly stressed over feeding our kids. I will never forget this, and I will always give back whenever there is an opportunity to do so.

Jenny 1 year ago

While I have not visited the food shelf, I used to think in a similar way to that lady. My husband is self-employed. Up until this year, he has made good money. This past January his paychecks stopped. We have drained our savings, my kids are on medicaid. I cringe when someone asks for their medical ins. information, and then say ohm it’s medicaid out loud. I so understand the feeling when you drove by and couldn’t go in. I haven’t told anyone about our situation, other than family. My eyes have been opened to how quickly your situation can change, and how all of a sudden you become “one of those people”. The good that has come from it is, I no longer judge people. You truly never know when it could be you in that situation.

Destinee 1 year ago

We’ve utilized the food shelf more times than I care to count. I learned early on in this life as a single parent-my pride is nothing next to my children. That woman needs a good kick to the head. Pride goeth before a fall, lady. Hers will be a hard landing.

Evelyne 1 year ago

I am not currently one of those people. Great post!

Iranildo 1 year ago

I’m having a siaticc issue as well as bursitis but am managing to get my ribs close to the floor when attempting to flatten the wrists. the wrists won’t flatten fully. I do have a posture/stress issue being behind a pc all day and I try to be aware of posture but that falls by the wayside in intense situations. Just got a new pc chair at home which does help me to sit straight but being tired in the evening allows me to slide down in the-position again. I watched your crossed leg siaticc exercise that I can do at work and will be trying it several times a day to do a piriformis stretch .

April 1 year ago

I totally understand what Heather is getting at. I think the food banks are a great thing for people who need them. Obviously none of us here want children (or adults for that matter) to go hungry. . . . but I have personally known several people who get very generous amounts of food stamps sell those food stamps for drug money and then depend on the food banks to feed them and their children. I am embarrassed to even admit I know such deplorable people but I was naive enough to let one such person rent my basement apartment so I have seen this first hand.

Amy 1 year ago

Why do you take food stamps if your husband makes “good money”?

Amy 1 year ago

Another point of view from someone who has been one of “those” people and someone who works with “them” now: you are actually the minority. The majority wouldn’t know what quinoa was or what to do with it. It’s not being degrading to state that some people don’t eat like that. I’m college educated from a family of educators, but we ate very simple stuff that was only organic because we grew it. Trader Joe’s, brie, Annies mac, etc……not even in my vocabulary. But I don’t think it’s rude if someone pointed out that I wouldn’t know what to do with that stuff or care about it, because it’s true, I don’t.

genie 1 year ago

Did anyone else notice the frozen – refrigerated food in the boxes that are supposed to be for non perishable food?

soulburnz 1 year ago

I was and am one of “those people”. We need t-shirts :0)

I was homeless, many years ago. We were able to get food at food banks and it was a God send. I cannot stress enough what a few others have said… it is a huge relief to someone who absolutely has nothing to receive some toiletries: shampoo, soap, deodorant, toilet paper and especially tampons/pads. Food stamps don’t cover any of these things & it is very hard to get assistance from the county or govt. for non food items. It get’s very scary trying to figure out where you will find tampons or pads, when your period rolls around.

It is also difficult to get a job if you don’t have any of these items to get yourself cleaned up for an interview (if you even get that far – when they find out you don’t have an address – or your address is a shelter)

Thank you for this article Jenny !

James 1 year ago

Two things. As to the snarky response, “I like quinoa” was unsatisfying, and the all-caps thing was a bit over the top. Perhaps “You may be right. What do YOU do with it?” and find out she didn’t know and had to look at the package.

I pastor a church that has a food pantry. We do not require people to register or explain their poverty or justify there needs. We hand them an empty grocery bag or two and let them choose. I usually stand there with them and help bag the groceries. I make suggestions and point out things they might have missed. I often carry the bags to their vehicle.

By standing there, I see what people take and don’t take. Chicken noodle soup goes fast, but clam chowder lingers. A father would not take cans of pork and beans, and when I asked why, assuring him he did not have to take them, he said he associated pork and beans with the worst poverty, and just couldn’t admit that might be all he would have to feed his children. He knew pork and beans is a perfectly good food, but, emotionally, it was too painful to take it. That’s okay — and we talked for a while about his family and his circumstances.

I also noticed some people were taking only the cans with pull-tab lids. So I asked if they had a can opener, and they said no. We now offer can openers to anyone who needs one. I don’t go to their kitchen to verify.

Yes, we have regulars, and we don’t turn them away. I’d rather be scammed once in a while than turn away someone who is truly without food.

Even if all the kindness you can muster is saying nothing, being kind is not all that difficult.

LeeAnn Baxter 1 year ago

There was I time that I too had to use food stamps and food banks to feed my family after my husband left us and didn’t pay child support either. Although it was a humiliating experience, I also know what the woman meant by “those people”. It’s not the people who suddenly find themselves financially strapped due to losing a job, divorce, or whatever unforeseen circumstances changed their life for the worse. “Those people” are ones who are welfare lifers on purpose. The people who never even bother to try – like one of my former neighbors who never had a job, had always been on welfare, and had a 4 year old daughter (like me) when I met her. When her daughter was almost school age and welfare reform would require her to either get a job or get training for a job, she suddenly came up pregnant again, further extending her not being required to have / train for a job. By the way, she also wasn’t sure who the father of her new child was either and from observing the traffic in and out of her apartment, I was not surprised. This woman was one of “those people” and I have known many of them. They are the ones who would rather have the state support them than do anything (legal) to help themselves. It’s people like this that make it harder on people who need assistance through no fault of their own because observers make judgments without knowing anything about the other person. Did I hold it against the observer? No, I held it against those who really did meet the stereotype and kept perpetuating it.

Although I don’t ever want to live on welfare and food stamps again, I have to also say that I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything either. I got a crash course on budgeting and money management, and I learned how to maximize every food stamp dollar I had. It helped me learn how to get on my feet again — and (hopefully) stay there. Education was fine, but a real life experience taught me more. I don’t take anything for granted anymore and I don’t judge people based on what they look like, how they dress (with some obvious exceptions), or on how much/little money they have but rather on their actions.

Elaine Brennan 1 year ago

While I was going through my divorce, the attorney kept working on (and charging us for) a separation agreement that never got put in place. My husband was paying the mortgage, utilities, etc. and I had to let him know what I would be bringing home that week and produce a shopping list, including costs of the items, and he would decide what we did not need and send me a check for the reduced list,,, luckily, I was always someone who had an overflowing pantry and stuffed freezer,so I was able to supplement for quite some time. Then, I bought the kids’ spring clothes and sent the charge receipt. The charge receipt referred to my son’s jacket as a sweatshirt and my mother-in-law exploded about me buying him such an expensive sweatshirt… so I got no grocery checks for a couple of weeks and, since I had changed jobs and was new, that week I got no paycheck. I had a bottle of ketchup, some other condiments, one frozen pork chop and a couple of frozen English muffins… what was I going to do? We had been having some unusual meals, made from the bits of this and that we still had… peanut butter on English muffin sandwiches for lunch that day – the jelly was gone. I did not have a full meal left in the house… I was envisioning driving to the food bank in my late model Cutlass and my North Stamford clothes with my North Stamford address… Luckily, it did not happen, because, that day I received the checks for the missing weeks and went to the grocery store and bought enough to fill the trunk… I had pulled into the garage and opened the trunk as my 9 year old son came home from school and looked at all of the food and said “oh! we won’t have to go hungry”… I let anyone who makes comments know that they should try walking in the shoes of someone who is in need before they judge.

Anne Marie 1 year ago

You also need to think about guilt and pride. Quite a few people going in, particularly younger people without children, feel they don’t “deserve” more then plain, boring, cheap food and could barely swallow their pride enough to go in just to stop going hungry, let alone enough to “let” themselves take something nicer.

Lula 1 year ago

So funny, quinua (the proper name in Spanish) always comes up in this discussions about WIC and food stamps. Quinua has existed for hundreds of years and now is the “en boga” food here in the US. I have eaten quinua all my life, one of the best foods along with kiwicha, maca, trigo etc. Now everybody wants it and what it used to be one of the cheapest foods, is now expensive in our countries, because the US wants it badly, but still, people do not know how to prepare it correctly or make the wonderful dishes one can make with quinua besides putting it just in salads.

ajay 1 year ago

“she wouldn’t participate in the chili cook off because chili was ‘poor people food.’”

Good grief, really? You know what else used to be considered ‘poor people food’? Lobsters.

Graham 1 year ago

Sorry – missed out one thing. There’s less stigma here – in Britain – than the States.

Graham 1 year ago

There doesn’t seem to be as great a stigma to visiting food banks. With some, both local government and charitable, you have to jump through hoops to gain eligibility. With other local authorities (including my own) and often the church-based ones all are welcome none refused.

Poverty is an unfortunate state to find oneself in. It isn’t planned or sought out. It happens. Sometimes as a result of bad decisions but nearly always due to circumstances beyond our control. I’ve dipped in and out of it several times. As a result whenever I’m in a position to help in some way even if just buying/donating foo I will.

To be made to feel less than or embarrassed at needing help is appalling and those who do so should be ashamed of themselves. have found myself correcting/telling people off when I’ve overheard some conversations. It might be difficult at times and you might not like the response but if it only changes the attitude of one person in one hundred I figure the discomfort was worth it.

Thanks for sharing. Poverty isn’t a sin but ignorance and judgmentalism is.

sisterofoneofTHOSEPEOPLE 1 year ago

I am the sister of one of Those People. For over 25 years I have watched my sister go from church to church, food bank to food bank and to The Department of Human Services. She has 5 children ranging from the ages of 25 to 15. 4 of which she did not actually raise but does carry the birth certificates in her purse for viability purposes. She and her husband work. She works a cash only job. She has sued several people and has been awarded thousands of dollars at different times and is in a lawsuit now for $250,000.00 More than likely it will get settled out of court for $200,000.000. I can’t count how many times she has begged, borrowed and stolen from family, friends and retail businesses. She is a con and mom and dad did not raise her to be this way. She started out doing it because she needed to feed her first born son. Then as she grew accustomed to it and the embarrassment faded, she used it as a source for living. It is almost like a 40 hour week job for her. She lives off the system. She abuses it and takes from those who really need it. She receives government insurance (free), over $700 a month for Food Stamps on a debit card and $150 a month on the debit card for welfare. She does not own a home, she lives from house to house month to month. She has no car, she has a 89 year old lady fooled and uses her car every day 7 days a week for the last few years.

I am in no way being defensive about people going to Food Banks, food pantries or churches. I am only explaining the life of my sister and wondering if these places mentioned above have clients like this. After seeing this go on for so many years by my sister, I pass judgement to some of THOSE PEOPLE. Are they really in need of help or have they discovered that this is a way of life and it works?

I love my sister, she is the best friend from my childhood that I want back. I want her to see the wrong in what she is doing. I pray that one day she will graduate this style of life and want to make her wrongs into right.

I am sorry if this has offended anyone. But , It is the first time I have talked about it to strangers. I beg for no rude comments on judging my sister. I know it is a sin to judge but I have to get this off my chest. It burdens me so much knowing that she has caused so much hurt to our parents. They have tried helping her all they can. She at one time went to Jail. After court costs, lawyer fees and the fines it ended up costing my dad $28,000.00. She never offered to pay him back or thank him for all he had done. She expected him to do this for her. It seems she thinks the world owes her for something. I myself have handed to her more times than I can count. But, it has stopped.

Sorry for the rant but I do feel some what better now that I have read and re-read the above. I feel like my silence is broken and now it is time to stand up to the sister and start some research to find out if this is a mental disease she has or if she is just plain ole’ smart for WORKING THE SYSTEM…

Thanks for reading my rant, RANT OVER!
The sister that loves her sister that loves her handouts

corey 1 year ago

Forgot to mention we also have tree nut, peanut allergy child that we have to make ALL homemade foods for. Anything store bought is just too big of a risk. We make fruit bars, cookies, breads, all meat sauces and all pasta, we buy nothing in a store in a jar except salad dressing and ketchup Nothing in a box either. Other wise we make it. After two scarey episodes of anaphylaxis we just can’t take the chance. Thankfully that is the only allergy she has so Eggs, meats and Dairy are good sources of proteins for her.
And yes those are expensive also, however we do what we have to. We trade work for burger or pork. It is good to befriend a farmer especially if you have a skill.
Thoughts for Food!! :)

corey 1 year ago

We are In support of “those People” by often giving what ever we can, food or otherwise because we have been “those people off and on through out the years. We only survive because we garden like crazy, home preserve like squirrels and purchase staples in bulk. That is it!! If it weren’t for our sheer crazy love for gardening we would be “those people’ more often than not!! It is advisable for all folks to look into gardening and container gardening, it is easier than you think..
Great subject to write on!!

Eoin 1 year ago

Interesting. But I’d say you have a false correlation going on–particularly since you didn’t control test with general population and older generations. I’d suggest it’s equally likely that an affluent, aged man or woman would balk at quinoa, for example.

sHELLY 1 year ago

My husband and I at one time, were well to do…but when everything crashed so did we. Funny how the families you would hang, starting hanging else where, we couldn’t afford the dinners….food stamps..unemployment, our furnance died, …out town did a supper to raise money…Saw none of our old friends..looks in the supermarket, visiting the food pantry I used to volunteer at…..today after a huge storm…trees down..the town cut them all up and left them on the side of the road…so thinking how much heat this would give us I pulled over in my old white pick up…instead of my yukan Xl I used to have……a car came by honked complaining I am half in the road….old friends of mine…who said nothing or offered to help load…..I was now one of “those people”

Natalie 1 year ago

This post brought me to tears. Growing up, we didn’t have much, but we what did have belonged to my brother and me. My mom always put herself last, shopping at second-hand stores for her clothing etc. so my brother and I could have the “nicer” stuff, so we’d fit in. She rocked the single mother thing even when my dad missed (many) child support payments, and I’m thankful that my grandparents had a bit of extra cash to help her out with. Now, as a moderately successful adult, I’m always sure to give back. At food drives, it always irked me when people just donated the crap at the back of the cupboards that was expired and no one wanted. I always carry a box of granola bars in my car to hand out to homeless people on my daily commute, etc. Even though I am a student and my husband doesn’t make a lot of money, we find the little places where we can give back. I think it’s paramount in society to give to those less fortunate than you, even if it’s just a little bit. You keep kicking ass, momma!

dtphill 1 year ago

Im one of those people too. But we have massive food allergies in my house as well as little food. rather then trigger the medical emergencies i sadyl have to return most of those boxes, i am glad that some people put things like quinoa or vegetables in the bins and yes i do know what to do with them,

proverb32mom 1 year ago

Those people has come to be one of the most irritating phrases to me, The first irritation was as i volunteered with a local church for the Fire victims, 4 or five years ago our city was burning every few nites another fire, the one went threw 15 row homes, at that point everyone who lived here knew it was not gang related as the news kept hinting at: every one knew someone on that street, thankfully no one was injured.
It came from the mouth of a county worker,” These people are gonna see how much they can get” Those people? just lost everything, some of those people get up and work everyday at hospitals and day care they are good enough to keep your hospital clean and wipe your grand-babies bottom , but not good enough to have restored what was stolen? Those people live three blocks away and i smelt there homes burning before the fire trucks wailed, but you did not see me as one of those because my skin did not give it away. “Those people” is always used to make one feel better about their own position or standing in life, and it is foolish and short sighted, what goes around comes around and It rains on the fields of the poor man and rich man alike. I started to resent those with more and realized i needed to guard my heart at seeing “those people” with judgement, they can’t help where they are any more than i, we all make choices., as individuals.


Happy Hausfrau 1 year ago

Oh Brenda, been there done that! Thank you so much for reading. It’s so nice for people to know they aren’t the only ones who have been in tough situations.

Happy Hausfrau 1 year ago

Hi Chris! Thank you so much for reading…yes, cash is AWESOME. It’s also nice to donate toiletries, too, if you are so inclined. Shampoo, soap, deodorant, tampons/pads, toilet paper. I remember finding a nice disposable razor and some extra blades there once, and it made my day (I had one son shaving at the time and those suckers are expensive!!). I put them in his stocking for Christmas :)

Gail Holland 1 year ago

Every Monday at Rouses I purchase one of the ‘food pantry ‘ bags for $10.00. They contain staples, such as rice and beans and canned veggies. Once a month I also stop at a dollar store and purchase $20.00 worth of feminine hygine products and spices to drop into the bin as well. I read that those kinds of donations are rare. It’s very easy to do, and it’s a great deal for the money. This week when I went to the bin to drop off the bags, the bin was overflowing with donations. It did my heart good to see other people caring.

1stpeaksteve 1 year ago

A few years back, I was in the oddest situation. I was unemployed and knew that beyond going to countless interviews; I would just have to stick it out until I landed a job. During this time, I decided to volunteer at my local food pantry/employment counsel.

So there I was helping people apply for assistance programs and also helping them navigate the confusing world of online employment while volunteering and then driving home and eating salad and soup.

Finally, I swallowed my pride and asked to pick out a few items. I took far less than what they wanted to give me because I felt so guilty and I felt like I was robbing from someone else. The experience was humbling.

I still volunteer there once a week and I will never look at the clients the same way again. I am also a registered Republican. Having a heart and compassion is not reserved for one party over another…we all should stop waging a war over people in dire situations and concentrate on real solutions beyond finger wagging and blame.

Zipporah 1 year ago

I agree that the condescending tone was offensive and uncalled for, but her sentiment was not THAT incorrect. And before people jump on me for that, let me say that I was, for several years, on the board of my county’s Food Pantry Network (it is a small rural county in New England and we have a total of eight “official” food pantries, though there are a few more private pantries run by churches or fraternal organizations), and as well volunteered at each location.

I was the one who developed recipes that used our (excess) of commodity foods that was distributed by a larger (regional) food donation warehouse. I MADE the actual recipes for our clients to taste, gave them printed cards with the recipes, AND provided additional ingredients needed to make the dish they had sampled (such as packets of pre-measured herbs and spices they may not have at home).

Most usually if it was an “odd” food (the most infamous shipments being bags of dried cherries, dried figs, cheese soup, canned pork, frozen free-range chicken sausage, couscous, and oddly enough, QUINOA), at least 90% of the clients would not touch it. They did NOT know how to prepare it, or couldn’t think of a use for it (even after sampling some that had been used in a recipe) or just plain refused to even TRY it. We also had a very hard time getting them to take dried beans (which are a GREAT, healthy source of protein and keep well). The most usual response? “It takes to long to do that soaking thing.” and the more honest response- “They just make me gassy!”.

The 10% that knew how to use the more odd/gourmet ingredients were VERY happy to see them on the shelves, but most people would not take them.

So though I agree that this woman should have shown more respect in how she addressed the clients, it’s very likely that she had seen the same patterns and responses so such foods as I did. After a while, you do start to feel like a gourmet cook who has children who will ONLY eat Kraft mac&cheese and dry cereal- it’s discouraging to know that if they just TRIED something new, they would probably like it, but they refuse to even try it.

(And for the record.. I was also a person who used those food pantries to get by during hard times, so I have been one of “those people”, too.)

Mike Mason 1 year ago

One of the best things we have done in raising our boys is to have them actively involved in feeding and serving some of the folks in our community that are not as fortunate as we are at this time. It is part of teaching a “Pay it Forward” philosophy of life. They know that they could be in that situation at any time, and people should always be treated with respect. Our sons are 21 and 23 now and continue their involvement in helping others. It is a behavior that parents can model from day one. Sadly, the opposite is also true.

bonita 1 year ago

Did you not READ even one of the comments left by those who, due to their circumstances, wouldn’t mind receiving a box of Quinoa?? Read before you reply. Please. For all our sakes.

Brenda 1 year ago

I needed to read this story. When you mentioned the quinoa and other “goodies”, I thought “what would they do with that”? I guess I am one of “those” people who, because I have never experienced real hardship, think that I know how the other halve needs to live… I don’t and am therefor now off to eat humble pie… I hope it tastes as good as the meals you prepared for your children.

Jamie Martin 1 year ago

Just me weighing in here, I have no clue how to cook a zucchini.

Kelli 1 year ago

Thank you for that. I often have two carts over flowing because I have to drive over 40 miles to get to the grocery store and my limited budget wont allow for gas money to make more than one trip, so I stock up once a month.

Kelli 1 year ago

Thank you for this article! Im also ‘one of those people’ but I have to go the food pantry every single month without fail. I have had a disability since I was a teenager and its kept me from holding down a job. When I was very pregnant with our son my husband was injured at his job and a visit to the ER got him sent for more testing and months later they found some serious problems and he was unable to return to work because of them. We where never rolling in the money but we had a nice life and all the sudden found ourselves unable to cover all of lives expenses. Im very thankful for every box of mac and cheese, every packet of crackers, and the occasional whole chicken or nice cut of meat. I have a lot of respect for all the other people who stand in line to get a box of food. It takes a lot to admit you need help and to become comfortable standing in line talking to another person whos in the same boat you are.

Joanna 1 year ago

I love this!! When I was younger, my mom was forced to go on food stamps for six months, I remember those hot cheeks perfectly. My mom signed those checks and walked out of the store with her head help up high, she really taught me to be okay to swallow my pride when necessary but in the same sense, work my butt off to take care of myself.
Everyone is one bad thing happening away from being “those people.”

Caterina Samson 1 year ago

Thank you so much for sharing. I have been lucky in life and I have never had to go to a food bank but it was so humbling reading it.

WindyJ 1 year ago

Two pay cheques away? For us it’s ONE. As it is now, if dh’s pay is so much as $25 short, I have to split the rent between that check and the next one, plus pay the late fee to our management company. Which then starts a spiral of that much less in the food budget for the following two weeks. And just forget it if something else happens, like a medical emergency. It’s so freaking STRESSFUL. I feel like we’re constantly balancing on the edge of a knife or something. There’s a food shelf at the local church right down the block from us and there have been many, many times that I’ve considered going in, while walking home from stretching what we have to the absolute limit at the store and still not having enough to get us through the week.

When my 2nd dc was born we went to apply for food stamps. We weren’t looking for a huge amount of help, just an extra $50 or so a month to help bridge the gap so to speak. My husband was grossing about $18,000 a year – not take home, mind you. Because we had $2500 in an old 401K from my former job, we were denied anything. The lady literally told us to drain that account first, then come back to apply. It’s a shitty system that allows you NO personal safety net whatsoever, and I believe that’s why people get caught in a vicious cycle. Not that there’s no one who games the system – there are – but I think many live so close to the edge even with help that it’s next to impossible to get any traction.

I have yet to go in to the pantry, but I will never say never. It can happen to anyone, anytime, and truly heartfelt hugs to everyone out there making it work for their families. We’re all in this trip together.

Katie 1 year ago

Well, I tend to call the sort of people who eat “quinoa” and think the better of themselves for it as “those people,” too.

Monzella 1 year ago

This really brought tears to my eyes. I was raised by a single mom who was in and out of court with my father for years! We were definitely “those people”. My mother was keenly aware that “those people” were looked down upon- and you know what she did? I bet you’re thinking that in spite of herself she swallowed her pride in favor of feeding her children… NOPE! We got by on scraps and went hungry- because we were “better” than “those people”. That’s what stigma, judgment, and pride did. And it messed me up! It instilled a real sense of shame. And, to this day- if I’m running low on groceries, I get very anxious. Having full cupboards brings me a sense of well-being that I admit is somewhat disproportionate.

We can never truly know how somebody else landed where they are in life. I’ll go ahead and extend that stance to the woman in this story who commented on “those people” Perhaps she was once one of “those people” herself. Her comments leave me wondering if perhaps she has a bit of an inferiority complex. At least then she’d have SOME type of excuse for making such bigoted comments!

This story was a great reminder to me that we need to be kinder to one another. Suffering can result from judgment- even if it’s unintentional.

Nic 1 year ago

I, after serving in the Air Force for 4 years, got out with the expectation of being able to get right back into my field of work. I dedicated a full year of active daily job seeking. Calling contractors, applying on websites, going to job fairs multiple times in a week, all while taking care of a 6 month old while my wife worked. I applied for unemployment and took that gratefully, however I couldn’t even bring myself to apply for WIC, it made me feel as if I had failed and couldn’t provide for my family, until my mother sat me down and told me that everyone needs help sometimes. So my wife and I applied for WIC/food stamps. We were able to receive WIC but ‘made too much’ for food stamps. If it wasn’t for the generosity of my parents we could not afford to live in the county, let alone state we live in currently. So here I sit 3 years later, still unemployed, having taken a break from looking for work and instead using my GI bill to finish up my B.A. (which apparently counts more than having real work experience). And yet I have friends from High School that had WIC/food stamps and didn’t renew it, when they are behind on all their bills and their home is under threat of foreclosure, because they never ate anything they got with it, they just let it go to waste.

Chrissy 1 year ago

In my early twenties I was in a car accident, on my way to a new job I had started 3 days earlier. I ended up in the hospital, lost the job because I was physically unable to do. Within 2 months I went from being employed full-time, going to school full-time to being homeless. At first, I would go to the college cafeteria, find a table where other students had left their trays with leftover food, I’d open my books and then after a few minutes start to pick at the food as if I was just absent mindedly finishing my plate while studying. But college students tend to be a hungry group and eventually I had to go find a food bank.

ReneeMac 1 year ago

I am the same way, Suzi. I would rather scrape the bottom of my cupboard and re-cook leftovers than go to a food pantry because I do feel that other people deserve it more than me. I’m a SAHM of 3 and my husband works 11 hour days for $5 an hour. Not enough for us to really live on. We stay with his mother and while it’s not the most ideal situation, I’m thankful every day. I am on food stamps. And embarrassed every day about having to be on them. But at the same time, I’m glad that I’m able to feed my babies. Even if it means swallowing my pride. I have been to the food pantry a few times. And usually, if I found something I couldn’t use or that just sat on my shelf (our food pantry doesn’t let you shop. They just make you drive through and hand you boxes of food), I would give it to another family I thought could use it. Or make a dinner for another family. It’s so hard sometimes, swallowing that pride. But as mothers, our babies must come first.

Monica 1 year ago

I was one of those hungry children in the early 70s. My mother worked 3 jobs to keep a roof over her 5 children’s heads and food in our bellies. The sad part is there was not as much help then as there is today. I can recall a time when 2 cans of corn was all that we had in the house for that nights dinner. NO BREAD MILK EGGS BUTTER FLOUR MAC&CHEESE…. nothing but those 2 cans of corn. To this day, in my mind, that was the best corn I have ever eaten. I remember sensing my mothers fears and the look of sadness in her eyes as she plated up our dinner that evening… it was a look that I will never forget. Later that evening my mother called the Pastor of our church and with HOT CHEEKS asked for help! Pastor delivered several boxes off food to our door the very next morning. It was a relief for the whole family but for my mother more than all.

It’s Me 1 year ago

On another note, this same food bank also requests name brand only items. No generic. I admit we are in the top 5-10% income-wise and I buy generics for my own family and the taste and quality are identical. In fact I prefer a specific generic brand of lima bean over DelMonte because it tastes better. It shows a complete ignorance about the industry and what generics vs name brand are.

I once knew a lady who was a food taster. She said her job was to rate bushels of corn. So she’s take a bite, spit it out and rate it on sweetness, crispness, etc. She said by the end of the day she had tasted so much corn that it all blended together after awhile and she knows that high rated corn was designated to generic and low rated was designated to name brand.

It’s Me 1 year ago

In defense of this woman…. our food bank specifically requests that people stick to the staples as much as possible because the trendy items sit too long and take up space. So in her defense… well she does have a point, and there is always in exception but frankly if I’m hungry and have only X amount of items to fill my bag artichoke is NOT going to be one of them even if I love it because it’s not caloric or something to eat (generally) on its own.

It’s Me 1 year ago

well does that really matter? food is food. Our pastor once encouraged all who donated to the clothing drive to donate their favorite shirt instead of the “mistake” or too small/ large items because it meant more of a sacrifice. I say BS. If I was on the receiving end I wouldn’t know who it came from or why just that it was there and was now mine. Frankly on a more practical level I think the favorite shirt would be more worn out than the less favorite anyway. And yes I realize that last statement has nothing to do with food except that it’s there and ultimately that is what matters.

michelle 1 year ago

I was one of “those people” when I was divorced single mother in the Army. My pride took a hit when I applied for food stamps and went to food pantries, but it was more important for my kids to eat than what i thought other might think about me.

Roshni 1 year ago

The right thing to do is to contribute what you think is needed and will be nutritious to another family; not just to clean out your shelves of items that are of no use to you! If this lady thinks that mac and cheese are ‘good enough’, then clearly her intentions are not very well meaning!

Helen K. Krummenacker 1 year ago

My husband volunteered at a nonprofit, and they knew we were starving students so after the bags were parceled out for the official clients, they often sent home things with him, especially when a farmer gave produce or a store donated baked goods that wouldn’t keep. Some days I would nearly weep with joy to see something we hadn’t been able to buy in a long time. So yes, staples are good, but some days an avocado or a pear or cinnamon bread could make someone’s week feel like magic.

Bill 1 year ago

I’ve sometimes wondered if something I’ve donated will be useful to “those people” – not because of snobbiness, but will they have somewhere to cook it, and will they have a refrigerator so they can make a big enough batch to last a couple of days, or should I be donating cans instead of the dried beans that are a lot more food for the money and weight. The people I’ve known who I knew needed food assistance were mostly homeless or in temporary housing, but given the appallingly high number of people who are getting cut off of food stamps if Congress doesn’t do something, we’ll be seeing a lot of people at the food pantries.

S 1 year ago

Unless you’re like me and on the soaking kick (not much more expensive- just time consuming), quinoa isn’t any different to prepare than rice. The instructions are on the box. I guess ~those~ people can’t read, either?

And, yeah, as a person pointed out- food problems aren’t uncommon. I can’t have gluten, some people can’t have nuts or dairy or eggs or any number of things. Only giving mac and cheese would be a serious problem. “Beggars can’t be choosers”? Handing peanut butter to a personw ith a peanut allergy is saying “Would you like a quick death by allergic reaction or slow death by starvation?”. I’m sure that people with non-life-threatening allergies/intolerances have to take food that makes them very ill every day, it’s awful.

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Noel 2 years ago

You could be my husband’s sister. My MIL did the same thing, never accepted assistance and today while we are struggling bc I lost a full time job and am currently stuck working part time, my husband loves to bring that up. We can’t ask for help because his mom didn’t. She was too proud and so they suffered and apparently that suffering makes them better than others. She also sent her oldest and youngest away (one to another state to live with strangers where very bad things happened to him, aka my husband, and the other to grandparents) and in the process let two of her children die from diseases that were COMPLETELY treatable. He holds on to this like some sort of medal, it makes him better than me with my middle class upbringing at least. I do not understand and like another commenter I pretend to eat so that he and my daughter have enough food, or at least I was until I fainted and my obgyn freaked out on me (I am currently 6 months pregnant and it was a huge surprise and the medical bills are part of the reason I can no longer afford to buy food).

dnl2002 2 years ago

I invite you to think of the people you see and deem “leaches” in another perspective. Perhaps the mother with all the young children lived a comfortable life with a soldier husband prior to his being deployed and killed or disabled defending our country, or maybe she had a great job before being fired because she was pregnant again…maybe she has 2 carts full because she has to borrow a car to go to the store now, and does all of her shopping at the beginning of the month so that she can save on food and transportation costs. Perhaps she has a part-time job working at one of the upscale retail stores that demand that their employees are “dressed to the nines.” She might be a good thrift store and garage sale shopper in order to meet that demand. Perhaps she does her own manicures at home after the kids go to bed, and the purse was a gift from a well-to-do friend that bought a new one…

There are so many possibilities. You can choose to think the best scenario just as easily as you can choose the worst. I’m sorry that life has been difficult for you…it’s a crying shame that your family has experienced that in this land of opportunity. Your life is an example of how far too many Americans fall through the cracks when it comes to being taken care of by their country when things go wrong. But instead of resenting those that are getting some form of assistance, your anger would be much better placed on the system that creates such a disparity of experience. We need more aid available, not less. We need practical solutions to getting people from dependence to independence whenever possible…but right now our system instead drops people off of financial cliffs…leaving them hanging on by a thread instead of putting them on the road to secure lives.

I suggest the following beautiful video for help with a shift in perspective: http://youtu.be/TzFNh2_dSBg

Robin T 2 years ago

I too, am one of “those people”. No one would ever know it, unless I were to tell them. I am well educated and live in a middle class neighborhood in a nice house. I never, ever imagined that I would ever be in this situation, but I am. If it were not for the food that I get from the food pantry and a little bit of assistance from SNAP, I honestly do not know where my food would come from. My husband’s work hours got cut from over 40 hours per week, down to 12 hours per week, and his hourly salary was also cut. I am unemployed, but am actively looking for a job. We are just trying to not lose our house, at this point. It took me a long time to get up the courage to even go to the food pantry to see if they could help me and my family. I’ve always had a hard time asking for help, and this was insurmountable to me. The first time that I went to the food pantry, while I was talking to the woman there to see if I “qualified”, I broke down in tears. You are so right, you do get used to going to the pantry, and eventually, the tears stop. I am so very grateful to all of the people who work and volunteer at my local food pantry. Each time I go to get food there, I thank each and every person there. Now, if I see a person on the street holding up a sign that says “will work for food” (or something similar), I stop and give them the little spare change that I may have in my car. My friends argue that by giviing someone the spare change, that they will buy alcohol. I believe that is a stereotype. That could very well be me holding up that sign asking for help. I really don’t think that “unless you’ve been there” that you can truly understand that most people getting help with food assistance, etc. would much rather be working full-time and earning enough money to go buy groceries at the grocery store (and not have to rely on any assistance at all). This entire experience has humbled me, and I am so much more grateful for what I do have than I was before I got in this mess. I now have so much more empathy for others, and I no longer judge other people at all.

blancheiepoo 2 years ago

Sorry but I feel the same, when im in the grocery store with my cheapest I can find on my limited food budget, behind some young girl with 2 carts piled to the top, dressec to the nines, hair done nails done 4 kids under age 5 and one in the belly , yacking on her iphone and she whips the snap card out of her Louis Vitton purse I get damned pissed. My hubby and I have 6 kids and many was the time we didnt eat so our kids could. We scrimped and did our best we made sure our kids have while our taxes paid for some young girl to get her check and food stamps. And of course free medical. Ive been so sick that I prayed for a quick death , but I couldnt go to the docs we just didnt have the funds. I have also worked at food banks and many was the time those people came in for the free food they too were well dressed driving nice cars. Im sick and tired of these leaches that feel entitled.

Brenda 2 years ago

Thanks so much for this article. I was one of those people too and I never, ever expected that I would be one of those people. It happened so quickly, my ex decided to hold off on paying me child support and that’s all it took for me to have to visit the food bank. I was so ashamed that I couldn’t support my family. Eventually, I was able to support them without his payments. I will never forget how humbling the experience was and I think that it made me a better human being. Thanks again.

Jenny 2 years ago

Interesting. That’s what you took from my post? Funny, I only mentioned past due child support…nothing in there at all about how involved my ex-husband is in the kid’s lives.


And it’s hardly libelous to call an anonymous commenter on a blog a troll. But again, okay.

Have a great life, Joe :)

Joe 2 years ago


Your characterization of my valid question as trolling/baiting is both unfair and libelous.
I have read and personally seen cases where the mother used the courts to intentionally keep the children away from the father out of spite.
So having that background information for this blog entry certainly makes a world of difference.

And yes, it does weigh heavily on my mind as I have seen friends pay out outrageous sums of support to ex wives, who subsequently take lavish vacations or add on a sun room to the house, as opposed to simply putting food on the table. And these aren’t deadbeat, child-beating, drug addicts. They are simply “jerks” in the women’s eyes.

So when I read a story like this, yeah I want to know why the father is not with the children.


Jenny 2 years ago

Joe, I don’t make much effort to respond to trollish/baiting comments. However, since this issue (?) seems to be weighing heavily on your mind, I’ll try to respond so you can rest easy.

My question back to you was indeed better. If a parent truly gives a hoot about their child, they will attempt to help support them. Whether it’s by physically taking care of them or providing financial support, or just attempting to be a part of their lives, it shows that they care and WANT to be active in their upbringing.

“Why weren’t the children with their father?” You’d have to ask him, Joe. He lives just a few miles away, was well aware of my temporary financial duress, and did, at one point, ask one of the four children if “everything is okay at home.” That was the extent of the help offered. And yes, for the record, I did ask him for help. Repeatedly.

Around this same time, he and his wife dismantled the two bedrooms that had been set up for use by my kids. They were made into a nursery, and a playroom. The beds that were intended for my children were sold on Craigslist. On the rare occasion that my kids spent time with their dad, they were told to sleep on the floor. Or a couch, if they were lucky.

Kids want to be where they feel wanted. And just because one parent is suffering a temporary setback (mostly due to the fact that child support wasn’t paid for almost five years, but ya…totally not an issue, right?), doesn’t mean that the other parent is better-equipped to take care of them. I may have been short on grocery money for a few months, but my kids always knew I was there for them and that I was determined to make a better life for us.

I hope that this helps you resolve the burning question of why the children weren’t with their father.

Again, thanks for reading!

Joe 2 years ago

Don’t have an answer? Interesting…

Nancy 2 years ago

I am one of “those people” also. I went through a divorce a year ago and the change in income hit hard. There were many days where my shelves were bare. I finally swallowed my pride and found my way to the local food pantry…the first few times felt awkward for me, but now I am comfortable. I may not need to go all the time, but it’s nice to have available when I need it.

Mary 2 years ago

I like quinoa – everybody I know thinks I eat weird food. My daughter and son-in-law get food stamps, and have been to food banks, and she frequently asks me what she can do with some strange ingredient she picked up. The artichokes are great, for a treat, but their nutritional value per dollar spent is pretty low compared to a jar of peanut butter or a can of tuna fish.

Susi 2 years ago

I normally don’t comment but feel the need to do so today. I am one of those people and am grateful for the help I get! I am disabled because of the job I used to have. I worked for 8 years and then when I couldn’t work because of an on the job injury they fired me. I am a single mother of 2 great kids. My son knows what it is like to have abundantly at least until he was about 12 when I was no longer able to work. His sister will probably never know what it’s like to just get what you want. I can see both sides of this coin and have read all the comments and one aspect no one shared was that maybe she is one of “those people” and was too ashamed to admit it and just said what she thought other people were expecting to hear from someone who is “better off”. No one has walked in her shoes so maybe you shouldn’t judge her. You don’t seem to like that she is judging others so try and do the same for her.

Jenny 2 years ago

That’s a long sentence, Tammy.

Jenny 2 years ago

Hmm…I don’t think this blog post was that long.

Thanks for reading, Tammy!

Candy Rick 2 years ago

I was one of “those people” for 2 years after my ex walked out on us to go live with his girlfriend. I was left with a 22 y/o doublewide, 2 payments past due and taxes due…and where I lived, they could impound a mobile home if taxes weren’t paid, a car that was 3 payments past due, and 4 kids, all from the ages of 2-12, no job, and the dear dad was kind enough to leave $20 on the table for groceries. I didn’t know the status of the overdue bills until my mom came to our rescue, took me to the bank to talk with the bank president (who soon rescued us from our plight), then took me to the state aid office for help financially. I was one of “those people” who had to brandish a food stamp coupon book at the checkout while people behind me grimaced. I was one of “those people” who cried when our town of 400 people knew all about my plight and gave us 2 huge boxes of food at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and another huge box of presents just so that my kids could HAVE a Christmas. I was one of “those people” who had to forego all sanctity when going to places and trying to explain that I couldn’t pay my bills that month, could they please extend the amount due until I got my student loan (started nursing school with the help of our banker) in so that I’d have enough to live on. I was one of “those people” who in the middle of winter, turned off furnace registers in the bedrooms and all 5 of us slept snuggled together in the living room so we didn’t have to heat all the trailer. I was one of “those people” who even the county propane dealer and driver knew about and they’d “sneak” extra propane in our tank so we’d have enough to cook on and stay warm with, and not charge us for it. How I wish we were some of “those people” who had a food bank to turn to. That wasn’t existent in our area. How thankful I was, after graduation from nursing school to drive straight to the welfare office and tell my caseworker that I didn’t need help anymore…and she lovingly didn’t stop the state aid until after my 2nd paycheck. (she knew the first one would be short). After all, she worked with “those people” everyday, 5 days/wk and cared for them all. “Those people” are so grateful, so thankful, so appreciative of even the smallest of efforts that some of the bigots such as the one you wrote about, have no idea what being poor and destitute, not knowing where you are going to get the next meal for your child from, not knowing what it’s like to be cold, cry silently in the middle of the night because you don’t know how you’re going to provide for the most precious gift that God ever gave you, that being your children. Bless those who are “those people” that they may find a way out of their predicament. I was blessed to have had friends like our banker who encouraged me to complete my dream to be a nurse, lent me the funds to make it happen, refinanced the house and car to include taxes for the 2 years it took to graduate school, and sent the most amazing letter to my college to explain why I’d be the best candidate for admission to the nursing program. I was blessed to have a mom who came to my rescue knowing just exactly what to do to help me with my independence and a dad and step-mom who took care of the little ones while I finished school. “Those people” are the ones who make a difference in the lives of “the other people”.

Grace | Yummy Baby Gifts™ 2 years ago

What an amazing post! Thanks for sharing your story. We can be so insensitive. We really need to consider what comes out of our mouth before we say it.. doesn’t matter who we’re saying it to, we need to think about who can be offended by our words.

All this talk about Quinoa… you know there are instructions on the back of the package on how to make it!! It’s super easy! ANYONE can make it.

Melissa O. 2 years ago

I go to food pantries, I am well educated, I love Quinoa. Its pronounced Keen-wah, it’s really really good for you, versatile, and it would be healthier for people to eat than rice. I have no problem cooking food I have not tried. Most people, (down on their luck or otherwise) have access to the internet. You can find out how to make it. I think people get a lot of the same things over and over from food pantries. Widely accepted foods get boring. I may be poor but my kids and I like variety too.

Joe 2 years ago

Given that twisted logic, we should all quit our jobs and get back what we paid in…

Joe 2 years ago


Yes, I do agree that following your conscience could be both unpopular and difficult.
But to follow it with no consideration of others is selfish. And I know numerous teachers in multiple school districts. All outstanding people. All have ample free time. If he can make time to earn a masters degree, he can make time to plan how not to be a burden on society.

Joe 2 years ago


That’s not actually a better question. That’s just a different question.
So why weren’t the children with the father??


Kaj 2 years ago

I know a great deal of people who are horrible individuals, does that mean I am one of them? I am sure you also know people who are not the greatest, does that mean you have some great flaw that is attracting them? No, it doesn’t. That would be stupid to assume. Knowing of a situation doesn’t equate to being involved in it in any way.

Kaj 2 years ago

I’m pretty sure he’s not talking about thrift store Nike’s, or you specifically. I think he’s talking about people who spend their money on frivolous items (satellite TV, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, a new iPhone, etc.) instead of purchasing necessary food for their families. Plus he plainly stated that if what he described “isn’t you then I’m not talking about you…,” though he was rude about that.

Also, in many cases (granted, not all cases), libraries are equipped with internet for research purposes and all one needs is a library card to make use of it. That’s what my brother did in S. Carolina when he was couch surfing and couldn’t afford a phone. Of course he used it to keep in touch so I wouldn’t worry myself to death across the country instead of research.

Jenny 2 years ago

You’re welcome Mary, thank you so much for reading! And yes, it is a nice gesture to put some “fun” stuff in there.

Thank you so much.


Jenny 2 years ago

You two are not the first to suggest this idea, and yes, you may be right. However, that wasn’t the point of the essay. What struck me was the fact that she assumed I was her socioeconomic equal. Just a reminder that we never know what the person next to us has been through.

And in my “drama” defense..I was there, and I heard the remark. I saw the expression on her face. And I heard the comment about how “we” (she and I) are more “refined” than people who go to food shelves. I left that one out to avoid more drama :) She’s not an ogre. She just doesn’t know.

Quinoa is awesome, by the way. It’s cheap, easy to prepare, mixes well with tons of staples, and is more nutritious than rice. Now you know.

Thanks for reading.


David 2 years ago

FINALLY someone who realizes “those people” was likely simply referring to the people that come for the food, not in any way derogatory. Many of us have had hard times, but that doesn’t mean we dissect every word or glance and call it discriminatory. I’m an educated person, but don’t have a clue what Quinoa is. I agree that when donating food, best to donate things people will use or know how to prepare. Just makes sense. The above person’s comment was drama-free (finally).

Jonathan 2 years ago

Thanks Maggie for hearing my words. I hope things get better for you.

Maggie 2 years ago

I’m so sorry. I’m where you are in many ways, and I feel your despair deeply and very personally. I’m doing my hardest to hang in there, and I hope you can, too.

Michele 2 years ago

Actually it probably would be more helpful if people donated foods that were more widely accepted. You’d be surprised at how many people don’t know how to cook anymore. Many families survive by having their kids eat at school programs and when the holidays come and their kids are home for 2-3 weeks then families struggle to feed their kids. Most are needing the basics– cereal, peanut butter, eggs, bread, milk, tuna, meat. Is it possible that the lady that was commenting was making the point about the odd foods and maybe the emphasis wasn’t really on “those people”? I’ve worked with many food programs and I agree that odd foods are not what most families are needing. Just maybe you misinterpreted her response — is that possible?

Connie Payne 2 years ago

Everyone You haven’t seen anything yet .Concerning the amount of struggling people on food stamps and fighting to put food on the table, gas in car, bills etc, Wait until Obamacare gets in full force!!!! Everyone better learn to be a little more tolerant. You’re going to find yourself in the foodline!!

James 2 years ago

No guilt. We both found the same title for the same, sad thing.

jay 2 years ago

I had an instince about people saying all kids who arent dressed up for halloween shouldnt get candy. I told them you dont know that kids home life to say if they could have dressed up but shouldnt the poor ones with no costumes be the ones you would want to have a treat before the rich who can afford all the candy they want? I give to all. They said well they can make a costume!! yeah cause everyone has a mom who is creative or that has boxes and sheets to spare. Is the kid suppose to cut holes in the only sheet they have thats stained and dirty? Not everyone has a craft room full of supplies. Some people will never get it and I tell them they are lucky they dont understand. I do.

Jenny 2 years ago

I think a better question would be, why did he fight paying child support for almost 5 years? Get that one answered and then we can move on to your question :)

Thanks for reading!

Tracy Gibb 2 years ago

I’m sitting in Starbucks with tears in my eyes. This was so well written and inspiring. I have never had to go to the food bank but as a single mom who doesn’t get child support, I have had to swallow my pride many times in other ways in order to support my son. I’m back on my feet now and am always looking for ways to help others who were where I was only a few years ago. It kills me when I hear people talking like this too. Thank you for the awesome post.

Jolene 2 years ago

Years ago, someone that was getting ready to be a mom through adoption was asked if she had chosen a pediatrician yet. She had not and this woman told her to not go to so-and-so because that doctor accepts a lot of children who are on welfare. My eyes popped wide open and so did my mouth but no words came out. I was in complete shock that she believed that a doctor wasn’t good enough for her children because they chose to accept patients… CHILDREN!… on welfare. I didn’t know the women that were standing there that well so I kept my mouth shut – but all these years later, I’m still kicking myself for not standing up for “those people” when given the opportunity.

Cis 2 years ago

Joe, I get your point about people who play the system, to me they are no better than the big corporations and banks that ask for government handouts because they are in trouble because of bad business decisions, yet choose to give huge bonuses to their CEOs. But there are also people out there that shop only at Goodwill, garage sales, and hand me downs from other mothers as their kids out grow those clothes. There are people out there that might be using that iphone because it’s a hand me down from a relative that needs to keep in touch with their children. There are people out there that are trying to find jobs where a phone or internet are needed to help do that.
Good luck playing the Grinch this Christmas…

Caroline Moustache 2 years ago

Great article! Wow “some” people!

Jenny 2 years ago

James…that was a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing. Now I have some guilt for using your title :)


James 2 years ago

I’ve seen this a lot. I wrote a short story years ago titled, aptly enough, “Those People”, about homeless people. The theme was the same as yours here; it can happen to anyone. We are all just a few steps away from being, “Those People”.

You’ve shown here just how blind most people are to the plight of so many less fortunate than they are.

(If you want to read my story, it’s at http://primowalker.deviantart.com/art/Those-People-2382012?q=in%3Aliterature%2Fprose%20sort%3Atime%2 )

Cis 2 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing this. I am one of “those people” and have been off and on for years. I didn’t grow up having to access food banks, but we always watched the money. It wasn’t until I became an adult and had some rough times. To walk into a food bank, or even to begin the process to apply for food stamps is excruciatingly painful. To sit there and have people look at you, and ask personal questions is humiliating. Especially since I have advanced degrees. I am not supposed to be one of “those people”. And I get having to defend myself from all those that say I am lazy and “taking” from them. Let me tell you, I have paid my fair share of taxes, so I am just borrowing from the system I have paid into. I don’t go out to eat, I don’t buy that $5.00 cup of coffee every day, I would turn down offers at work to go out for drinks or dinner, or even having lunch with coworkers just so I would not spend that extra money. I use coupons to make my food stamps stretch, and yes, occasionally I like a good piece of steak, and I buy it, usually it’s the cheapest cut, or even out of the bargain bin and at reduced price. Don’t judge me until you have walked in my shoes. I do have to say this, if we ever have a total collapse of society, and an economic crash along the lines of the Great Depression “those people” will already know how to survive.

Conuly 2 years ago

Cash. You should donate cash. The food bank can take your ten dollars and buy what would cost you fifty dollars to purchase at the store – more, even, if they have corporate matching. Plus, they can purchase exactly what is desired by their clientele, because they know what sort of foods the neighborhood uses.

Jenny 2 years ago

Hi Rebecca

I’m the author of this piece, Scary Mommy has been kind enough to post it here on her website.

Thank you for your kind words, and for what you do in your community. The world needs more people like you in it.

I swear sometimes in real life, and I do the same in my writing. You are welcome to print it out and cover up the swearing, but I cannot edit it. Because then it wouldn’t be genuine.

And with all due respect (seriously), I think these ARE the right words. For me, at least.

Thanks so much for reading, and for wanting to share.


Rebecca 2 years ago

Dear Scary Mommy,

I am so thankful that I have never needed to ask for assistance. However, i have taught many – and have both family and friends who have needed assistance. It makes me so angry for other friends and people make such mean comments. Often, I call it “the politics of hate.” As someone above described what happened to a well-off friend whose financial circumstances changed, we should all realize that “there but for the Grace of God go I.”

When I was reading your post, I was planning to SHARE it with my FB friends. You write well, and you certainly express thoughts that people need to read. However, many of my FB friends are former students and their parents. For that reason, I do not share anything that contains words I would not say to them in person. Why did you feel the need to use language that would not be acceptable in our classrooms? The power of your words was not increased – in fact, they may have lost power. I wish you would edit your words so they can be shared with all audiences. I would LOVE to share it to help some of my friends realize their beliefs are so wrong! I fight their beliefs all the time. You could help with the right words.


Stephanie 2 years ago

I’d like to get a list of what would be good, healthy things to donate– stuff that the most people would like and use. Maybe whole grain pasta? Canned garbanzo and kidney beans? Brown rice? Canned tomatoes? And is there a way to give fresh produce and meat or chicken?

Stephanie 2 years ago

I buy store brands all the time. We have good, professional jobs, but that doesn’t mean I’m dumb enough to buy $12 pasta sauce.

Stephanie 2 years ago

Thanks so much for these comments– it reminded me that people need help, and made me think about what to give. I’ll give at Whole Foods this weekend and try to pick up some healthful, out of the ordinary kind of stuff.

Gem 2 years ago

I’ve been there. When my boys were little, at different times, I had to accept WIC and use a local food bank. My then-husband, their father, was in the military and stationed far away. What money he sent home (when he sent money home – he often didn’t send anything for months on end) had to cover rent and utilities. Childcare in our area cost more than I would make working. (With 2 children under 2, full-time childcare was about $2,000 a month.) I found myself walking with the kids in a stroller, not only to the store, but to pick up recycleable cans and bottles on the sidewalks and streets for diaper money.

I cried many times along the way. I cried walking home from the store pushing a stroller loaded with 2 kids and milk and juice up steep hills, with people’s dour looks and harsh comments still ringing in my ears. I cried when I went to the local food bank and had to admit I hadn’t heard from my husband in a month, that I had a choice this winter between heat and food to keep the kids going. I cried out of hopelessness and I cried harder with gratitude when I didn’t have to wonder what I would make when I heard those inevitable words, “Mommy, I’m hungry.”

It’s been almost fifteen years since those days. I have a good job and a steady income. Most months, I do okay enough to have a few extras. Yet still, child support from my ex is sometimes hit or miss and the times it’s a miss – things get tight. It means trying to find a way to feed two growing teen boys, myself, and my 82-year old grandmother and still cover the bills and keep gas in the car to keep going to work.

Still, both my boys have had to perform community service in their schools as a graduation requirement. We have volunteered at the food bank, sorting donations, checking expiration dates, packing and boxing them to ship out. I’ve manned the donation truck at events to inform people about hunger in our community. The food bank where we have volunteered feeds over 16,500 local families a MONTH. And the thing that breaks my heart the most is not the “other people” comments, but having to throw food away because it’s spoiled or damaged beyond use.

One of the things this article seems to have inspired people to do is donate gourmet items. I have one caveat to add: please, PLEASE, don’t toss glass jars into the collection bins. The bins get jostled and moved and sorted and if a jar breaks, everything around it has to tossed due to contamination risks, glass shards, mold, etc. I love that people have the generous and thoughtful spirit to donate more “fancy” foods and I certainly don’t want to deter that spirit, but if you do, please consider tying them into a plastic bag alone or boxing them so they don’t break.

Mary 2 years ago

Thank you so much for this piece, Jennifer. I volunteer at a local food bank and help coordinate the other volunteers. I am way past being tolerant of pretentious folks who sneer about “those people”. I’ve started calling them out by asking “Just who do you mean?” or “What did you say? I couldn’t hear you”. Years ago when I was buying sensible staples to donate, it was my children who suggested that we buy “fun” stuff to take to the food bank. Who doesn’t like a fancy, organic cereal, some creamy pasta sauce, or a box of plump, chewy cookies?

Conuly 2 years ago

Its not much more expensive, I mean.

Conuly 2 years ago

A gallon of vinegar isn’t much more than a pint of vinegar, and it doesn’t go bad.

Donna 2 years ago

Our local store has the pre packed food pantry bags and they change what goes in on a monthly basis. It is a great way to increase participation since they handle the storage until the food bank picks it up weekly. I have suggested to them that they add a yearly charitable contribution running total to their members card so that customers can have a tax receipt at the end of the year. I think it would encourage more donations for them to add that feature. I try and use coupons and specials to maximize my donations to the food bank, even on items that my family doesn’t necessarily like. Being a retired police officer that worked in community policing for a low economic area for many years with primarily working poor residents I try and increase my food donations during the summer and school holidays when kids are not getting free breakfast and lunch at school. Simple kid friendly items like cereal, canned soups and pasta dishes that can be prepped by kids themselves are always needed while kids may be feeding themselves while adults are at work.

Sandi 2 years ago

Sorry one thing I see short messages I’m upsetting my other longest mesdsges but got rhis messages it don’t made clear ….I want to be sure u habe my email.addy?…I read but its not there here is SandraAdamson62@gmail.com okay please contact me thank u so much I’m sorry I made two comments such a mess I’m tooo tired…anyone in this comment they can inbox me or email me
Thanks again for be patince!!
Sandi (hugs)…♥

Sandi 2 years ago

Hello ,..
This is Sandi..before I tell u that I’m deaf..I’m.so.upsetting I leave longesttt story on comment how serious I need help with food somehow it dispear ..please please email me or inbox I eill explain everything its realllly serious I got out of hospital due no fooood for eleven days!!..hold news please email.me so I can explain.allll.over again I’m so si tired surprised me it dispear after I clicked subit…hope u got this then contact me….I’m.telling u I’m SCREAMING for help with food I already explain clear and long but dispear…anyway I’m so tiredd right now I got out of hospital few.days ago due.no food my health this happened few times I can’t take anymore.sorry please email me I will explined all over again its very serious I almost not made it …hold news ..many thanks and will.ne.so much.appericated it so much wh en u.responsed.me.I beg u pleaseee u habe no.idea how serious I.mean.its.urgent!!!…
Hmm thanks again..hope to hear from u real soon …oh let u knoe I am deaf in case forgot to mention also u know why my senstence not good I try my best!! Even I’m.so.so tired I just send longesttt comment its good one…
Okay good nite ..
Pray to hear from u anytime after u read this pretty please
Thank u for ur time…

Virginia Llorca 2 years ago

Further research shows I was not spreading misinformation and SNAP benefits may be used for an inexpensive meal in a restaurant in certain areas.

” In some areas, restaurants can be authorized to accept SNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly, or disabled people in exchange for low-cost meals. “

Lois 2 years ago

I hear ya… stuff happens that we didn’t plan for and beating up on ourselves is counterproductive, just as being beat up on by others is, too. I was so surprised when I began to bash myself over things I had no control over. We will make it through this! I know it!

sigh1234 2 years ago

By the grace of God….not quite there but it has been such a struggle. Do without a lot that people take for granted by I deal. BUT, if I hear “PLAN BETTER” I will go wacko. I did not plan for corporate bankruptcy, political deception and corporate failure, an ex husband with little integrity, medical crisis, and on and on. Lots of coulda, woulda, shoulda. Not the way I wanted to live my life and the daily whack about the head and shoulders is counterproductive.

Chris C. 2 years ago

I am fortunate enough to never have been in a position to need food stamps or other assistance, but your post still brought tears to my eyes. So, question for those of you who HAVE experienced this. What should I be donating to the food pantry? I usually just give pasta and canned veggies and basics like that, but what are the treats you’d be really excited to find there?

Mindy H. 2 years ago

It amazes me how people can still be so ignorant. I’m not one of “those people” but I volunteer helping stock and give out food to those people at our local food bank. You have no idea what someone’s been through and just because they need a little help doesn’t mean they’re different then us. We all need help, just in different ways. As if it’s not hard enough for them to go into places like that and admit they need help, they have to deal with rude people like that who look down on them. There are many people who work but just don’t make enough to pay all their bills and feed their family. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, food is expensive! And what about the families where someone has become ill and they have to put their money towards ensuring their medical bills are paid? It enfuriates me that someone who knows NOTHING about these people to be so discriminatory!

Angela 2 years ago

I am one of Those People.

My husband had a massive stroke August 17th. He had to have a craniectomy over night to save his life. He was in critical condition in NNICU for 2 1/2 weeks. We didn’t know if he were going to live or not.
When he had his stroke, his work had been slow so we were behind in some bills. He was the only one working because I have health issues preventing me from working myself. His work actually started picking up the night before he had his stroke.his business was related to the college students coming back into town. Everything was going to be okay for us money wise in about a week.

He had some problems and one was his memory. He told me just the day before he was forgetting things. Like the the was driving while driving. I told him to go to the doctor and be said he couldn’t afford to be in the hospital a couple of days.

He was in there from August 17th until October 10th. When he left NNICU, they didn’t know if he’d be able to swallow. They thought he may have a trach permanently along with a a PEG tube for feeding in his stomach. Also, he was paralyzed on his left side.

I became one of Those People. I was scared to death and had no idea what to do. My cousin came down with in the first days and made me take care of things. He made me go sign up for SNAP, so my kids could eat. As well as Medicaid for them and my husband.

We don’t have a car and live in the county and with traffic it took me an hour done days to get to my husband. My cousin was a blessing.

My husband went to rehab. He’s able to talk, the trach was removed and he’s eating. Real food. The tube was removed. He’s still paralyzed on the left side, he has problems with his vision. He can’t see anything out the left side of both eyes until it’s right in front of him. He just had a cranioplasty on Wednesday, October 23rd. There was a brain bleed as well. But it was on the right side. They’ve said the right side is already completely damaged, so no more problems came from the bleed. There’s memory issues and a few other things. But…. He’s alive. He’s smile may be lopsided, but he smiles. The doctors say he’s disabled. I don’t know if it’s permanent. He wants to work now. He’s already going stir crazy. We’re worried about the lights getting turned off, about getting evicted, about getting a car to get to all these doctor appointments. We’re upset about disappointing our kids when they have no presents. Two have birthdays before Christmas. They’ve already been through so much and are missing out on a lot.

We’ll be one of Those Families for a while.

Jenny 2 years ago

Pretty sure the dog food comment was a joke. Gah. At least I hope it was. You don’t want to eat what’s in standard dog food, believe me.

And Heather, really? “Wasting their money on other things”? I have a dog, and he is part of my family. During our leanest of times, the times I had to suck it up and go to the food shelf, I actually begged for dog food from my friends who are also dog lovers. And when I had some extra $$$ I bought him dog food.

I’m not in the position yet where I can actually go out and buy bags of food to donate, but you can bet your hiney that when I do, there will be dog food in there.

Thanks for reading!

Jade 2 years ago

Unholy bitch. I’m so angry I could spit nails. Quinoa is filling and great for those who can’t afford anything. Us organic people are smart shoppers too. Needs smacked for dissing us organics only families AND coming from a poor-as-dirt household growing up.

KerriC 2 years ago

I have been one of “those people” and quite honestly could be one right at the moment. But there are those who are far worse off than me and need the help more than I do. I know some of the judgemental types who really do have and give attitude everytime they see anyone with their EBT card in hand. I know some who put on the we have for everyone yet eat canned beans every night for dinner so no one knows how tight their budget it; these seem to be the harshest critics. I know others who do like I do and will give their last morsel to anyone in need as long their own children have full bellies. I know those who have nothing and are ungrateful for any help they may receive because they feel entitled. It’s a sucky attitude. I will take a billion “Those People” to 1 jerk who has never done without anyday. If for no other reason “Those People” are resourceful, and generous and can survive anything from hunger to the Zombie Apocalypse, while the others, well, they’ll be the zombies.

Kris 2 years ago

Excellent point!

Granny Tenderstone 2 years ago

This is some great writing and subject matter. I enjoyed it immensely and shared it on my timeline on fb. In fact your ability to not mince words remind me of myself, now you’ve got me thinking about calling myself Scary Granny LOL~!!!

Suzy 2 years ago

While I haven’t visited a food bank, I have had the “privilege” of going to the Cabinet for Families & Children to apply for Medicaid. It was a scary place but paying $20 a month for healthcare for my kid was better than paying $200 when I didn’t have a job. My nephew had to have it too b/c my brother & sister-in-law were out of work as actors. My dad goes off on a rant constantly about healthcare for “poor people” & I constantly remind him of our situation. He worked in corporate America for 40+ years and has never gone without healthcare so he has no concept of how difficult things can get. Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

sioushi 2 years ago

I donate instant mashed potatoes because I don’t know if the recipient has access to a stove, an oven, and a pot of water to cook whole potatoes, or does all cooking on a hot plate. Or whether the arthritis in their hands lets them peel potatoes. I donate both dried and canned beans for the same reason. There is no “one size fits all” donation, and the worst donation models are the ones where people are not allowed to browse according to their needs, but are given a random pick by an often-clueless volunteer. Like the time I saw someone passing out cans of beets instead of tomatoes because it qualified as “one can red vegetable.” Yeah, because beet lasagne, beet chili, and beet marinara is so nutritious.
Similarly, the worst donations are given by those who clean decayed or useless food out of their pantries on the grounds that “beggars can’t be choosers.” I have friends on food stamps who are deathly allergic to soy and fish. They weren’t being “picky and ungrateful” when they turned down canned salmon and soy protein-laden stuffing mix; they were trying not to die.
I am very sorry that the experience made you feel “less than.”

Kat 2 years ago

A wonderful post, but dear Jennifer, did you not say to her “No, BUT I HAVE BEEN, and so could you!”! That’s the closure I was looking for in this otherwise wise, observant and compassionate post of yours. We’re all responsible for correcting these persistent and oppressive falsehoods – especially this one about self and “other.” I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s SO IMPORTANT. Next time, maybe…

Karly 2 years ago

I went to the food shelf for the first time ever this year, toting my 4, 3, 2 year old and my very pregnant belly with me. I was scared out of mind. I worried that I would be turned away, or judged harshly as someone who “shouldn’t have kids if you can’t take care of them”. I had to do it alone with the kids, because I knew if I told my husband ahead of time he would have told me no, because his pride is larger than mine. But we were hungry, and I’d been pretending to eat for days so I could feed the girls and my husband.

We didn’t get quinoa, anything fresh, or anything protein beyond two packs of frozen pork patties, but we got awesome loaves of fresh bakery bread, mac and cheese, ramen, canned applesauce, chicken broth and about ten pounds of green beans. We also got one sleeve of crackers and two giant bags of grapefruit and two jugs of grapefruit juice.

If I wasn’t pregnant, I could have rocked the grapefruit diet, seriously.

Although it wasn’t what I expected (I honestly didn’t know what I expected), I was still extremely grateful and learned a lot about how to cook with random items, and how to donate better, more varietal foods and how to share. We later got on food stamps, and when our neighbor’s apartment burned down right above us, we used what we had to help them survive. Karma pays, because we’re almost out of our hole and our future is looking better than ever.

We were “those people” but we’ll never be ashamed.

Karen 2 years ago

GO to the food pantry because you just might qualify. And you may also qualify for assistance with those bills if the agency has it. Where I live you can get assistance once time per year. You have to bring proof of income for that month and the bills you need assistance with. When you really do need it, that help is a godsend. I have been called often in the years since I used assistance because they had money open up (through grants or large local donations) and had me on a list. It never failed that I had just paid or had money to pay at that time. However, when I don’t, I make that call and see if they can help. Sometimes they can, but not as often because more folks are in the same boat.

Food pantry: call and ask what documents you need. Since you have a more traditional job, it should be easy to show your income and bills. Our situation is stickier because we get checks but no real “paystubs” until this past week when the company changed accounting systems. But if you need it badly enough, you can find a way to document what you need. Most everyone around here just lies. I won’t, but I will say what is on my mind.

Finally, we all must remember that only ONE thing really keeps us from sickness or living on the street. GRACE. Call it whatever you want in whatever belief system you choose. I call it the Grace of God. If it weren’t for that, I’d be there now, degrees, sophistication and all.

Amber 2 years ago

When I was around 4 or 5, my mom was a high school dropout single mother of 4 who couldn’t make ends meet. To this day she will brag smugly about how she never used welfare, food stamps, or any other government assistance, usually in the vein of judging those who do. All I hear is, “My children had days of going without food because I prioritized my pride over their well-being.” I don’t much care who she is in the eyes of everyone else. I just know she was a shitty mother, the opposite of you. Stand proud. You’ll always be able to brag that you did whatever you had to in order to prevent your children from starving.

Anita 2 years ago

I’m not one of those people. I came close one time but I couldn’t go in. I did want to relate a similar story. I was with a group of women preparing boxes of coloring books and small toys to send to a local woman’s shelter. One woman commented that “those” women and their children didn’t have much to begin with. I informed her that even “well off” women have to leave home without their belongings and those of their children. Some people just don’t realize what life is like outside of their own sphere of existence. Thanks for sharing your story.

Mary 2 years ago

I have been on both sides of the coin. A few takeaways from the comments I have read:
1) To the food pantry worker who was annoyed that a client would not take an offered zucchini….I hate to break it to you but the poor have a right to make choices. When I was a kid I had free lunch and one of the lunch monitors would force me to clean my plate. The kids who paid full price did not suffer this humiliation. You are not the food police.. you are a volunteer. If you don’t like it, quit.

2. Never assume what one knows/does not know/can do/cannot do….staples are good but so are fun foods as a treat. God knows people who have to shame themselves to go to a food bank need a pick me up.

koko 2 years ago

Thank you, you said what I was trying to say, in another comment, more eloquently. Many people on welfare or in poverty simply have limited nutrition and food knowledge, and limited food preparation areas, through no fault of their own. The person donating needs to keep those limitations in mind.

koko 2 years ago

Thank you. I think everyone is getting offended by the “those people” remark, but there is some truth, albeit harsh in her initial statement about knowing how to cook.

People in poverty or on assistance certainly need better nutrition options than canned peas and mac & cheese. BUT a fancy can of marinated artichoke hearts or a box of quinoa probably isn’t going to get taken and will just go to waste. Local food banks in my area had to have cooking classes to show people how to cook using canned goods. They weren’t coming to the food bank because they didn’t know what to do with the unprepared food…There are people in poverty (and in general) that have no idea how to cook because $1 menu fast foods items and other prepared food is so much more common and convenient that a lot (I assume younger) people never had to cook before. So in hind sight, I don’t think donating quinoa is the best idea ever, although I understand the good intention. Food donation is about practicality and resourcefulness, you have think about the educational or preparation limits of the person that’s going to use the good. It’s not a contest to see who can donate the most expensive items. Don’t donate expired items, don’t only donate your pantry leftovers of weird crap that even your family won’t eat. Get basic, simple, and nutritious things that can be used in a variety of ways and that are popular in this country. I’m sorry, but quinoa isn’t a common dish. It’d be like donating amaranth or buckwheat or couscous. These are grains, like buckwheat aren’t popular anymore, and/or are only known in ethnic or geographic subsets, like cous cous and amaranth. They are nutritious and cheap, but they’re also Whole Foods chic and the average person on assistance or in poverty probably never tasted them before and won’t know how to cook them. Hell, the Average “middle class” person probably never made them either. Who do you know that eats groats anymore? Jeez.

Wingnut 2 years ago

Thank you Joy. Of all the many places I’ve lived in the various states I’ve lived I miss New Mexico the most. I thank God for First Baptist Church and my time spent on those six different colored buses when we worked with the bus ministry there in the 70’s. That church was one of the most caring places I knew growing up. The whole community was a place where we walked at night, enjoyed the rose garden, community events, and all those small town things that people do. Living near a military base made it meaningful also. But because of the economy in NW, I don’t know that I’ll be able to go back unless I get super rich off one of these many things I love to do. So maybe I can visit one day.

Shelly 2 years ago

A friend posted this link on FB, and I wanted to tell you directly what I commented:

Thanks for the prospective reminder. It’s easy to get caught up being resentful of the forest of ‘those people’ that seem to strive to happily live off all the government provided programs and charities that provide all sorts of needs – seeming to feel they are ‘owed’, that we begin to not noticed the individual trees that only need a helping hand today but are working as hard as they can to hold their own, feeling more shame from being a burden or having to take the handout and full of thankfulness looking forward to the day that they can repay the favor in some way.

So Thank You. It is good to be reminded

Jessica II 2 years ago

If it was something they cleaned out of their pantry then it obviously must be something they were willing to feed their family or why else did they stick it in their pantry to begin with?

Joy 2 years ago

Hmmm… I do believe that they have also been taxpayers, so I’d say they’re just getting back what they paid in!

Joy 2 years ago

Dear Wingnut,
I am writing this from the great state of New Mexico, the awesome city of Alamogordo! Why is it awesome? Because my family, my heart is here. I loved reading what you wrote here and below.
I too, have been “those people”. I have a college degree, a license to teach elementary school, but the schools here can only afford to hire the inexperienced that they can pay less. I work in a call center making a bit over minimum wage. Sometimes life sucks, but we just have to keep on keeping on, and yes sometimes that does include asking for help.

Joy 2 years ago

SMH ~ “Frequent fliers”? “Done nothing to better themselves”? Do you know their circumstances? Have you been there for 18 years? Thank God they’re trying to keep their children, their families, theirselves feed and not eating out of a dumpster!

Chris Satsuma 2 years ago

Thank you for your post. I am one of “those people” and I certainly know what quinoa is. I hate having to use the food bank, and sometimes I’m so busy working less than minimum wage jobs (yes, these exist and I’m desperate enough to take anything I can find to try to pay the rent) that I don’t even have time to go. At least here, the food banks require long waiting in lines and sometimes I don’t have time even though I need the food. The disdain of people is the worst. They look down on you like you are defective. I am one of those people who did everything right–Master’s degree, great grades, stellar work record (although all I’ve ever been able to find is temp work and people use that against me–it’s not my fault businesses only hire people temp these days!) and I’m about six days away from not being able to pay my rent. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but it helps to see that someone gets it. Praying for us all.

Virginia Llorca 2 years ago

Please excuse my incorrect reporting. It has been over a year since I saw that sign on McDonald’s door in Chicago, near the DMV on Addison, so perhaps it has been taken down.

benjamin crabbe 2 years ago

mechanically separated turkey was the worst thing i ever got from a food shelf. utterly inedible, i’ve had to ‘sleep rough’ (aka outdoors) or listen to preachers before they would feed us then sleep on a floor at the Dorothy Day Center where you kept your boots on or they would be gone in the morning, being deaf this was unsettling as i couldn’t HEAR the creepers coming. a food shelf is helpful if you have a place to cook your food, food stamps are helpful if you have a place to cook your food. being homeless and hungry and tired all the time because they kick you out of the shelter and you need to find a place to go all day is freaking rough. pretty hard to go to a job interview when you are carting everything you own with you, not a real pro type look, you know? just glad i know how to forage and have good folk in my life that would give me a hand. we are all in this together and no one gets out alive, so have some freaking COMPASSION, most folk have no clue how easy it is to end up on the street.

Nahuatl Vargas 2 years ago

Thank you very much Anna, you are very kind.
We live in Mexico, so there is not that kind of support, but we are going a day at the time, and I still haven’t explore other options like working in a company 6 days a week including weekends because I really want to be with my son. I give sewing classes in a woman’s shelter and I sell cakes outside my kid’s school in the morning and the afternoon. I don’t get any support from the dad and my family lives in a different country, but still we will manage, we have lots of loving and supporting friends here. Sorry if the list of details was too much, I just wanted to thank you.

Conuly 2 years ago

Yes, autocorrect does funny things sometimes. I did mean “immoral”.

He might not have had free time and money, and he might not have been able to get a new job first. Following your conscience might be unpopular or difficult, but it is rarely selfish – and no, I don’t think this is an example of those few, rare moments.

Anna 2 years ago

I work with a food bank, which distributes food to food pantries/shelves and I can tell you it depends on the food pantry. Some will make you jump through many hoops (such as bringing your Social Security cards for everyone in the household, proof of residence, and proof of income) while some will take it on faith that you are in need and will only ask for your name and the number of people in your family (we ask them to do at least this so that we can track the number of people we serve).

Anna 2 years ago

Please search on http://feedingamerica.org/ to find a food bank in your area that will direct you to a food shelf. Or try calling 211 which is the United Way helpline.

Anna 2 years ago

You can’t use SNAP at fast food restaurants, per the USDA: http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailers/eligible.htm
Please do not spread misinformation.

Also, the USDA distributes the commodities to food banks, who then distribute it to the food pantries/food shelves, who distribute it to the people who need it.

Stephanie 2 years ago

A gallon of vinegar can be used for homemade cleaning supplies. I buy them often.

Virginia 2 years ago

Hi Karen,
Even if you don’t qualify for foodstamps, you should be able to get food from the local pantry. I don’t think they check income at those places (though I’m not 100% sure)

Virginia 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing this story. My dad died when I was ten; my sister was eight and my brother was two. My mom couldn’t bring herself to face the public shame of food banks or welfare.
As an adult, I had to choose to stay in an abusive marriage or lose my stability. It costs extra money to feed myself due to food allergies. I had to weigh the extra cost of my groceries in this decision. I got divorced a few years ago but I’ve never been able to get back on my feet.
I don’t qualify for public services but my boyfriend does, and those foodstamps make a world of difference in our lives. Today we purchased food with stamps for the first time in my life. I wanted to cry tears of joy. For the record, we are both underemployed and have three college degrees between the two of us. I can only imagine the weight of this struggle with children added to the mix.

Desiree 2 years ago

Thank you so much Anna.

Let’s get something straight….#1 let’s drop the quotes…my fiancee #2 I said he makes good money to say, shit is real out there…New York City is extremely expensive and though he makes money we barely see it. Make use of Google and read…it’s out there. The cost of living is high and the wages are staying the same. #3 I’m a college student/ stay at home mother because my child had heart surgery and his first year of being on this earth is going to be in my hands…no one else’s #4 I’m 33 working on a second degree so I don’t have to depend on food stamps in the long run and out of my 33 yrs of living on this earth, I’ve worked 18 of them so my taxes went into the system also…….Do the math.

Now where do you get this “I will NEVER be you” shit from? Did I say you would be? and since we’re on that how about saying “There but for the grace of God, Go I” cause you never know you judgemental piece of shit. Oh and I’m on unemployment with taxes taken out….We’ll just say those taxes are feeding me and my family. Before you fix your fingers to type a bunch of bullshit know the story, or get to know. Or just read!!!! It’s a horrible four letter word most are afraid of.

Janice Brady 2 years ago

I just read some of these stories. Is it a crime to b poor? .(ask any poor person this ? & they will probably remember a time when they felt as if they were). Wealth is not the opposite of poor, justice is. It is (or should b) a crime for anyone to be resentful/jealous/mad/judgmental, etc, towards a parent who is doing his/her best to feed their families. And, that means , yes, going to a food-bank, applying for government assistance (if u can qualify) , & asking for help. It is not a crime to be poor.

Janice Brady 2 years ago

I love reading all the comments because it helps me. It helps me because now I know I am not alone. I used to have $$$. I used to have a good job. I used to have good health. I used to have full fridge & cupboards. Things Got harder & harder. I got poorer & poorer. The most striking thing to me about all this is: I find it very disturbing that anyone could be mad/jealous/or look down upon pple just because they r poor and need help to feed their children & themselves.

tiffani jones 2 years ago

As one of “those people” myself, I strongly believe you should have told that woman right then that you are one of them. There is no shame in feeding your family. She is the shameful one.

Keith Hoffman 2 years ago

I think you should try slate or salon for wider publication of this article…

Karen 2 years ago

I am high school teacher. I have been a single mom supporting two kids for the past several years. I moved to NC to accept a great teaching job, and to be close to family. I haven’t had a raise since 2008, when I started working here. I always considered myself middle class when I was growing up (mom was an LPN, dad a construction superintendent). Now I am, in reality, lower class. My monthly salary is just barely enough to cover expenses, and sometimes it doesn’t. I have no TV service, do not buy any luxury items, never take my kids anywhere (movies, bowling, etc.) and we do not eat out. I cook from scratch, since that is usually less expensive and healthier than processed foods, and because I cannot afford medical co-pays, so everyone needs to stay as healthy as possible. I try growing what food I can in our backyard, which is sand, not dirt. I have not been to the dentist in three years, because I cannot afford the procedures needed to repair my teeth. I do not run errands or go anywhere I don’t have to, in order to save gas money. We are being as frugal as I know how, and I am watching the power of my income slip away every month as prices rise. The last time my car needed to be repaired, I hocked jewelry (from a more prosperous time) until I could pay the bill. I was very grateful that I had things to hock, but now I have nothing left of any value. I have no savings, little retirement, and I will be 60 this year. I would like to move to another state where I can get paid better, but I have no money for a truck, gas, or security deposits. I already declared bankruptcy, and I still have about $10,000 in school loans to pay back. That is my only debt, but my credit is going to be ruined for several years. My daughter wants to work and go to college, but her car needs repairs I cannot afford. My son wants to work as well, but if I get him a driver’s license, my car insurance will go up beyond my capacity to pay. I feel trapped and isolated. There are days, like today, at the end of the month, when I fight to hold back the tears at work. I have not gone to a food pantry because I doubt I would qualify. It is depressing, and I am well aware that my circumstances are not nearly as desperate as many other’s. Reading the stories in this post fills me with sadness that so many people are suffering. I just read the other day that one percent of the people hold 40% of the nation’s wealth, and the middle class is shrinking quickly. I am no economist, but something is wrong here.

Wingnut 2 years ago


Apparently I should have gone to get “a real job” instead of joining the military where I needed WIC and could have used food stamps to survive.

I must have been on the government dole while I was in Germany working overtime to make sure our job was done right to support deployed soldiers and their families, or when I came back to the US and did whatever I needed to do to keep my family fed.

Many of us have food to eat because of those “handouts.” Do you know how many of “those people” are military vets who have looked for a job with no success? Do you realize how many of them have education, have the skills, and are determined to work well with others? They have already proved that they can move from one place to another and quickly adapt to get the job done regardless of how much is provided to do it. Sometimes they bring their supplies to work and keep mum about it because that is what they need to do their job.

Some of US “those people” on “the government dole” are actually honest, hardworking people who just want to have enough to see our families provided for without worrying about whether to choose between a power bill and food, or between the phone bill to stay in touch with family far away (or even work that requires you to have phone contact as a condition of employment) and gas to go to work.

Some of us do not have a choice to carpool, take a bus or take a train. There is no bus or train where I live. The carpool won’t leave at 6 and stay until whenever the job ends.

Thankfully, we have just weaned from food stamps because, even though we still need them, we are doing without them because hubby signed on a company as a contractor and doesn’t get weekly or monthly statements to “prove” his income. This is changing, but we hope to get by without re-applying.

INstead, this well educated (four years college and just graduated, now pursuing my master) veteran of 8 years honorable military service in a job that SHOULD translate easily into very well paid jobs but hasn’t–is going back to the local food bank. Hopefully they will take my word for what our “income” is and help us with what we need until we can make it without this assistance.

It is a matter of finding the hours, meeting for an appointment, and getting on the schedule. Until then, I will try to plan my “poor man’s meals” without tearing our stomachs up and count pennies to make do.

And free handouts? they aren’t. NOTHING is free. You always have to do something to receive it. I’m not saying folks don’t abuse the system because they do, they get over and it is sickening how it works.

BUT: my point is that “those people” do not all live the way you say. And a growing number of them earned through extreme personal sacrifice that you can’t imagine unless you have done it to find themselves in such a situation as “those people.”

AND because of this economy, current policies and the way this country is headed. . . .soon enough YOU may be one of them. I hope you don’t complain about your free handout then. It cost me enough.

Karen 2 years ago

I agree totally. It’s impossible for anyone out of work to go to a job interview when you can’t clean yourself up. Simple things we never think of– shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, deodorant– make a huge difference in whether or not they may be hired. It also makes an even bigger difference in how a person feels about themselves.

Esther 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story! We’ve been ‘those’ people a lot this past few years as my husband has been laid off from one job after another and health problems have plagued us both.
I still wouldn’t touch the quinoa though… :-)

Richard 2 years ago

Those people…that live off the government and tax payers money with food stamps and WIC….those people that expect handouts rather than earn it…those people should get jobs like the rest of us and stop complaining about the free handouts you do get when you shouldn’t at all!

Fred P 2 years ago

My friend Alison talks a lot about those people. I chuckle because she probably doesn’t know that many of the people she is hanging out with were “those people” at one point in their lives. When I lost my job I was so thankful for the Neighbors in Need who helped me with an incredible food selection. They were particulary fond of collecting pies for the hungry. I met immigrants from Russia and China, and struggling neighbors at the food pantry. After I got a job, I volunteered one day a month at the pantry and the folks who worked there were angelic. Not every food pantry is heavenly, but helping our neighbors in need is good karma and it creates community.

Lindsie 2 years ago

*Jennifer… I am sorry, I just emailed the site admin… Sorry!

Lindsie 2 years ago


The food bank that I worked with in North Carolina has a campaign that they run called “Hungry Kate”. The premise of the campaign is that Kate looks like a ‘normal’ girl, and goes to a ‘normal’ school, but there is something we don’t know about Kate. She is hungry. Her dad lost his job, and her parents now have to struggle between paying the bills or feeding the family. It’s very eyeopening and touching. People need to see more things like this so that they are not so quick to judge because they really don’t know what is going on behind the scenes. Thanks so much for sharing your story with everyone. <3

Lindsie 2 years ago

Great post! Thank you so much for sharing. Together we can fight hunger in our communities, and I think it is great that families donated all sorts of different items. Helps people with allergies, and other dietary concerns. Thank you for sharing, Jill!

Wingnut 2 years ago

My father was a life-long bi-vocational pastor with a bachelor degree in electronic engineering and a master’s degree of divinity (you know, for preachers). My mother earned a bachelor in early childhood education and a master in religious education. I grew up speaking NON-baby language because that is the way my parents said things; thus I sound somewhat educated.

As in “not those people.”

Read between the lines. The degrees earned related directly to missionary work my parents thought they were called, and then failed the extreme physical exams that were done in the 50’s 60’s for potential missionaries.

So my dad became a bi-vocational preacher. For PAY, he worked computer programming when most people associated computers with science fiction movies. His pay was considered “good,” but then his employment with contractors for the government led to long periods of UNemployment between.

Daddy has always believed that the government does not belong in his business, and to accept anything from the government forced it into our business. Instead, he went to the church.

I don’t know how God provided, but he did. People came bringing money when the unemployment check ran out before he found the next job. His preaching in place of a sick pastor brought in small gratuities that covered gas and maybe the phone or water bill. But it was something.

“not those people”

Daddy drove the church bus as one of his “ways to serve.” One Thanksgiving as Momma was planning baked apples, pintos and pancakes because that was what was available. (Grandma sent cannisters of whole wheat flour, white flour, and pinto beans along with crates of fresh apples from Tehachipi where she lived) to us in New Mexico (and after we moved, to Arizona).

The children’s church held a food drive for “a local family” and while my dad (also on the children’s church ministry team) was coaxed into sitting through the regular service with his family. After church, all the kids were laughing and giggling about the big surprise. Daddy was so clueless as the asked if they could come to our house for dinner. He said, “You don’t want to come to my house because the pantry is empty.” That made them laugh harder.

The last child was dropped at his door, Daddy returned the boss to the church and we drove home. Momma met us at the door with tears streaming down her face and a letter from the church.

“Honey, this was on the door when I got home.”

I don’t remember what we ate for Thanksgiving. I just remember being real glad it wasn’t baked apples and pintos. . . again.

So yes, we were “those people” in 1974 after 6 months of unemployment and few interviews that led to anything. My dad, the super educated, super genius brain did his best to mow lawns (allergic to grass), paint (oh you do NOT want my dad to paint), carpentry (egad please no) or whatever he could do to “earn” enough to pay something. And he sold Amway. God saw us through it by finding the right people to put in our path because there were no pantries in 1974 in Alamogordo.

I left the Army in 1995 to return to Houston (where my family settled when Daddy finally got a civilian job with a civilian company that had nothing to do with a government contract) and walked downtown around City Hall, the Galleria, and other places while I wondered how I was going to support my son as a fresh vet single mom whose computer skills were wonderful, and just barely out of date for all the latest crazes employers wanted.

I ran into a homeless college professor sweeping the sidewalk in front of where a food-serving event or something had just finished. What was a PhD educated college professor doing sweeping a street? His department lost in the budget wars and he lost his job.

But he wasn’t “those people” either.

It isn’t always that way. After that, I remarried, my new hubby got a great job in Philly making very good money. Because I was so used to feeding our family on $75 per two weeks with no help (including everything), I thought $40 a week allotted for just FOOD was like Christmas morning. I tightened the belt so we could maintain our tight budget on this great pay to catch up. We did. As the budget grew, we ate better, more fresh fruit, salad, wonderful salad.

We climbed from the hole and had it made. We helped others where we saw needs that we could actually do something about. I went with my church to the soup kitchen once a month (it was a schedule that all participating churches do there).

Then we lost everything. from 1k per week to nada. We moved to Alabama where he has family and lived on the Grace of God and the goodwill of friends. I found a job, but he didn’t. It didn’t pay much, but it covered gas, and then gas and the water. And slowly we rose. And then the job fizzled. He kept looking for work, but his skills just didn’t seem to quite match up. A vet with practical skills in computer operations, communications, and all this—but couldn’t get hired for anything? Stuck. Broke. And the living we had with all the accounts. . . now debt.

And no way to pay bills. I put on my soldier face and hit the Salvation Army, the Hope House and the Food Stamp Office. It was supposed to be temporary, and I was devastated that we needed to do it at all.

Now by necessity I am at home. I work freelance marketing and writing. Hubby is now retraining in a new career as a plumber’s apprentice making just enough to put us barely over the food stamp max. It is very rough because, broke as we were attempting to pay bills, as long as we had food stamps we still had food.

We don’t now. I’ve avoided the food pantries, but if his slow paychecks keep up, I may return. We still have no way to pay debt, I’m hoping to rev my client list to earn enough money to cover something, and I’m back in school hoping to use the new knowledge to earn real dollars with practical knowledge.

I’ve always sounded educated. Now I have an Assoc and Bach to back it up. I’m working on my Master now. I hope I learn how to do the things I need to find funding to run a business, to manage people, to creatively market in this new crazy economy. BUT—no matter how high I climb, how hard I work, how well I succeed…

I will always be one unpaid gig away from once again being “those people” . . . and so will you.

If you are alive today, you are “those people.” Maybe you just don’t know it yet.

Jill C 2 years ago

I should have been more clear – it WAS a special Thanksgiving basket, that I was given two days before Thanksgiving. I still don’t think it was a deliberate insult. But I have come to believe that people deserve fresh, real food, regardless of their station in life.
This includes people in prison. If you think food from a food shelf is bad, you should see what we feed prisoners in this country. Considering that half the problems that bring them to prison could likely be solved by proper nutrition, it’s a crime what we feed prisoners.
Or the GMOs we suffer upon the poor, starving peoples of the world. I guess I am becoming guilty of becoming one of those people with a “War is Not the Answer” bumper stickers (OK, so what IS the answer?), but people deserve real, fresh, sustainably produced food.

Jyllian Siegel 2 years ago

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” Plato
Even the woman without a censor. Though you were taken a back, you approached the incident with dignity and grace. Bravo!

Joe 2 years ago


That didn’t make as much sense as you thought it did. Perhaps you didn’t mean “moral.”
In any case, the less selfish thing to do would have been to consider others or at the very least the kids.
He could have secured a new, sustaining job before quitting. Or he could have used his free time/money to help those unfortunate kids.
But no, instead we get to pay for his fragile sensibilities.

Conuly 2 years ago

Yes, her husband should have simply acquiesced and continued doing something moral to earn a living. If you can stay off the public dime by selling drugs or prostitution or acting as a hired gun, well, what are you waiting for? Get to it!

Jenny 2 years ago

OMG. Robin, this made me bawl like a baby. Absolutely beautiful.

Thank you for reading my story, and for sharing yours.


Jessica 2 years ago

There will always be people playing the system for their benefit. And lots who are genuinely in need.
The real question is, why, Joe, are you attracting so many people who are the “bad guys” in this system? (Referring to “You would not believe how many people I know go in for assistance when it comes to food and they do things like buy alcohol or Marijuana.”) They are abusers, and they are somehow in your life. We tend to attract people with similarities, so although you may not be abusing this particular system, I’m willing to bet you’re not exactly the nicest guy out there. Good luck to ya.

SB 2 years ago

The company I work for also does themed food drives and the last one was peanut butter and jelly. Having only 20 dollars in my account to last me a few days until payday, I stood in front of the peanut butter aisle mentally arguing with myself about whether I should buy the name brand or generic to donate. If I bought the name brand I could only afford to buy 1 jar and still be able to purchase the few necessities I needed to get my family through until payday, but if I bought the generic I could afford to buy 2 jars. I chose to buy the generic with the thought that 2 jars will feed more hungry people than 1.

Jessica 2 years ago

It doesn’t matter if someone specifically goes to the grocery store, or cleans out a cabinet. It’s still giving and gracious no matter what. It’s like saying that emptying your pockets to give whatever money you have on you isn’t as good as actually going to an ATM to withdraw money for donation. Giving is giving.

And by the way, I buy generic all the time…because it’s THE SAME THING, it just lacks a pretty branding appeal. That is the definition of generic.

Kristina 2 years ago

I could have easily been “one of those people”. See I had a daughter after I had just turned 16. We all know the statics are not great for teen moms. Her father left the picture when she was 6 months and there I was, single teen mom. Thankfully, I had a good family support system and flexible schooling. I was able to stay in high school and take classes at home and even attend college through a PSEO program. I will admit, I was on WIC for formula and daycare assistance for 1 year, but I had a part time job and I went to high school and college combined full time.

Now my daughter is 12 and in addition, I have a 4 year old daughter and a son who is 2. I have a wonderful husband who was willing to accept my “situation” and has helped turned our lives around. I am still attending part time college to finish my degree and recently was offered a fantastic job opportunity at a fortune 500 company.

I am now “one of those people” who will do anything and everything to help others who are in need. My oldest daughter and I volunteer often and donate services and goods to what ever cause my come our way. See, I now am fortunate to not have to rely on the ‘system’ and feel it is my duty to help repay society for allowing me mature and have a real chance at a successful and fulfilling life.

Joe 2 years ago

So your husband quit a perfectly good job so that you could have taxpayers pay for your groceries. Gee, thanks.
That’s extremely selfish.

Molly 2 years ago

I’m one of “those” people. My husband and I both have masters degrees and I have two part-time jobs instead of one full time job with benefits. My husband resigned from a teaching position because the school district he worked for wanted him to force out “unprofitable” students — minorities, homeless kids, special education students. That’s the word they used, unprofitable. The least among us, “those people.”

I applied for DHS assistance over the summer. My husband’s summer school parapro position barely paid more than minimum wage and was only a month long. We were scared and our checking account was overdrawn by $200 and I didn’t know how to keep putting gas in the car and paying our mortgage and feeding our kids all at the same time. We got $503 in food assistance and it made all the difference in the world to us. I’m grateful for every cent we get and if I could, I’d tell everyone how much it’s helped. But when the cashier at the grocery store narrows her eyes at me when I take out that card and the woman behind me mutters about freeloaders, I don’t say anything.

What I want to say to them is, it could be you. I have a $150,000 college education and no student loan debt, just ten years of working my ass off while studying all night. I do worthwhile, difficult, valuable work for the county homeless coalition, helping people dig themselves out, because I see myself when I look at them. Being poor and educated sucks, because I know all of the things my kids are at increased risk for because we’re poor, and ignorance really can be bliss. So rotten bitch judging me at the grocery store, please, let’s trade lives. You can have my food stamps and my astonishing good fortune at knowing the system and having a soft place to land. I’ll take your first-world problems.

“Those people.” God, are you kidding me?

Marta 2 years ago

I found this to be absolutely heartbreaking. I cannot help but think every expletive about that woman. She is one of “those people”. Those ungrateful ignorant people. Thank you for your strength in not smacking those files out of her hand. I would have run out of there sobbing.

I’ve never had to go to a food shelf. I’ve always been planted firmly in middle class but still struggling and you know what, I have no idea what to do with quinoa.

Conuly 2 years ago

You know, to people with plenty of money, Mac and cheese is a choice.

To people on food stamps or who have to use a food bank, Mac and cheese is the food you eat at the end of the month because you have no more money.

I grew up eating way more of that stuff than was healthy, and my parents were able to afford butter and milk to make it. Eating that stuff month after month, you don’t want to eat it anymore. (You also get sick of PB&Js real fast.)

Not to mention, some people really cannot eat foods with food coloring, or gluten. They can do better with organic anything than “regular” boxed macaroni, and with quinoa over pasta. Yes, sometimes people who need help are also people with food restrictions.

Robin 2 years ago

Wow this spoke volumes to me. When I was younger my parents struggled to send me to a private school. I grew up in a neighborhood where poverty was the norm. My parents struggled working numerous jobs to guarantee that I received a quality education. But after a few years of me attending my private school, we fell on hard times. My father was ill and unable to work. My mother struggled to pick up additional work. My parents had made arrangements at my school to pay out my tutition all the while we had no food in our home. One day my school took our class to work a mandatory community service day at our local food bank. The kids laughed and joked about the various cans we sorted. Many made fun of the people who would eat the canned refried beans that we were having to glue photocopied labels on. I sat silently feeling shameful knowing that my own family was seeking out food at our church. A few days later I came in from school and found that our cabinets had food in them again. It fealt like Christmas as my brother and I looked through the goodies that filled the once barren shelves. There was a multitude of boxes and cans. As we got to the back of our newly stocked shelves I found two cans that had xerox paper labels. I picked them up and held them in my hands. There was the photocopied taco bell refried beans label that me and my well-to-to-do classmates had applied. I knew that I needed to speak up and use this moment. The next morning I told my teacher I had an announcement for the class. She surrendered the floor and watched me. I produced from my bag the can with the reject label. I sat it down on my teachers desk and said to my classmates. “My family Thanks You.” The class went silent before I had peoples arms around me. My welathy classmates had never seen hunger. As they applied those labels that day they thought of hunger as some foreign problem. I knew I had to let them know the truth. That hunger is all around. As for that can I still have the label.

Babs 2 years ago

I agree, and I’ll use the “those people” term in reverse here. Because my husband & I weren’t always struggling as we are now, some of my closest friends and connections over the past few years have been “those people”–the wealthy, or, let’s say (because some of them would not consider themselves wealthy) the “financially more comfortable” ones who honestly do not understand how humiliating it is, not only to have to receive food from a charity organisation, but to have to listen to (or read on Facebook and elsewhere) the condescending remarks about “lazy people who want to be supported with other people’s money,” and so on. Yet some of these same people who make such comments are, in person, friendly and generous. If they are harsh and judgmental, sometimes it’s because they haven’t been there. They need to hear our side of the story.

Ralph Haygood 2 years ago

“If only she knew.”: Tell her. You have nothing to be ashamed of. She has much to be ashamed of, including quite possibly voting for sociopaths.

Anna 2 years ago

Fond du Lac… She’s not sitting home all day, she SAID she was going to school! School is expensive! Living in NY is expensive! Think about the costs they’re paying out and then tell me a bus driver’s salary is “crazy good money”…

You’re being rather judgmental on a post about NOT JUDGING.

Joe 2 years ago

Why weren’t the children with the father?

Hope 2 years ago

Presently I am one of “those”people after becoming disabled three yrs ago and no longer able to work. Up until that time I have always worked and had a good paying job. Eventually the savings went, the nice apartment went, the car paid in full went, the solid silver coins and some gold jewelry. Now I live with a couple of friends in their basement. NO ONE ever knows what circumstance may change especially your health, and you could become one of “those”. Life doesn’t come with guarantees.
However, I still find myself abundantly blessed because I do have an EBT card to at least feed myself. It’s amazing what you can come up with using a micro and a 6 inch electric skillet to cook with. I could teach college kids how to make some awesome meals now that I have all this experience. LOL

heather 2 years ago

I agree. My daughter has alleries to a few things. So it is rare to find things she can eat.and the tings she can eat are expensive. So I Need what ever I can find for the rest of the family.

jan 2 years ago

The other mom, the one who referred to the recipients of the donated quinoa as “those people,” was obviously having some unmet needs of her own. I hope that she is able to quickly find the emotional equivalent of a food bank with generously stocked shelves, just as I hope anyone who is hungry is led to an overflowing pantry.

There but for the grace of God…

Nahuatl Vargas 2 years ago

I’m one of those peoples, but there is not food shelves were I live.

Laurie Damberg 2 years ago

Thank you for writing about this! I receive food stamps and at times I also donate some of the food I can “buy” with this benefit. I am SO grateful for this system. Some people do not have the means to even receive food stamps nor a place to put groceries such as the homeless. I help them too, when I can. If I found myself in the scenario you described, I would have taken it a step further and told her that I AM ONE of THOSE PEOPLE.

Fond du Lac 2 years ago

Your “fiancee” is making crazy good money with great benefits, and people who can barely make ends meet are getting taxed so you can sit at home all day and collect their wages to buy him food? You should both be ashamed of yourselves. “Shit” didn’t “happen” to you, you are gaming the system.

And no, I will NEVER be you.

Betsy 2 years ago

My sister was one of those people and her husband made too much money for her to get assistance – nevermind that her ex owed her 2 YEARS of back child support. She started a food share at her church – she fed her family and started with just 6 families that needed help. Now she feeds over 50 families and 2 soup kitchensin Chicago every other week… so her being one of those people has now helped hundreds. Some of them were people who just lost their jobs and help had not kicked in. The other more important thing she did – each person who comes in for help usually helps at the food share for a little while – they help others…not bad for one of those people!!

Valerie 2 years ago

I’ve never been one of Those People. I’ve been self-supporting since I was 17, worked my way through college, and have made enough at my little business to always be able to cover the bills. And what I think about that? I’ve been crazy, insanely lucky. Not smarter, not harder-working, not more “deserving” (not that I’m not those things, just not necessarily *more so*); just LUCKY. One divorce, one outsourced job, one bad illness/injury, one unplanned pregnancy and additional mouth to feed on an already-tight budget, could put an awful lot of us right there. I get tired of the smug lack of gratitude of people who don’t know enough of the world (and too much of Fox News) to understand that where they are has soooo much more to do with circumstance and luck than it does their own “bootstraps.” Bless you for sharing your story, and I’m glad to hear that you’re not there anymore.

louise 2 years ago

iI grew up as one of those people a family of 5 no money always depending on the generosity of others goodwill baskets for Christmas and the surplus food mom stood in line to receive. TODAY I try to help the food pantry at our church giving to those people like me and my siblings it gives me a warm feeling to be able to give back.because there but for the grace of god go i

Gina L 2 years ago

I have had times of “extra” and times of “scraping.” It was those times of scraping that made me give the most to others. And I like when we are able to choose what we give – ie I CAN buy organic and donate it when I can – other times it may be generic mac and cheese. Where I tend to get bitter is the times when I couldn’t afford things that I saw others on assistance having – such as a smartphone, cable, fake nails, etc – because I made “too much” for public assistance but the people I knew on public assistance had enough moneyy for the “extras” due to the help they got with food and rent.

AL 2 years ago

While I never went to the food pantry, I hunkered down, swallowed my pride, and ate a meal here and there at a soup kitchen a few times. And every time I had to psych myself up, remind myself that I didn’t know when I’d be getting paid (was working, but paychecks were late), and I was hungry. It killed me a little bit inside each time. So many people have no idea what “those people” look like, who we/they are, and that “those people” are REAL people, who have families and lives and are struggling.

danijus 2 years ago

I have to admit I am blessed. Very blessed and for that I am grateful. I have volunteered at a food distribution center and what goes fast is what makes for good meals- rice, beans, vegetables in whatever form they come in, peanut butter, tuna, pasta and the makings for sauce, cereal… Most of the people who come, work – some two jobs. Most of the people that came through the last time was there were working parents who were coming by after work on their way home, hoping to come away with the makings of dinner.

epw 2 years ago

Zucchini is gross and so is your judgmental comment.

Jeff B. 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing your story, but I would argue that there were points in my life where I was much more judgmental and never gave a second thought to my attitude until others confronted me.

Initially I didn’t respond well, but in time I too faced hardship and understood the err of my ways. We can all learn to love each other and forego the judgment.

Ruby 2 years ago

I never thought I’d be one of “those” people either. I remember the first day I had to go to a food pantry. I walked in and there was a woman at the desk. She asked how she could help me. I looked at her and started to cry. I couldn’t hold it in. She grabbed a tissue, handed it to me, put her arm around my shoulder and walked with me as I picked up food for my little family. Her kindness and compassion was overwhelming. God bless the volunteers at the food pantries.
I was blessed to only need to go a few times, but I will never forget the kindness shown to me.

Kimberley 2 years ago

What does it matter if it was bought especially for a food drive or if it was just sitting in the pantry unused? If someone else can use it, why does it matter when or why it was originally purchased? No matter what the reason it was originally purchased, it’s still better to give it to someone who can use it than just throw it away. Or would you rather they throw it in the trash because they didn’t originally buy it to donate it?

Jennifer 2 years ago

There is so much I would like to say about this post. I have never been to the food shelf (yet) but boy do I get this. I am a college educated, single mom with a full time job and life is tough. I am also a debate teacher who spends my days trying to disspell myths about THOSE people.

Andi 2 years ago

Thank you for this post. I am a full-time (pre-med) adult student, single mom to two great kids. I go to a top-ten university and get good grades. I work two jobs and I coach my son’s swim team.

I get food stamps.

And you know what? I make sure as many people as possible are aware that I do. Not because I am looking for sympathy. No. I willingly left my full-time job in search of something better for myself and for my kids. I tell them so that they understand that they don’t KNOW the stories of ‘those people.’ And I also make sure I educate them when they make snide remarks about people using our state-funded food resources.

To me, the ones who complain so much about ‘those people’ don’t come across as scornful, but as jealous. As if getting $11 per day for a family of 3 (3 meals) is something to be jealous of. Appreciative of? Absolutely. But not jealous. Get over yourselves and be happy you’re so well-employed.

*Steps down. :)

ama 2 years ago

um what would be really “brave”, yet Violent and get you fired… would be a hearty hearty helping of a fist sandwitch. im sorry. But, im serious. .. I feel really bad for you because… WOW what a cruel heartless racist classist CREEP you work with there…

wowza. I bet she doesnt know how, to me, and to everyone else out here who ever cried to see the foodstamps and the empty plates or government cheese on mammas table, *she* is one of “Those People”.
Those MEAN MEAN CRUEL HEARLESS UNGODLY CREEPS who do not love their neighbor as themselves.
God’s got a special place for her, they say.
Burn in Hell, lady! Hows your burnt bacon pig bottom taste on your Quorn and fancy yuppy brunch platter? Hmm?
so many many of US have lost our houses and jobs.
WE ARE THOSE PEOPLE, and she is just barely human.

Quitchobitchin 2 years ago

I have been one of those people. I’ve seen the rotten produce, the expired yogurt and cheese. I’ve held my ticket for the monthly meat item. I’ve cut off pieces of the molded bread. We’ve been that family who has prayed over the food, we still do, because we don’t want to go back and face the social stigma. I’ve cried because I wish I made enough money to burst through the doors, with fresh produce, milk and dairy.. Breads, canned goods, spices.. Meats.. And not just enough for the families there for the week. I wish I could be the supply person to all the banks in my city.

Vanessa 2 years ago

EXCELLENT post. We pay INTO a system for a reason. No one plans on needing free food or help. Sadly many of the working poor are disqualified from the food stamps they deserve (because they have paid into the system for years with their tax dollars) and rely on food pantries. I am so thankful they exist, because you just never know who will need them.

Beth 2 years ago

I either would have said No Thanks(have done that a few times with things I knew the kids couldn’t or wouldn’t eat) or returned it a few other unused items the nest month. There will always be someone who will know what to do with it.

Beth 2 years ago

I am one of ‘those people’. I admit that I have been one for years. Ever since my husband died of cancer and left me with two preteens to raise by myself. They are grown now. But I am now disabled too. With one still living at home and jobless, food stamps and the local food banks are all that keep us alive for most of each month.
This week we are using hamburger buns for sandwiches. Next week we may have multigrain bread.
It’s all food. That is all that matters to most of us that need the help. And no matter what anyone thinks, most of us CAN read instructions, which most non-perishables have on their packaging.
And anything I get from the food bank that doesn’t get used within the month goes back to the food bank so someone else can use it. That may only be a few cans or a couple packages of pasta but others will be glad for them.

Yvette 2 years ago

You should have politely told her that you were one of “those people”

Marla 2 years ago

I have been on food stamps, and have received government food surplus, cheese, peanut butter, butter. That was in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I would loved to have had toilet paper and dish soap and Lysol too. I have recently started a food pantry at my church. It was a desire of mine to include these things. We have done that and also have a personal closet with toothpaste and brushes, deodorant, shampoo and anything else that someone thinks would be good. Everything is donated and we fund raise to be able to buy fresh food for our clients. We want to make the experience as painless as possible for them. You never know when it could be you!

viki smith 2 years ago

We went through a phase of using a local fresh food hand out. With no jobs, and no food stamps etc, we had kids to feed. I never once felt “better then thou”. I was refusing to be embarrassed, because it was our turn to get help. Life flows back & forth. I’d have been in her face about HOW I’d use quinoa, and ask her how many boxes of hamburger helper she used a month lol

Elizabeth Burton 2 years ago

I agree with the response to the condescending attitude, but I also have to say I agree with the attitude holder regarding the kind of food being donated. Are we assuming those who will pick up the items will have cookbooks that will help them figure out how to use them? An internet connection so they can find recipes online?

Honestly, some of that collection sounds to me like the donors went through the pantry and picked out whatever had been sitting there the longest. Is the “those people” comment any more condescending than assuming people who may be one meal away from hunger are going to be excited by receiving fancy yuppie food when their kids would most likely prefer that non-organic mac and cheese or a PBJ on white?

To me, that quinoa and artichoke hearts is people who haven’t been seriously hungry in a long time trying to impose their own foodie opinions on people who just want something to eat. “Look how thoughtful we are, providing REAL food instead of all that nasty junk.”

And before you ask, I have used food banks, and I have scoured the house for enough change to buy bread and milk so the kids could eat. Artichoke hearts and quinoa would have ended up gathering cobwebs on the shelf.

Mary S 2 years ago

Personally, I felt the emphasis was on “those people” as opposed to the quinoa and the artichoke hearts.

Thirty plus years ago, as a poor single mother going back to school, in a wealthy college town, I was all to familiar with how it feels to be one of “those people.” I worked part-time in the towns middle school and encountered many women like the woman portrayed here. Back then I too, would have said, “I like artichoke hearts,” because I would have felt the shame.

Today, I would not quietly dismiss such a comment due to shame or fear, but would firmly state while looking the person straight in the eye; “I WAS one of ‘those people’ and if I didn’t know how to use it, I would ask!” And then I would walk away.

You see, when you get into your 60’s and beyond, you start to tolerate less and less bullshit!

Chrisor 2 years ago

People lead very different lives and we don’t know what others are dealing with unless they tell us. This woman made a flippant remark that was based on a prejudiced opinion. She may have had a bad experience with someone that made her feel this way. We’ll probably never know. Maybe she’s never had the need for help from a food pantry. That means she’s ignorant. I’m not trying to defend her but I feel like everyone should have to see the other side of life firsthand so they appreciate what they have. Everyone should volunteer for a day or two at a food pantry or soup kitchen, etc. It will breed gratefulness and understanding of others.

Kimi Schneck 2 years ago

I have to say I love this blog entry. I have been one of “those people” for most of my life. When I was younger, I didn’t realize the full gravity of the situation my family and I were in. But when I moved out of my father’s house, I was struck immediatly with poverty. I was so upset because I felt like I didn’t have a chance to even try to make it, it was just automatically hard. I went to a food bank that did NOT have any nice food, or any alternatives at all. The problem was, I am deathly allergic to peaches and they had a sign on their wall that said “Absolutely No Substitutions Under ANY Circumstances” and I was told that this was against the law and the next time that I went there to take a can opener and to open the can of peaches so I could be sent to the hospital as a way of saying “Well you’re not going to allow me to harm myself, you will have to give me a substitution.” I tried this, and they stopped me before I could open the can, I guess I was very sweaty and nervous and shaking so they could tell I was telling the truth, and I thought I had won. Maybe I could get a can of pears for once. They had their manager come out, and he gave me my box of food, but I didn’t get a substitution, they just took out the can of peaches and didn’t replace them. He then asked me not to come back to their food bank since I didn’t like the way that they ran the system there and to find another food bank if I was that needy. I said fine and as I turned to leave, I could hear him telling some of the workers that because I was overweight that I didn’t have a food shortage and wasn’t hungry, I was just trying to get attention. Not only was I humiliated, but I ended up having to move in with my Mother in a different state because I could not find another food bank to go too. The only other one that they had served people three times in their lifetime, and then refused service and I had already used up my three times. My boyfriend, whom I was living with, is now in a different state as well, trying to make arrangements with friends to get into a two bedroom apartment with them, so the cost of living is less for us. I’m grateful my mother was able to take me in, since our friends didn’t have room for two couch surfers, but at the same time, I think that “Those people” shouldn’t work in food banks, and I sincerely hope that the manager for that food bank has been replaced by now. While I don’t know what goes on in every person’s shoes, I know I hated being judged because of the way mine look, or the way my body looks. I hate when people tell me that I could never be hungry because i’m fat. Or that I mooch of the system and nothing’s wrong with me. Thank you for writing this blog entry, and thank you for being a REAL Human being with a heart and a soul. I don’t think you belong in that stereotyped category called “those people” because that list of people changes constantly. I hope things get better for you and stay better and when they aren’t the best, I hope that you always find help when you need it the most.

Tammy 2 years ago

Let’s pretend that a drug screening would cost $100. The average recipient of SNAP receives around $300-$500 per month in benefit (depending upon the state they live in). That would add up to $6000 a year per recipient in SNAP. If the state pays $100 for drug test and it saves them $6000 a year in SNAP expenses, I would say that’s $ well spent to keep drug abusing deadbeats off the rolls. More money then for the destitute college students, SAHM and mentally or physically disabled that actually need the SNAP money.

Tammy 2 years ago

Well, Jenny certainly wants us to think that “folder lady” was disparaging of poor rather than disparaging the culinarily illiterate but we don’t really know because she wrote a whole blog bases on her own assumptions, dissing the woman while all of us are supposed to come on here and judge “folder lady” for her smug attitude and false assumption while forgetting that the author of this post made her own smug assumptions that went into this post in the first place.

Tammy 2 years ago

You don’t like to be insulted publicly but you have no problem insulting “folder lady” to the point of writing a long blog post about her. It’s your blog and in the USA we have freedom of speech, but I guess it stings when people call us out on our hypocrisies and double standards.

Rhonda 2 years ago

I have to comment. As a ‘from scratch’ cooking person, I’ve been at the food pantry and asked about donating flour, baking soda, etc and those items aren’t chosen. I make my own laundry detergent, but they don’t want that. We’ve grown up generations who have no clue how to cook, season plain food, make ‘hamburger helper’ from hamburger, spices, and noodles, etc. As a kid, pride meant we had one can of ravioli in the pantry and mom didn’t eat. Or my favorite story, a co-worker would take her to lunch and she’d get the biggest meal and then bring home the leftovers for my dinner.

thesedays 2 years ago

I volunteered at a food pantry when I was in college, and I was VERY surprised to find out that most of “those people” were senior citizens. Most of the single mothers I encountered were either recently widowed or had their first child before they were 18 years old (or both); that’s not a judgment call but just the way it was. I was also very surprised at the number of single fathers who went there, and their story was always the same: ex-wife isn’t paying child support, and the court won’t help him because he’s a man. That was 20 years ago, and things probably haven’t changed much in that regard. As for things like artichoke hearts, if it was an item used by very few people (the one I remember was a large jar of pickled grape leaves), or an unusual size (i.e. a #10 can of jalapeno peppers or a gallon jug of ketchup with a squirt thing on it), or the label wasn’t in English (very common at this pantry), we put those items on a table in the lobby, and people could take as much of those as they wanted. And don’t forget about nonfood items like Kotex, diapers, toilet paper, etc.

Kalamity Kelli 2 years ago

This is a wonderful post and what you will find are that there are many kinds of people with different tastes who are food insecure and need help now and then. I have assisted in the SNAP program and Food Bank volunteer programs for almost 20 years and what I can tell you is this: That woman, had she said it to me, at some point in her life would be calling me to ask for help with her family member, friend, or church member because “I would never make them feel bad”. Why of course I wouldn’t make them feel bad – why would I want to be like YOU!

Thanks for posting a poignant loving valentine to all those who have been or who will be in the future……..walking in your shoes. Excellent job!

Rainey Daye 2 years ago

Yes, as the mom to an adorable kiddo with a life threatening peanut allergy, I beg of everyone who donates to food pantries to include a jar of Sunbutter in there with the jars of peanut butter. You never know but that a family coming in for help who needs an easy source of protein might have a little one who NEEDS sunbutter because peanut butter could kill them.

Growing up as a missionary kid there were definitely times where we didn’t know where our next meal was coming from. Thankfully, we usually ended up having people give us groceries right when we needed it, so we never had to go to a food bank (even if one month we ate nothing but oatmeal for breakfast and beans and tortillas for lunch and dinner) but we might easily have had to if it wasn’t for their help. So we very easily could have been one of “those people”!!

Marylisa 2 years ago

You know …. I grew up and have been many times and currently am one of those people….,, I don’t know what Quinoa is…

Those people ….. Could have just meant the people you are collecting food for…..

I’ve brought similar food home and not know what to do with it…. Other than cook it and watch my kids not eat it…..
And the wasted items are what make your stomach twist and ache
SO there is SOME truth to her words …….
Doesn’t me I was less thankful just means….
Some kids of food are not for every one…

Most of my dinners consist of an 88 cent bag if Korrs pasta sides and a 1.00 can if tuna….
My kids eat it up no left overs….no waste

Just saying…… Two side to a coin

TK 2 years ago

I hope she’s reading this, because you’ve answered her so well. Thank you for sharing this!

Deb 2 years ago

I’ve been there. Now, I’m not. I’m so grateful. I help organize our local food bank Christmas drive – and I plead with people NOT to bring in their shopping ‘mistakes’. No one needs or wants expired mincemeat, goods made in China, a gallon (really?) of vinegar. I ask for peanut butter, canned meat and fish, pasta, baby food, flour, sugar – and I take the outdated, inedible, ridiculous items out and replace them. In my heart, I have come to believe that the gift is no longer my responsibility once it has left my hands. It’s MY attitude that counts.

Doris 2 years ago

God Bless You for sharing your story :)

Mary 2 years ago

Well said!

I will say that the instant potatoes were probably not meant as an insult on one’s ability to cook. Many food banks request shelf stable foods when they are soliciting for donations.

The only times I have donated fresh potatoes was when the church was making individual food baskets and we knew the food was going to used very soon. In those instances, fresh potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, etc were ideal without the fear of them spoiling.

Boxed stuffing… well.. it’s all in there. Once again.. not meant as an insult, but a practicality.
One needs more then a bag of bread crumbs to make good stuffing… and those items are not exactly shelf stable.


coffeenut 2 years ago

I have never been a “client” at a foodbank, eat a lot of food I raise myself, and frankly until recently I had no idea what to do with quinoa. There’s a good chance you were overly sensitive to the remark because of your own experience and it had nothing to do with how she viewed recipients, but rather of the general public and the fact that there a lot of people who don’t know what to do with canned artichokes and quinoa.

Mary 2 years ago

Awesome post!
Had to share it on FB.

Many of us are 2 or 3 paychecks to being homeless or keeping a roof over our heads and not having enough basic food items and heat.

We have been on the low money for groceries many times in the early years. I can pick a chicken clean and still do something with the bones… :)


Rachel 2 years ago

Thank you for your thought-provoking article. I read it, then every single comment, then called a local soup kitchen/food pantry to volunteer tomorrow.

Helene 2 years ago

Really well said. I have worked in food banks and ‘those people’ wanted comfy food and like you said, food that could last them a month. They did not want that jar of artichokes hearts at $5, they wanted the 20 pounds of potatoes instead. Yesterday I drove to Métro and brought 5 bags full of food and also soap, deodorant etc. ‘Those people’ need it and people have to realize that they will not survive long on a bar of fancy chocolate or artichokes hearts when they have to feed a family of 4 to 6 persons.

Helene 2 years ago

I can talk by experience because I have worked as a volunteer at the food bank. First we did not call the people coming to the food bank ‘Those People’ but we just said that their were ‘clients’. I am not sure if she meant well or not when she said that ‘“Too bad they won’t know what to do with most of it.” To a certain extent I have to agree with her on this one. We did a test at the food bank. For 2 months we did put on a table what you would call ‘fancy food’ and we said that every time they came they were allowed to take one item from the table. Believe it or not the table stayed full of the fancy stuff. Every time they would come to the food bank we would ask them to fill out a sheet with food that they prefer us to give them. On the sheet they would ask for: macaroni and cheese, pasta, peanut butter, bread, ground beef, milk, snacks, pop, chips.
I am not saying that I agree with the person that said ‘these people’ but all I am saying is that all they wanted is food that their family will eat and appreciate. Simple comfort food.

Conuly 2 years ago

Other people can’t eat “normal” food, or their kids won’t. That is why grocery stores stock a variety of items, and why it is best to donate cash, so the local food bank can buy the foods that are popular in their area.

Alexandra 2 years ago

Your story brings the reality of adulthood and parenthood. We grow up with ideals and plans: graduate from college, obtain the perfect job, buy a home, get married, have a family and live happily ever after. The truth is life happens and life brings change.
For us, domestic violence and a difficult divorce brought change into my son’s and my life; frequent financial pinches, skipping meals so there is enough for my son’s next meal, and it goes on. I never thought I would one day be a ‘statistic’: single mother, receiving food assistance, domestic violence survivor, etc…Never a situation one factors into their lives, never a situation we think we will ever need to explain to our child.
Being one of ‘those people’, may be temporary, but it has a permanent affect– a sense of gratitude, appreciation, and relief so deep only suffrage can fully explain. ‘Those people’, like me and you are people, too…many tend to forget that.
Most never give a second thought to what brought someone to such humbling means.

Conuly 2 years ago

Maybe he was allergic to squash, or simply didn’t like it, or had no place to cook it or easily store it. If you had zucchini to give away it is entirely possible that all his friends and family had already tried to use him to unload their surplus zucchini. There is no law that says poor people need to eat foods they don’t like just because they are healthy.

As far as bettering themselves go, what sort of outreach does your food bank do besides handing out food? That is, are you genuinely in a position to understand and judge what they do when they are not there?

Jessica 2 years ago

Thank you for writing this. I’ve been one of those people. No one ever knows that feeling unless you’ve been there.

Dan 2 years ago

I have worked at a food pantry, I have taken a homeless women into several restaurants until I found one that would let me order a hamburger for her but only if it was “to go”. I have driven an out of work father to a discount grocery, and bought potatoes, rice, bread, bullion, pasta and pasta sauce, milk. Staples to live on for a month. I know because I have done it. I have lived on ramen and mac and cheese made with extra margarine because I could not afford milk. When I was one of “those people” I would have been way happier with 6 boxes of macaroni than the one jar of artichoke hearts you could buy for the same price. Even after reading your rant about “those people” I still firmly believe a new 5lb bag of potatoes will go much further to feeding the hungry than a single box of organic crackers for the same cost. So thank you for insulting me, and the way I give. Maybe next time you can just accept that giving is giving and people have different ideas about what the best way to help is. Being grateful people are helping seems better than ranting about others not doing it right or not having the right attitude. If you want to give one Filet Mignon I am sure one person will be really grateful. If I give 10 1lb bags of rice I am sure others will be equally grateful.

Jennifer 2 years ago

Pat,I am so sorry to hear about what’s going on.
It sounds like your daughter may have narcissistic personality disorder.While not all people with Asperger’s have NPD as well,there does seem to be a link in some cases.I know what your daughter did is devastating,but hopefully it’s a small comfort to know it has nothing to do with you as a person.If anything I say is not encouraging please disregard it.

I would love to know what your private practice was?You may email me if you so wish.
I hope you find some kind and compassionate people just like you to help you through this hard time,sometimes just a hug can mean so much.

Ruby 2 years ago

I do have a little story I’d like to share about how people are stupid. When I was a kid, our house had a fire. It wasn’t a very bad one but we were displaced for close to 6 months while they fixed the damage. Everything in the house was redone. In those months, we got food, toys and clothes from friends and strangers. Nobody treated us differently, but helped us get back on our feat and it was amazing that everyone wanted to help us.

A few years later, both my parents lost their jobs and we had to turn to food banks to get by. They borrowed money from family, and we nearly lost the house. My parents wanted me to keep it a secret, they didn’t want anyone to know we were struggling and it was hard for me to understand. It still is hard for me to understand as an adult. Both were big tragedies in our lives, in one tragedy we graciously accepted help from family and friends, in the other we were embarrassed to accept things like that.

As an adult, having gone through those two ordeals it really makes no sense how people can be treated so vastly different depending on the circumstances that are beyond their control. They both weren’t our fault, they both put us in similar situations. I have no problem accepting help, I’m not proud of it but I know that if I need help there are resources available to me.

Cynthia 2 years ago

While the woman’s comment was very unfortunate (to put it nicely) she is not far off the mark. I worked with a limited income population for a period of time and specifically in food assistance. The vast majority of people I met had not a clue how to cook from scratch ~ lentils, beans, quinoa, etc. Truffle oil? Give me a big break here. PLEASE take whatever money you are going to spend and buy some staples. Sugar, flour, beans ~ canned and dried, canned vegetables, canned fruits. Things that are somewhat simple. If you are doing dried items like lentils and beans, consider attaching your favorite recipe to the bag. We have such a lack of skills and wisdom being passed down as it relates to cooking and this is especially acute in the limited income arena. While people will show up from time to time who are in a pinch and utilize the food pantries, the vast majority are the chronically under or unemployed and what we in America would consider the poor. Due to their lack of knowledge, even if very hungry, they WILL bypass staples they do not know how to pronounce or prepare. If if those staples are expensive. Better yet, think about locating your local food bank and making a dollar donation. Often the supply the local food pantries. They receive huge discounts on the food they purchase and your donation dollars will go a longer way then paying full price at the grocery store.

Preppy Pink Crocodile 2 years ago

What an incredibly powerful post! Thank you so much for sharing!!

KK @ Preppy Pink Crocodile

Jenn 2 years ago

This gave me chills. Thank you for sharing.

FJ 2 years ago

What a powerful piece. Perhaps give her a “you people” and see how she reacts? So many people are unaware of the power of words until said to them. Two wrongs do not make a right, but words can prove a powerful point.

Brenda 2 years ago

I’ve never had to get food from a food bank, but our local walmart store has a food drive through a church about twice a year. They hand out a plastic grocery bag as people enter the store and ask if they would purchase a few items to put in it, they also have a printed list of suggested items. My husband and I always participate in this, knowing that there could come a time in our lives that we would need to get food from a food bank. We aren’t well of by any means, money is very tight because we live on one paycheck, since I have medical problems. When we shop for items to fill this bag, we always make a point to buy things other than the usual things that everyone else buys. Everyone seems to buy the cans of beans, corn, etc., so we try to buy other things, and also include toiletries and other items. We usually fill 4 or 5 bags instead of just the one. Yes, it makes us feel good, like we are helping others, but like I said, it could some day be us that shops at a food bank and if that ever happens, we will feel better knowing we helped others in their time of need, just like they would help us. Years ago, my family had to have food stamps because my husband (ex now) was out of work for several months, we had a baby to feed. I hated the looks from people when I would shop with those food stamps, but I knew that my family had to be fed, and my husband had worked and paid the taxes that entitled us to them. If it were not for places like churches and food banks, people would surely go hungry. Thank God for the people who run these places!

Melon 2 years ago

It seems that there are too many people that have no empathy and part of it is that to think about this would scare them to death, so they choose to be ignorant. A small chain grocer, not a great looking place inside, but with affordable food and housewares and other items, closed recently and many said “well, we still have the Club store on that side of town and the two larger chains on the other.” I’d shopped at this smaller chain grocery store many times because it was the only regular grocery store on that road, the prices were amazing, AND also when I was low on funds. I saw the many elderly and families (“those people”) who shopped and sometimes filled their carts with dented cans and boxes. That landlord who decided that store no longer needed to be there just made life harder for anyone who NEEDED that store to feed their families. Sure, folks could shop at the dollar store but this store had lovely fresh produce and meat at affordable prices. Some of these folks may use the food bank but this store let them shop for other things they needed. In talking with people, I realized that they’d never stopped to think about what it would be like to worry about feeding their families and didn’t care that this store was being pushed out of town because it could make way for some chain store. We’ve become a society of “look the other way”.

Jill C 2 years ago

I remember being one of those people. One year at Thanksgiving, I was given a box of mashed potato flakes, a box of stove top stuffing, a can of pumpkin, a package of pie crusts, a can of corn, and two (because I had a family of five) frozen “turkey loaves with gravy”. I did manage to purchase a real turkey, but I remember thinking that I might use some of these items as ingredients in something I might make, but it wasn’t Thanksgiving dinner. So I guess beggars can feel ungrateful.
It wasn’t really the food I was ungrateful for, it was the idea of me that the food painted. That I didn’t know how to cook. That I didn’t care enough to feed my family fresh, real food. That I “wouldn’t know what to do with it.” Screw you whomever thinks that! I can cook circles around most of you. Go tell it to your personal chef.
And it was an eye opener, for me, about how to treat people when you give them charity.
Like the other time I came home from the food shelf with a can of cream of shrimp soup (I admit, I didn’t know what the hell to do with that, but judging by aged appearance of the can, neither did the person who originally bought it), I don’t know how hungry you have to be to eat that, but we never got there. I also got a cake mix that I had to sift the bug carcasses out of because it was a decade old. So now, when I give to the food shelf, I make sure it’s good, healthy, nutritious food. And I NEVER give stuff I am just throwing away because it was a stupid error on my part to buy it in the first place, and it took me ten years to come to terms with that.

Jean 2 years ago

As I was typing my response, I wondered how long it would take before it was misinterpreted.
My point was, some people view donating food as an opportunity to clean out their pantries. It’s not giving to those in need. Period.
I could explain why I’m the polar opposite of manila folder lady, but I have neither the time nor inclination. And frankly, people who are passionate about a topic sometimes lack objectivity. Now…misinterpret THAT.

Melissa 2 years ago

People are too sensitive these days. Yes, it wasn’t the best choice of words. She obviously wasn’t trying to be hurtful and you know what she meant. Some of “those people” wouldn’t appreciate or know what to do with that food. Thankfully, I’ve not been one of “those people” thus far in life, and I myself, wouldn’t know what to do with some of that food. It was a general, harmless, though a little insensitive, statement. We have got to get over ourselves, this society, and just because someone says something about something that they don’t fully understand and that something stings because we do understand, we can’t be a pansy about it. Just realize, they don’t get it, say a prayer for them if you will, or tell them, explain it to them nicely, enlighten them, or don’t but then get over it. Live your life the best you can, help others do the same. But we can’t keep dissecting people’s quick thoughtless words, taking offense and getting so angry.

AJ 2 years ago

I think part of what bothers me about this the most is that if this “teacher” feels that way about “those people” how does she treat her students who she sees as the same?
Anyone, can be one of the “those people”. I’ve been there, on more than one occasion. My husband being laid off, and with 4 kids. He got $265 per week unemployment, and We qualified for $138 per month for all 6 of us on Foodstamps. And I hated the looks we got every time I pulled that EBT card out. I think if people actually paid attention they would see that most people aren’t making a killing off of the govt. when taking assistance. They are just barely getting by.
I agree there are some people who play the system. But you can’t look at everyone the same.
And those people who are playing the system have children that have no choice but to live in the situation they are born in to, and I would hate to know that my children had to be in a classroom with a teacher who felt that way.

Susan 2 years ago

I remember being one of “those people”…and it is everything she describes it to be…I had one focus in mind…I had a small child that needed to be fed, I would give him the last bite of food if that is what was required but my cupboards were bare. I only did it because he was young. I have hit that point with my grown up child as well, but I knew that he could deal with those feelings of hunger in his belly better and more complaint free that as a young child. There are many “handouts” I requested when my son was a baby…if it were just me I would figure it out but when you have children that depend on you, you do everything you can to make sure they are taken fed, housed and clothed.

Maria @ Frugal Homesteading 2 years ago

There was a time, not so long ago, when we would have qualified for food stamps, and food pantry assistance and WIC and the like. I never did apply, or go to the food pantry, but recently a friend with 6 kids told me she had, multiple times, not long ago.

When those food drives come along, we bring the best food we can — whoever is eating it deserves no less.

Jeffrey Blank 2 years ago

When I first met my now wife of 32 years she was a struggling divorced mother of 3. I still lived at home with my parents. On some days I would pay for her groceries and others I would fill bags from my parents cabinets to help. I have seen the struggle and appreciation when helped. I do not forget. Many of us are just 1 paycheck away from being “one of those people”

Heather 2 years ago

The USDA still does give food commodities away where I live, but you have to be pretty poor to qualify…much lower income levels than a food pantry.

Heather 2 years ago

First, I’m amazed at the amount of comments with people explaining their situations. Some of them are heartbreaking. I was one of those people too. And growing up someone entitled it was completely foreign and scary to me. But, when you have children, you do what you have to do to take care of them. My husband was injured on the job and couldn’t work for a few months. Instead of workman’s comp. the company fired him. We hired a lawyer (on contingency) and we won – but it only paid all the bills we got behind on. I worked fulltime and have for years – but my fulltime salary couldn’t feed a family of four and pay all the bills during the time my husband wasn’t able to work. (And since he was unable to work, he also couldn’t get unemployment). I went to the food bank for three months. We also qualified for food stamps.

After reading these posts I realize how truly wonderful my local food bank is. You would get a shopping cart and there were people at every station to give you food. There were always a few tables of donated food that you could pick from and those were the fun tables. Then you would always get a choice of meat – sometimes a full chicken or pounds of ground beef – and all the staples, pasta, sauce, soups, mac n cheese, milk, eggs, rice, potatos, tuna, peanut butter, bread – but then they would give you fresh produce – sometimes lots of fresh produce and with all of it you got recipe cards – recipes you could make with just what they gave you. There was always one or two weird things too. Umm goat meat anyone? Then at that the end you always got a cake or a pie. This was only once a month, but it would feed my family for a few weeks.

Kathleen 2 years ago

A long time ago in a land not so far away I used to be one of “those” people. My ex-husband who had been both mentally and physically abusive cleaned out my bank account (into the red in fact) and left me with two and then three young children on two separate occasions. Yes, I did go back after the first time, whole battered wife mentality and all that.

I had nowhere to turn, and although I was working 50 hours a week at a local laundry mat making $7 per hour, it wasn’t enough to keep a roof over our head and food on the shelves. So, I was one of “those” people, and you can bet your bottom dollar I was eternally grateful for the help that I got. What people like her need to realize, is that most of “those” people are people just like her, who recognize and appreciate good food and are grateful to get it, even during a difficult time in their lives.

Christine Hebert 2 years ago

I have been one of “those people.” I was divorced and out of work as a result of a car accident when I first went to apply for WIC which made the difference between going hungry and having a full belly for my children until my disability payments from my long term disability insurance kicked in. We have used a food pantry off an on for years. My husband is self employed and when things are bad, we still have mouths to feed. When things are good, I donate what I can monetarily or I will pick up a case of different canned vegetables to donate. I donated some Girl Scout cookies a couple of times. My children have helped to pick up and put away the groceries and every time we have been thankful for those give.

Heather 2 years ago

While I’m sorry you had to find out what dog food tastes like, I appreciate your choice to avoid the food pantry since you decided to keep your dog. I would love to donate more to charities like the food pantries but I resist in part because I see too many recipients wasting their money on other things rather than making hard sacrifices like you did.

Colleen 2 years ago

And this is why I’ll always donate to local food pantries, even when my own funds are pretty low. Because I will never forget that I once was one of “those people”.

Heather 2 years ago

My own family has to eat expired food because we use it to stretch our grocery budget, so why isn’t it good enough for someone else? Especially since food expiration dates are usually “best by” dates rather than true expiration dates.

Michelle Young 2 years ago

I would have given the pretentious harpy and earful about who “those people” really are.
They are me, and that woman behind you, and that guy over there, and your kid’s best’s friends single mother. And it could be her tomorrow, unless she is so fortunate enough to NOT be one of the millions of Americans who are one medical catastrophe/income loss/natural disaster away from being unable to make ends meet.

Heather 2 years ago

I have a family member who meets your exact situation, Joe. She wastes her money on all kinds of stupid stuff, then complains that she doesn’t have enough to pay to repair a flat tire. I’ve watched her game the system for years and squander everything she gets — usually because there’s some public assistance program that will bail her out in a pinch or take care of her necessities so she can blow her paycheck on stupid crap. Seeing this every day makes it very hard for me to feel charitable and want to give.

SunnySide 2 years ago

A job possibility for anyone in need of one quickly: look for agencies that care for people with developmental disabilities. They pay more than min wage, you get training to provide medical care, it’s full time! so there’s insurance and the security of a regular schedule.

The companies have high turnover, b/c they don’t pay the best (they’re funded by the gov’t, so there’s a cap) and some people aren’t cut out for care taking…but some people make careers out of it. My stepmom divorced, moved to a different state, and worked at one while supporting her two kids (ex didn’t pay child support until after a long legal battle). She now runs her own company, employing lots of single parents who are doing the same.

Working an agency got me through school – all the customer service jobs left me exhausted, too much on top of trying to be a serious student. It also worked out to about $10k more per yr, b/c I could pick up overtime and still study at night/early in the morning.

Heather 2 years ago

You said it, Sandy. My family sure does eat generic brand items! The only way we can afford to donate to a food pantry is by squeezing some extra room from our grocery budget with generic and clearanced groceries for ourselves. How pretentious to assume that families who donate are somehow not donating what their families eat because the items aren’t the most expensive brands.

Heather 2 years ago

Good point! I can’t afford artichoke hearts or other “fancy” things for my own family, so I certainly can’t afford to donate them to someone else. But sometimes I can afford to donate a box of pasta I found on sale. Wouldn’t the hungry rather have that than nothing?

Suzi Satterfield 2 years ago

You know, I’ve never been one of “those people” but I do know that the only reason that’s never happened is because I grew up with feast or famine. During the “feast” times, my mother would shop for groceries like we were stocking up for Y2K so we’d have food in the pantry and the freezer to tide us over. And it’s why I shop like I’m expecting a famine at any time: it’s what I grew up with as normal.

Had a famine time lasted longer, it’s easy to see that we could have been “those people.” Sometimes people need a hand up. (Not a hand out. There’s a big difference.) There should never be any shame in that.

Heather 2 years ago

I, too, have worked at a local food bank, but I must not see the same kinds of clients you do. Most of our bank’s clients are frequent fliers — not just temporarily down on their luck. They make no effort to better their situation, and they don’t take the “good” food. For example, I once tried to give a man zucchini (above and beyond his food allowance) and he wouldn’t take it.

Patricia Morrish 2 years ago

While I understand the point of this article– yea, there are “snobs” out there who can’t imagine that they would ever need these vital community services, or who think stereotypically about the people who do– the manilla folder lady had a point. Many times food pantry items are things that people bought and never used because they don’t know what to do with it either! But it was inspiring on the Food Channel program nonetheless. The fact of the matter is, many of “those people” do not even have working stoves or cookware, or microwaves or freezers in their homes. Running water is often iffy. I know this from years as a home care nurse in the Detroit area. This is why there is usually an abundance of McDonalds and Taco Bell bags/wrappers in their home and very little food in the cupboard. This is not a judgement on them or food pantries — this is a fact. So, donated food items should reflect an awareness of what is practical from a storage point of view, nutritious,– and likely to be consumed. So, maybe her tone reflected a certain snobbery– but it also had a ring of truth. Maybe this blogger has a little over-sensitivity from her personal experience.

Judy 2 years ago

I have been one of “those people”, and not all that long ago. I have also been fortunate enough at times to be able to help out “those people”. People don’t always realize just how close any of us are to being one of “those people”. The disdainful attitude expressed by certain people is sickening. I think it’s safe to say that most of us who have had to ask for help were embarrassed, ashamed, even humiliated at needing to humble ourselves enough to admit we couldn’t do it alone, even if only temporarily. The attitudes of people like that woman rub salt in an already open wound. Why not try to help those wounds heal, so that “those people” might not need help one day?

Suzanne Feld 2 years ago

I was one of “those people” as well when my children were young and their dad walked out on me. We didn’t have food pantries but I was on food stamps, and the looks I would get when I used them were humiliating. I could feel the people in line behind me at the checkout scanning everything I bought; did I get enough fresh fruit or too many bags of cookies? But I never wavered in making sure my family was fed in whatever way I had to. I’ve heard people say things like that as well and also wish I had the bravery to stand up and tell them what I’m thinking but never have. I so identify with this post, having been there. Bravo to Scary Mommy for posting this.

Joyce DeVore 2 years ago

I had to go to our local pantry a few times in the past. The first time I was there, I was given a lot of boxes – stuff just riddled with salt and sugars/carbs. And having a husband who is a diabetic, has high blood pressure and a defibrillator/pacemaker, I asked them is they had any real food after explaining why. The woman looked at me and said, “Oh, do you cook”? When I admitted that I did, she commented that most of the people who came there couldn’t cook unless the directions were included. So I can definitely understand where that lady was coming from saying “those people”. Kinda cold tho’ and not exactly PC.

Jonathan 2 years ago

I am one of those people.

I have always lived on Disability, as has my mother. The single drive I have had through my entire life is “not to be a leech upon society”, not to just roll over and give up and take from the system. Not because of “those people”, but because people in my own family Choose not to work, Choose to live in poverty on handouts, and I refused to be like them.

I received government assistance to go to college. Then I took tons of student loans to earn a Masters degree. I told myself, while living on disability and loans and this government assistance, “This is all I will need. I will get my degree, I will get a job, I will be productive, I will SHOW THEM.”

I find myself without work for a year and a half. I’m on Foodstamps and Disability and my savings is gone.

The hardest thing I have dealt with is not overcoming my disability. No, I have always felt that’s just what I have to do, it’s not an option, it’s just another part of life you deal with. No, the hardest thing is trying your whole life to be productive, to make something, to not be one of Those People, only to fail. Fail utterly, and everything you have done be for naught.

I just want to die some times.

Rhe 2 years ago

I love your article. The thing that surprised me the most that has changed over the years? is the ability to choose items at your food shelf. We would mark allergies or diet problems on the chart and number of people and they would come back with a weighed box – whatever was in the box was precious, but we never chose what was in it. It often included items from neighbor’s gardens as well as storebought donations. I agree when you need it is a wonderful gracious thing and you never forget it. It also does remind you in later years to garden, give of the bounty and a bit more, when you can… which still isn’t often. We also learned to support our local co-op in the same way, growing what was needed, buying what was grown etc. Appreciate your article.

Rachel Cotterill 2 years ago

I heard something similar recently. “They prefer ready meals.” Well, who are ‘they’ anyway?! I can see the advantage of having some food that’s ready to go (that’s an advantage for anyone, on some days!) but it does seem strange to discourage donations just because something needs cooking. It’s not even as if quinoa is any harder than rice! I hope one day you’ll be able to explain to her, as eloquently as you’ve explained it here :)

Jenn 2 years ago

What a jerk…even though I’ve never had to go to a food bank, does one really have to be in those shoes to appreciate the gravity of the situation?!

Jill 2 years ago

Shared and requested that my facebook friends make an in-kind donation in their local area to the ‘highest value’ present they’ll give at the holidays. Blogging about it now, too. Thanks for the inspiration.

Karen Ann 2 years ago

I am living at an independent living facility, which is a kind of HUD section 8 for the disabled and elderly. Every month the DC area food bank comes to us and you never know what they’ll give to us. Sometimes it’s produce, like potatoes or corn on the cob or onions or peaches so we call it “Produce Day.” Sometimes we get bread products and snack products, it depends on what the food bank gets. It’s like a mini bazaar in the facility’s back yard and we can take what we want. Many of us are either on disability or applying for it. We need “Produce Day” to supplement our food supply. I’m grateful that it’s done in such a way that your pride doesn’t have to be broken, they don’t look down on us for this, they’re happy to provide it to us. I guess we’re THOSE people and if that’s the case, people like that lady can go to hell.

Out One Ear – Linda Atwell 2 years ago

This is a beautiful post and a beautiful message. We don’t know who might need a helping hand once in awhile. But you (and those other people) are the reason my husband and I donate regularly to our local food bank. Right now we are fortunate. We don’t have to worry about where our next meal will come from. But my husband was a school teacher for 32 years and he witnessed many children that were hungry when they arrived at school. He noted that many families struggled to put food on the table. So we’ve committed to donate cash monthly (and we make this commitment almost every month) to SACA. That way they can purchase foods they need for the families in our community. I’m glad the food bank is there. And thank you for reminding us that we just don’t know who is driving around the block hoping to get enough courage to go in. Hugs to you. :-)

Sandy 2 years ago

Seriously? My family always eats store brand whenever there is a choice. We shop Aldi first, regular stores last, and I buy meat in bulk when it’s on sale and freeze it. This is how I keep my family well fed and in a place where we don’t need to ask for donations ourselves. Once the package is opened, there is no further difference between brand names and the other stuff. I’ve always decanted cereal into Tupperware, and my kids don’t notice a bit of difference between Cheerios and StoreBrandiOs. I bet your kids wouldn’t either. You are veering dangerously close to Manila Folder Woman territory by assuming that all people choose to buy overpriced name brand products, so anyone who gives “generics” is going down market.

meg 2 years ago

I have to say. I have a college degree and my husband was in the military and we have been having to use the food pantries. They have been a god send!! I have been laid off for over a year and he has been on and off jobs for over a year. We have lost our house so we are renting now. At one point in our lives we were making over a 150,000. the littlest thing can take you down to nothing! I never judge people because you just never know and I thank everyone! No matter how small! Loved the article and so many people need to think as if they were “those people” because ya know what? next week they may be! Karma!

Amy 2 years ago

What would have been more enlightening, is if the author had the courage enough to share her story, and educate the person. Otherwise, it is so easy to judge the other person. We are all isolated and ignorant in our own ways, and without sharing and being vulnerable, we will continue to be.

Anna 2 years ago

It’s a great thing for those of us that donate to remember. To go out of our way to donate things that are out of the ordinary and might be needed by those with food allergies or sensitivities. Staples are great – I could take what little we had and come up with something to eat especially if I had bullion cubes, flour and sugar on hand. Those were tough years but I know they made me who I am and also helped my children not take things for granted.

Debra C 2 years ago

I have been to food pantries several times. There are a few different ones in our town and I once considered writing a blog post with helpful information for people getting ready to go to them. They were very trial-and-error to navigate. Now, I run a food pantry from our church and I’ve tried to use my experiences to help inform our policies and what I order. We, as an entity, get to determine what qualifies as “in need” so my definition has been, “If you’ve swallowed your pride enough to walk in our door and put your name on our sign-up sheet, you’re in need.” And I always try really hard to buy foods that complement each other for making meals. I remember one visit to a food pantry that provided me almost exclusively with what I would classify as sides. Tons of potato salad and such, but no entrees. It was very interesting trying to turn that into meals. I try to make sure there are always beans or rice (or both) so that they can turn the food we give them into something substantial for their family. And I also always try to order things that might be considered silly. We can almost always order those Special K pastry crisp things. Or Mio flavor drops. I know kids don’t have any control over whether or not their family has to come to our food pantry, so I try to include something to treat the kids. But I honestly think the most important thing that I or any food pantry worker can provide is a friendly smile. Some places are so business-like, it doesn’t feel like they care about what they’re doing. But I keep in mind that I’m changing people’s lives, even if it’s only in a small way, and I always try to make the people who come feel welcomed.

Yvette 2 years ago

Did you say anything to that lady? Sometimes people need to get perspective.

Tori 2 years ago

I am one of “those” people.

I’ve been a single mother for 9 years. For 7 of those years I did it “all”; a career, homecooked meals, sports for kiddo & for me, keeping up with the housework, quality time with my son, hobbies & interests for both of us …. then 3 years ago, I got sick. It took several months and several doctors and LOTS of tests to find out I had Rheumatoid Arthritis before the age of 40. Not an age you associate with arthritis, right? Even longer to discover I also had Fibromyalgia. I have been lucky enough to be covered by insurance for two years, but insurance only pays a percentage of wages. I officially lost my job a few months ago, losing my health insurance converage and as a result pay hundreds a month just for my medications to keep me healthy enough to continue to raise my son. His father dropped completely out of the picture a few months ago, stopping both visits and child support payments. So that leaves me – a University educated, raised-in-a-middle-class family – unable to cover my monthly bills. Putting food on the table is a huge struggle, and the first time I went to the food bank was incredibly demeaning and demoralizing. Since I’m Canadian, our Thanksgiving has already passed, but the only reason my kid & I had turkey was because a friend was kind enough to invite us to join her family. When things eventually get better for kiddo & I, you can bet we’ll be donating back to the Food Bank. I’ll be sure to include a box of Quinoa!

Kristen LaValley 2 years ago

I am currently one of those people. Thank you for this.

Celeste 2 years ago

That’s what is scary. Most people are one lay-off, divorce, serious health issue away from living a comfortable life to being almost bankrupt. And, in these times, its not just easy to pick up and move on to another well-paying job, and god knows healthcare costs are out of this world (even for those that are insured), and all it takes is one serious life event to go from being just fine to being completely in the hole.

Jill 2 years ago

I only worked part time for the longest time while going to school, and then had to leave my job years ago to care for my mom who was so ill with Parkinson’s and needed around the clock care. It was only because of our combined incomes that we survived. We did not qualify for food stamps because our income was too high, but it still was not enough to have enough food to last thru the month. If not for a food bank, my senior citizen mother, and my child was still a minor we would never have made it many times.

But unfortunately, even when kids are grown, some of us are still in the same place. My daughter is now grown, and my mother passed away almost 6 months ago. I immediately started looking for work, but I still haven’t found a job. It has left me feeling like because of my age and all my experience in life is worth nothing, even though I went to college. I have no real income and I am not eligble for food stamps, even though I am a diabetic and need to eat, because of stupid rules they have. Food banks have rules too about who gets what, age and having children are some of the things that make people eligible.

The only reason we are surviving is because my daughter now works in a place that gives food to the employees there, growing our own food at home, and local food garden co-ops where everyone shares for the work they do. Thank God for that!

Hunger is at epidemic proportions now, unemployment is still high in many areas, inflation continues to go through the roof, and yet Congress has cut the budget for food stamps and many will now be ineligible. Dependency on food banks will grow even more over the next few years. I am glad to hear of your efforts and hope that it continues to grow and help many more. There should be more people like you.

One day, that woman who made those comments will learn the hard way.

Linda 2 years ago

I grew up in a large family, one whose parents could not afford to provide the essentials, never mind Christmas gifts! When I was 9 or 10, it was a particularly tough year for my dad, he had been laid off and my mom couldn’t work with 7 children at home.
On Christmas eve the door bell rang, when we went to answer no one was there, however a Christmas hamper with gifts for everyone in the family and dinner had been left at the back door. That Christmas has impacted my whole life.

In some parts of Canada we have a program called Adopt A Family, this involves being paired with a family and buying gifts and dinner for a family at Christmas.
A number of years ago, when I was very involved in this project my daughter and I delivered the Christmas package to a family in need, who as chance would have it lived in the basement of my sisters home.

The family was very appreciative and was amazed at how much we delivered, when we got there the mother and daughter were making ornaments and the daughtetr brought one to show us. I commented on how pretty it was, when we came back with another load, she had an ornament in her hand, she said this is for you.

I can’t begin to tell you how much this ornament means, and how it has the front and centre spot on our tree every year! Our story aired on the local radio station, and to this day brings tears to my eyes!

Never doubt the power of caring and giving!

Larkin Warren 2 years ago

Jenny–Thank you. Beautifully done, right down to your grown-up pulled punch. Sometimes doing “missionary work” just gets wearisome. I often wonder how food-drive donations get to where they’re going. Does anybody ever meet the people—the parents, the families—they’re helping? Do they donate in March and April or August, vs. only the holiday season? Do kids who bring in their parents’ donations ever see the inside of a soup kitchen or shelter or pantry? And come on, folks—no guilt or shame in asking for help, since you’ll likely be the ones who give it once you get strong again: Green beans AND quinoa AND artichoke hearts AND ginger snaps AND the good mac-and-cheese AND Lorna Doones AND apple sauce AND black olives.

JENNY 2 years ago

Pat… thanks for sharing your story. I’m at a loss to describe how sorry I am for your struggle. I’ll also remember reading this next time I’m helping at the food shelf. You have given me a lesson in humility. Please know that you have not as you put it “fallen from grace.” You have shown & continue to show grace, mercy & compassion. You sacrificed for your daughter when she needed you & you continue to “help others.” Please don’t give up.

april 2 years ago

this hit home and I thank you for sharing your story. I am a firm believer that no one should judge another. you never know what anyone goes through unless you are in their shoes. I am , and have been “one of those people”. I just wanted to share, in case anyone is out there who is in a position to start something like this, something a church did that helped us tremendously. They would collect food, fresh food, milk, breads, fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, from local grocery stores each week. food that would be thrown away, a day or two old, but perfectly fine. And once a week they would let families sign up to come on Saturdays and get as much as they could carry. they had to limit the list to 30 families. This was such a huge help in addition to food stamps. I was able to make baby food for my baby from the fresh fruits and vegies. People who aren’t in need of help, don’t realize that the money amount of food stamps given a month, sounds like a lot, and its great, but it doesn’t go as far as it sounds like it should. this extra help each week, really make a huge difference. So, I just thought I would put it out there. maybe more communities could do the same.

Francesca 2 years ago

I sure hope somebody tells her that she is being insensitive and unreal. How will she find out otherwise (that being said, i most likely wouldn’t have had the courage in the moment to stand up to such an unexpected phrase. Need to think it through ahead of time)
Thank you for this honest and heartfelt story.

Renee Witgenstein 2 years ago

I’m sorry, maybe it’s the crude “those people” in me, but I would have actually said something, lol. I mean… we’re all the same species, we all have life that is cut from the same cosmic fabric, we all bleed red….. and we all need help somewhere at some point in our lives, so what is the difference? “those people”….. that phrase is just ignorant, uncivilised, primitive, and it nauseates me. So good on you OP, for being far more patient and self-restrained than I am. I would have left that building with that woman feeling like a first-rate dbag for being so judgmental and ignorant.

alicia vandersluis 2 years ago

You should of said something… or at least still say something… staying quiet even after writing about it still doesn’t solve anything…standing up for those”people lets face it yourself is what counts people

Virginia Llorca 2 years ago

I was one of “those people”. The government used to give away stacks of cheese, rice, powdered milk, butter (I think) and peanut butter. Can’t remember what else. I was the only young person in the line with a child. All the others were senior citizens. This was Oak Park Illinois, a wealthy community. My older daughter lived on the AFB in Mississippi. Although they lived on base and had a decent life, her husband’s “actual” salary also qualified her for this free food. She also got powdered eggs. When I would visit we could make a whole batch of corn muffins, delicious corn muffins with a 25 cent box of jif mix and the powdered eggs, and milk. I wonder what the guv does with that surplus food now? It is probably in a warehouse with all that unrefined uranium we took from Iran. I was so used to powdered milk we used it for years after. Now powdered milk actually costs more per gallon than fresh.

Been there. Done that. Married to Bank VP. On food stamps a few years later. Ever try to sell an oil painting from your living room or hock your wedding silver? Knew every way to work the system. This giving away free phones and using food stamps to buy chemical milk shakes at McDonalds doesn’t seem quite right to me.

Linda Williamson 2 years ago

Thank you for writing this…I’m one of “those” people. I’ve learned to ignore the people who think/speak this way, but I still feel it no matter what shows on my face or in my voice.

Abby Kingston 2 years ago

This is what bothers me about this story: How come this woman (head of household) has a job working in a school (a respectable and necessary institution) and doesn’t GET PAID ENOUGH to feed her children? It isn’t food shelves and charity donations that our country needs. It is a pay scale that enables people with jobs to make at the very least, enough to live to work another day, and preferably enough to live with dignity. Most school jobs are paid for with taxes by local government. We need a tax structure that collects what is needed equitably from all of its citizens, and then spends that revenue on what is needed for a humane and well-functioning society.

Jacob Leatherberry 2 years ago

My dear Jenny:
I am one of those people as well. There was a time in my life where I had a very rough patch in my life and was suffering from crippling depression, which brought me to attempting suicide. Life was in the dumps for a while, and the depression was exacerbated by not being able to find a viable job for almost a year. I dug myself out over the course of a year with counseling and medication, but without SNAP I’d be dead right now, I know it. Thank you for giving this problem a voice.

Lin 2 years ago

One theme running through here is that many of “those people” are divorced moms and kids, which was the case for me, also. That means that there are plenty of ex-husbands/partners/fathers who have a family who needs food but they don’t care to provide what is needed.

Jeanne 2 years ago

Everytime we make a mistake, we have an opportunity to learn. We need to help ourselves and each other learn every day.

Walking in another’s shoes is also a good way to learn. We need to create opportunity for all of use to learn this way, too.

Lin 2 years ago

I could never bring myself to go to the but I was on food stamps and many times I’d be chatting with the cashier and when they realized I used food stamps, they’d clam up. I’d go to stores where no one knew me.

Julie 2 years ago

you really missed a chance to educate her

” well of course you are not one of those people”

” Actually, yes I am. You would be surprised how many “those people” are your friends and neighbors and that is why we do these collections. Because there but for the grace goes you. SHould you ever become in need I hope you never feel the amount of judgement and misjudgement you have shown at this moment in time. I would love to have over for lunch if you would like to talk about this more Artichoke salad ok with you?”

Misty 2 years ago

I loved the beautiful honesty in this post–it gives people the courage to admit that they have been or are “those people.”

I have been one of “those people,” too when my ex left me with his debts and did not pay child support and I learned something about people who say these kinds of things.

Most of the time, I think they stuff like this because they are actually afraid. They are terrified of ever having to be in that situation, so they say things like this. If they can distance themselves and judge, then they can create a belief system that says, “This won’t ever happen to me because I am not one of “those people.”” “Because I know what to do with quinoa I will never be poor,” basically. It sounds completely asinine, but I think it is what people do.

I used to get angry with people who mocked me that way, but now I attempt to persuade them to see a different point of view, and assuage their fears. Most people hate and judge because they are afraid or feel guilty. If you can help them to understand another viewpoint in a gentle way, you can help them to open their minds and their hearts, and maybe stop this kind of judgmental behavior from continuing. Just a thought…

Dominik Eugenio Cyr 2 years ago

As a single parent, i was one of those people, thank you for posting this. People find many reasons to belitle others, although we are all human beings, some of us forget, and we judge others, because that is what we have been taught to do.

Tammy McGann 2 years ago

Be PROUD to be "one of those people". I wish my mother had been "one of those people". But my mother refused. She never applied for Welfare or Food Stamps, even though we would have been eligible for both. I wish she had. I specifically remember the day when we had nothing to eat. NOTHING. I was in kindergarten. The ketchup had already been watered down. But there were no french fries available to dip into watered-down ketchup. I remember the moment that we found a $20 bill in the cushions of our couch. After my mom shed some tears, we went to KFC and bought dinner. If I wasn't a 6 year-old child at the time, if I was an adult who could advise my mother–I would've told her to apply for Food Stamps. To shop at the local food pantry. Because your children shouldn't have to be victims of your pride. Be proud on your own time; don't make your children suffer because of it. They need FOOD, not a lesson in self-reliance.

Ashley Joy 2 years ago

Wow. I admire the bravery that took.

My Mis-Matched World 2 years ago

Great post, and I might be one of "those people" this week. We are moving, things keep breaking and no money to even purchase bread. But, we will get through till the paycheck in 2 weeks. She probably donated some of that quinoa.

Trevor Crosby 2 years ago

One of "those" people. The kind who eats and shits.

Cari Milton 2 years ago

wow… what an attitude :( I'm sure 'those people' are perfectly able to read the instructions on food they are not familiar with… as well as google (yep, those people have computers or access to them at libraries etc) for recipes to make good use of unusual products.

I've never used a food pantry before, but I've been in positions where I should have. Instead, we survived on ramen noodles, peanut butter sandwiches, canned fruit & veggies… plus whatever WIC (and even at one point, food stamps) provided us with. It's been a LOT of years since those days, but I look down my nose at nobody. Just because they are poor NOW, doesn't mean they have always been… and it certainly doesn't mean they wouldn't enjoy 'fancy' food if ti was offered!

Gail Wood Rush 2 years ago

I've had to be one of "those people" on occasion, too. I can completely relate to this post and I thank her for her honesty!

Mary Johnson 2 years ago

Right now, I'm one of 'those people.' I'm a newly single mom with two kids (3 years and 6 months). I'm finally getting an apartment and my car has just died. I sold my car for scrap so I could buy groceries. I had to weigh the pros and cons. I decided that having to struggle to get to work but being able to feed my children, was more important than fixing a car that would just break in a month or two anyway. I feel shame that I can't afford niceties, that I can't afford to purchase my son a birthday present, that I have to disappoint my children by rarely seeing them because I have to work all the time.

But I can cook. I will sacrifice nice things so that my kids can have full bellies and happy lives. I will work my ass off to make sure that my kids want for nothing. They will grow up and be well-adjusted. They may resent me in the later years when I tell them that they cannot have certain things. But that's the breaks. So I might be one of 'those people' now but not forever. And all it takes is a boost up. A helping hand, either from a food shelf, a family member, or any other benevolent charity.

Judgement of others just shows their ignorance. God forbid they find themselves in our shoes.

George Cunningham 2 years ago

Gretchen Farrar-Foley, because labeling this person in the article as one of "those" and putting her in a separate category will do so much to change the divisiveness.

Julia Sherman 2 years ago

Our food shelf doesn't accept dented and outdated food. So I eat the old, dented rotting stuff and give 'those people' the good stuff. I am lucky I can do that. I did need WIC and food stamps when I was in a pickle. So I am a proud those alumni.

Alex Harrow 2 years ago

We live in the country of judgment and racial and religious profiling im not surprised at the remark this woman made…based on how naïve she is…that woman also seems like the type of person who would take the most valuable things for granted…I actually hope one day that she can realize what "those people" feel when she becomes a part of that population…and right now we live in one of the most horrible economics structures of our time…so its understandable when single mothers or even families worry about food being on the table…based on this country current economic situation…there are so many people in trouble these days with finances, housing, food you name it…we have some serious cleaning up to do…and another thing everyone decided one day to help each other out and actually become human and have soul maybe then things would get better…but these days most people think about themselves and no longer see the big picture…they also don't realize the smallest thing can be the biggest help to someone less fortunate…and just because someone is less fortunate doesn't mean they were always like that…fortune can come and go…for anybody really….I was one who had everything…wealthy family…wealthy back round everything was good….and in the blink of an eye…I lost everything and so did my family…life is funny and sad…but what makes it sad is people who judge those who they have no right to judge…just my opinion…in the world we must do what it takes to survive…and if that means going to a food shelf or a soup kitchen then do it…I judge no one…for every person's life has its own complications and neither me nor anyone else can understand except the person(s) experiencing this current situation…

Teddi Stearns 2 years ago

It doesn't matter what type of food you donate…dont' you people get it? Why in this country to we teach people to feel shame about getting the basics to survive? Why do people demean and put stigma to those who need assistence. It's time to reeducate Americans that those who need assistence aren't the stereotyped "lazy" people. Walk in their shoes for a week. I bet you wouldn't last a day. So while some of you pat yourself about how you help "those people"…your words counteract your donations…showing how truly judgemental and shallow you are. Should I say…"non-Christian like".???

Danièle Bučar Côté 2 years ago

Most of us these days are one sick day– or at least one paycheck– away from being one of those people.

Aria Clements 2 years ago

I do not believe you've ever had a NEED to go to a food pantry. If you had a genuine need, you wouldn't have thought yourself above food that someone else could eat. Between starving or eating food YOU personally don't like, many others could eat. Shame on you for your attitude and willingness to just toss stuff you don't like so that others can't eat it.

Aria Clements 2 years ago

This is the best comment I've ever read on this topic. While, yes, there are people who can't be bothered to try (I'm related to many people who make a competition out of how much they can game from the system), the reality is most people getting any aid are working and contributing to the same system.

Aria Clements 2 years ago

Rebecca Smith Learn t embrace longer hair on boys. If you don't take care of your dental health, you will be no use to your son if you get an abscess and literally can not function or die. Sometimes taking care of our kids means taking care of ourselves and realizing a haircut even for them can become a luxury if a parent is risking becoming deathly ill.

Aria Clements 2 years ago

Lauri Little Wendel Because their food was seen as exotic for not being common in the US, prices skyrocketed. It's no longer a food for the poor. Did you know that lobster was once a poor food? Times change.

Michele Rocray 2 years ago

I don't think the article is about quinoa and truffle oil. It's about stereotyping, prejudice and ignorance. More compassion is what we need in this world.

Teresa 2 years ago

Discrimination at its best. Thanks for drawing attention to it.

Lisa 2 years ago

I have been one of “those people” and as a sous chef I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to find fresh produce like green onions or celery or things I just could not justify spending the little money I did have on, like a jar of peanut butter. We lived on soup, fresh and homade that winter, from the pantry shelves. I live in a rural farming community so there was always fresh produce. The real treat for my kids was when I would bring home the leftover pizzas donated on occasion by a pizza place. We are just making it now, but every week I take a few items to the same pantry I used…..last week it was 5 x 3 cup bags of chicken soup base. I would have loved to have found that on a shelf for one of my soups or a rice dish!

Jenny 2 years ago

Not quite sure if I follow. So I’m pretentious because I think people should maybe think before they speak? Okay. Got it.

I live in reality, too, my friend. In fact, that what I wrote about in this piece: MY REALITY. I’m well aware of the facts and statistics, and yep, I know there are people who smoke and eat McDonalds and don’t give two shits about Trader Joe’s and quinoa.

Unfortunately, that’s not me. I appreciate what you’re trying to say, but I don’t appreciate being insulted while you try to say it.

Michelle 2 years ago

I have been on the receiving end of the local food pantry but I have also been behind the lines as a volunteer handing out as well. Our pantry offers many “normal” food items like the boxed mac & cheese, peanut butter, microwaveable items and canned veggies. They have recently began offering a more diverse array of items like fresh vegetables, greek yogurt and whole grain foods. Believe it or not, the majority will walk past the healthier more costly products, even when offered suggestions on how to use or prepare the food…right back to the pre packaged foods. So I guess I’m not defending the “rich” bitch, she is correct in the assumption of people choosing familiar over unfamiliar. Most of the families our pantry deals with just don’t want to do the extra preparation in cooking, it’s easier to tear open a box, dump it on the stove or in the microwave and serve it up.

Jenny 2 years ago

aunt b (it pains me to write this, as I have a real life Aunt B whom I love very much):

I’m not going to justify my life to you. I will say that you have no idea where I was when this was happening. Or what I did or didn’t have. You’re going to try and make me feel crappy for spending $8.00 a month for Netflix? Okay. I’m not giving you that power.

I find it almost funny (not quite, but almost) that I’m being judged in the comment section of an essay I wrote about judgment.

No offense taken, by the way. I don’t let this kind of stuff get under my skin.

Thank you for reading.

Erin Sears Blodgett 2 years ago

Samantha Brooke Bennett – How can we educate them if we continually "dumb' down what we give people? My mom runs a food pantry from our church. We have been blessed with donations for Whole Foods, Panera, etc.. and yes some things come to the pantry expired or expiring.. but thats why my mom and her workers take the extra effort and sort thru the expired foods before they hit the shelf. And we use the church's gardens to get some fresh veg into those bags when we can. Is it a perfect system? Of course not. But to withhold a food item simply because you believe that the person receiving it wouldn't use it isn't the answer. A simple google search or even jotting down a simple recipe to add to the bag might enlighten that person enough to try that 'gross' food and help them eat a little better.

I am one of those people. I work at a grocery store, and my husband is working as a truck driver, but because of bills and children we sometimes have to depend upon food pantries like my mom's to make sure there is food on the table for my kids. And as someone who is a culinary student, daughter of a chef, I know what quinoa is and would love to use it more if and when its offered. :)

Lois 2 years ago

I was one of those people way back in the 70s when my son was very small. Then, a couple of years ago, as a 60-year-old woman on my own, I found myself in the same financial situation I had been in over 40 years ago and, yes, I became one of those people again. I had a lot of trouble accepting that I needed food. It was much easier thing to do all those years ago when it was my son that I had to take care of and not just myself. This time, I was much more critical of myself (how could I find myself in this situation again? what kind of an idiot does this again? etc.) than I ever was back then. I drove around the parking many times before I actually went in and then it took me a couple of visits inside the facility before I could actually do the paperwork. When I finally sat down with the woman to go over my paperwork, she was so kind and gentle with me that she really set my mind and heart at ease.

I’m very grateful for the people who donated the food I’ve been given. They are life-savers.

Amy Brown 2 years ago

And I know it's not the solve-all, but it really helps. Plus you can gain friendships and resources out of it. Sometimes people ask if you know someone who can do such-and-such and you can refer them to those people and vice versa. Then you both can make a little money possibly or just a good network.

Nicki Burns 2 years ago

Seriously? I'll take the artichokes!

Amy Brown 2 years ago

Stephanie Ladd I've also been there! A great alternative I've learned is offering something to Swap/Trade/Barter pages on Facebook or Craigslist. If you're excellent at something (like canning, sewing, small jobs, certified in babysitting/CPR, can do part-time/seasonal medical billing or accounting, etc etc etc- you'd be so surprised how many people would love to trade something with you. I like to grow produce but can never seem to find the time to can. I need someone that can fix zippers, etc… so do many others. And it'd be free for both of you. Win-win!!)

Amy 2 years ago

So you’re saying that no one is “Entitled” to believe they will always be able to support themselves because they did everything right: got a good education or learned a valuable trade and presented with a good work ethic, paid their taxes, stayed out of trouble with the law and addiction, and was a valued member of society?

No one has a crystal ball to anticipate things happening to them. Why should they wait until they have a million dollars before having a family? Look at the people in our government who made it shut down? Should everyone be raised a millionaire?

Amy 2 years ago

Samantha, actually your comment IS pretentious and makes assumptions. My mother was debutante of the year in Lexington, KY a half century plus ago. I grew up in an upper middle/lower upper class family. When my parents divorced, I was 15 and I guess the lawyers got all the money because when they each died before I was 30, I really couldn’t call myself an heiress in the least.

I’m well educated and talented at what I do, but having a son with autism has required time and energy I have not spent on my career. Therefore we are lower middle/upper lower class in income and have been since the recession started. As I get into my 40s it’s that much harder to advance, and I don’t have mom and dad to help out. I also have a mental illness about which I’ve been open to try to help other people, but at great cost to myself in being able to get a job.

I know what all the foodie food is. My husband, from a lower middle class family, knows a lot from me, and he’s very intelligent — $40,000 worth of classical humanities undergrad with no degree.

There is no “rich” or “poor” mentality. Income level is fluid and can change at any time. I could win the $7,000 per week for life from Publisher’s Clearing House next month (they say I have a really, really good chance!) My richest relative has gone from being a prosperous real estate developer in the family business of his wife’s family to being a divorced radio ad salesman for a country music station. I didn’t know he’d ever listened to country music. He was raised attending the New York Philharmonic with his season-ticket-holder parents. I don’t know how he can go out there in his polyester blend uniform polo and sell 45 second spots on “The Bull.” He’s a Wharton grad! For a half century he was an upper class white male. Now he’s not even the boss at a second rate FM station and I’m pretty sure his commissions are in the five figures, not six or seven.

Class, money — it’s all here today gone tomorrow. You never, ever know. I wish my cousin was not too snobbish to help me with my caring ventures for other people, but I don’t think he’ll ever actually lose his arrogance.


Samantha Brooke Bennett 2 years ago

usually you get an allotment, only to get home and starting unpacking it to find it not worth eating. and she never said the ppl are "ignorant", she was merely saying that the value of the product that the original woman spoke of would likely go unrecognized by the typical food box recipient.

Kristina Bloomhall 2 years ago

First of all, I want to say THANK YOU for being so open and sharing your story. I am in a situation similar to what you were. I have two boys, 6 and 4. I went through an ugly, nasty divorce. My ex is a pro at working “under the table” so I receive no child support. I went from being a stay at home mom to having to look for a job. Throw in a little twist, my oldest son is Autistic so I needed a job that would work around doctor appointments and therapy sessions. I am now working at a small, local hotel cleaning rooms, making $4.00 per room that I clean. It isn’t glorious or glamorous, but it IS a job…one that allows me to still spend time with my children and be there for them.

There was a post that made me see red in these replies! “I don’t feel sorry for these people”. Too bad “us people” are better than you will ever be. We know what it is like to hit our knees at the end of the day and say a prayer because someone was kind enough to spare $4 or a gallon of milk, because someone else out there actually CARED. There may be a few bad apples out there that abuse the system and take things for granted…but 99% of us DO NOT. My kids get hand-me-down clothes and toys. We do not have cable. We do not have an extensive movie collection or a tv in every room. We do have internet because with children in school that is a necessity. I clip the heck out of coupons and match sale ads so that we are able to have food on the table. My furniture is used. I shop at thrift stores and second hand shops. My cell phone is not an IPhone, it is an old Samsung. My purse is the same one that I bought back in high school. I make do!!! Should my family be homeless and dressed in dirty rags for you to think that we need help??? NO!!! My children wear old navy and nike clothing and shoes. Does it mean that I spent an insane amount of money on them, NO!!! My kids have plenty of toys, does that mean that I spent money on them, NOO!!! “US PEOPLE” are resourceful, grateful, and loving. I am proud to be one of “THOSE PEOPLE”!!!

Once again, THANK YOU!!! Thank you for this website, thank you for your stories, thank you for everything!!!

Jacquelyn Kasmarek 2 years ago

I so wish you had stood up to her and maybe not in those words but in a strong delicately worded manner set her ass straight. so that she could realize the reality of struggles facing humanity.

Gretchen Farrar-Foley 2 years ago

I am always shocked by the comments of "those" rich bitches who have never had to consider how the other half lives. It is shameful that people still feel that way. Sorry that "those"kinds of people stil exist.

Wanda T 2 years ago

Those People? I have been one of those people. I have family members that are those people. She is a stay at home mom, has 2 kids, her husband works 2 jobs. Even then they still qualify for food stamps. This month the food stamp people messed up and they only are getting $100 for food. She has to go to the food bank. Even some months the food stamps just don’t cover everything and she has to go. I even sometimes will ship her some groceries along with the stuff I buy the kids at yard sales. I especially like to send the kids snacks because that is the last thing she buys when shopping for groceries. I just sent her $25 so she can buy some food. They don’t have any meat in the house, and very little other food. But that’s okay because when you are hungry, it is okay to be one of “those people.”

Stephanie Ladd 2 years ago

Rebecca Smith yup, I'm there too. A few sweaters and a haircut would do wonders for my self esteem too, but my little one needed a haircut for picture day. He wins. Every time.

Ken 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing this. What a wonderfully honest reflection. You’ve obviously touched a nerve and spoken for many people here.
I also think its great when the food shelf hosts guest celebrity chefs from local restaurants teaching EVERYONE! interesting ways to cook quinoa. Charge a registration fee, with regular clients of the pantry getting a paid admission ticket when they come the month before, and get their names on the guest list. Anyone who prepays is also on the same list, and everyone’s tickets look the same, so no one gets singled out. I know that I get confused w some of the stuff from whole foods or trader joes.

Sherri Shockley Kraxberger 2 years ago

I love this "fancy pants food " reply. Good for you. I too work at a local food pantry and your attitude is wonderful !

Robin 2 years ago

What I would have liked to tell this woman is that pretty much ALL of us is one large misfortune away from being “those people.” All it can take is a job loss, a serious illness, a flood/fire/hurricane. Something that can wipe you out quickly and completely. Most likely she is vulnerable too. How sad for her and her children that she has no idea.

Robin 2 years ago

Come on now. You know very well that’s NOT what this woman mean by ‘those people.’ She meant the poor, not the people who don’t know their way around a kitchen. She made that pretty damn clear.

Rick Shiffler 2 years ago

give em hell girl

Kristine Davison Allcroft 2 years ago

I was one of "those" people . . . many years ago. I am so filled with gratitude that I now contribute to food pantries – every chance I get. I know what it's like to eat oatmeal 3 times a day because there wasn't anything else to eat. I know what it's like to cry when the price of lentils increased by 10 cents in a week. I know what it's like to wonder where the next meal will come from . . . and what it's like to hide it from the kids so they never knew how bad it was. Thanks for posting! And you all you moms out there, remember: it's only temporary!

Maribel C. Ibrahim (@TheFrugalWriter) 2 years ago

Thank you for this excellent post.

I am one of those people.

But, before we go off and criticize folk, let’s understand that it’s not always arrogance, it’s ignorance. This country is so wealthy compared to other nations that it is easy to forget about the poverty that is all around us.

I am going through a divorce and lived off my savings and modest child support for a year as a stay at home mom. And I went to my church’s food pantry to better manage what I had to live on. And, I’d do it again. The only reason I didn’t is because I was getting monthly support and I had enough in my savings account to parcel out expenses. We went without haircuts, clothes and I cut a lot of other things out to do it but I wanted that food available to the many people out there that have nothing left, don’t know where there next meal is and will finish their kid’s leftovers because they didn’t have enough to feed themselves. And guess what? There are plenty of people making these kinds of decisions every day while they live with their aunt in a “nice house” in the suburbs.

Poverty is everywhere around us. The only thing worse than that is our continued refusal to deny that it exists in our backyards. Thank you for this awesome post.

George Cunningham 2 years ago

I think that Wendy Macleod Harvey is replying to the statement above hers made by Karen LM, not to any implication that this was said in the article.

Lynn Thomas 2 years ago

I would like to say, I am one of “those people”. I work my hands to the bone sometimes to barely make ends meet for my family and without the support that I receive my family would sometimes go without. So to ALL of those who are not “one of those people” slap yourself for me because YOU ARE NOT any better than I!

Sherrye Hyland Gibbs 2 years ago

Thank you for the focus on this amazing arrogance.

Bre Blackwell 2 years ago

Why did you throw it away? You should have taken it back/not taken it to begin with. What a waste. Also, you are missing the connotation of what folder lady said; " Of course ppl who would need this are ignorant."

Robin Shultz 2 years ago

My father was a POW during WWII and came home 100% disabled. We were a family of “Those People”. This was before Food Stamps. Once a month, we would have to go to the county seat and get a box of “commodities”, i.e., foods that the government bought from farmers to keep the market stable. There were things like butter, peanut butter, powdered milk, canned chopped pork, beans, cheese, cornmeal, and powdered eggs. It was amazing what could be created with these items. However, some minority groups complained that the food provided wasn’t familiar to their culture and wanted what they were accustomed to eating. To make a long story short, the Food Stamp program was created, in part, so that people could obtain foods that was familiar to them. As with MOST government programs, ABUSE reared its ugly head and now we have the mess that we have.

Mary Kathryn Wallace 2 years ago

This is when I believe in re-education camps

Janet Ledger McCord 2 years ago

I wouldn't know what to do with quinoa–don't even know what it is, although I suspect it's some faddie/foodie thing. And please keep your artichoke hearts in oil, I don't think I'd EVER be that hungry! Pass the sleeve of saltines and the Velveeta! Unfortunately it's the constantly "entitled" that make it bad for people like yourself who sometimes desperately need a hand up (not a hand-out) and can make it easy for people to make assumptions about them. Your sense of unease and discomfort at asking for help even though you had every right does you credit. It's the people that push in and expect to be taken care of without any effort on their own part that ruin it for the REAL needy.

Bev and Woody flowers 2 years ago

We serve food at our church, we have met the most wonderful people at our food pantry. We have made lots of sweet friends. We love those people. We are blessed.

Michelle A Berner 2 years ago

I was one of "Those People" too.

Thoughtful Contrarian 2 years ago

I was sort of one of "those people", but didn't go to the food shelf. At the time, I had a dog, and felt that if I chose to keep said dog, I should leave the food pantry for people who really needed it.

You'd be amazed. Dry dog food is like stale crackers, but actually a little better. It'll get you through a meal or two til payday and you can afford the ramen soup again.

Riki Shiffler 2 years ago

i am one of those people. i am also a culinary student on my way to my degree, and in full renal failure on home peritoneal dialysis. i am fully capable of turning scraps into 4 star meals and probably know more about quinoa and artichoke hearts than there grains of rice in a cup. but, none of that matters when my groceries r bagged n i pull out my card n tell the cashier "food stamps, please". the small, fleeting moue of distaste, distrust, n superiority is on all their faces. i refuse to be ashamed, u don't know me, u don't know my story, u don't know my pain.

John F. Nihen 2 years ago

I've been one of "those people" too. Describing the heat in your cheeks was spot on; I felt like my face must have been bright red the whole time I was at the food bank. And I grew up with times where the child support wasn't there and we had bologna for breakfast or water on our Lucky Charms as there was no milk. I wish the folks who look down on people who have needed a helping hand would realize just how close to the ed we ALL are and that there are real human beings on the other end of that grocery bin.

Eva 2 years ago

For every person you may know who is gaming the system, there are hundreds out there who are sacrificing everything just to put food on the table. The Nike shoes could have been donated or picked up at Goodwill. You’re really making a lot of assumptions about “those people” that may apply to a segment of people, but certainly not to all.

Michelle 2 years ago

This why “those people”, including myself, should be open and unashamed of the help we receive. There’s a lot less room for this kind of ignorance when “those people” have names and faces.

Abbie 2 years ago

I understand why my mom loves this website. I still admire my mother for her creativity when we were on food stamps, and sometimes ask for those recipes! I applaud you for your honesty with your kids; that cannot be easy, but they will be better people for this experience.

Jamie Dixon 2 years ago

I think it's important to always remember, when we think we are helping others: "Condescending or paternalistic help is no help at all, but when you see the connection of your struggle to the success of mine, we can live through our differences." – Kal Alston. I probably think about this at least five times a week. I don't think it's uncommon for people to take pride, patting themselves on the back for their "kindness and helpfulness" even while they look down on the people they are helping, which is actually probably worse than no help at all. At least, if "those people" have to be exposed to the attitude behind the "help". At the same time, the greatest help of all can be sympathy.

Eva 2 years ago

Excellent point.

Bitch is a Lifestyle 2 years ago

This is an excellent post. My family were also “those people” when I was growing up. Growing up in government housing on food stamps with my divorced, single mother working 3 jobs to make ends meet for 4 kids…it made an impression on me…to never assume what one’s life is like. And it’s why I help “those people” by volunteering at my local food bank.

Amy Hillgren Peterson 2 years ago

They still post all that about drugs tests for welfare/SNAP recipients, even though Florida tested tens of thousands of people and only came up with a handful of positive drug tests – all that for a bunch of tax dollars that could have instead stayed in their TANF/SNAP system.

Eva 2 years ago

While I totally agree that donating nicer healthier items is great, I do take issue with people who go to Whole Foods and the ilk and pay four times as much for the same thing they could get at a regular grocery store. If you’re buying risotto, you could get 4 of them instead of just one if you shopped a little more thriftily. When you’re donating food, you’ve got to consider quantity in addition to quality.

Another thing people don’t think of is that while it’s fun to stack up cans and boxes of food, if you donate money to a non-profit that buys the food and uses 100% of your donation for the food, your dollar goes further because they don’t have to pay sales tax and can often even get discounts and buy in bulk at places like CostCo. It’s the same food, but you feed more people.

Some people will just never be in touch with “those people” and their lives. I’ve always considered myself very fortunate that I’ve had to be one of “those people” at times in one way or another. Because I’ve survived hard times, I know that if necessary I can do it again. People who are so out of touch might not be able to navigate the hard times as well. And let’s be honest, one bad accident, one huge medical bill, one very unfortunate event and anyone can become one of “those people”.

Great blog post.

Mike 2 years ago

I think the biggest problem that people have to stop doing is having multiple kids without being able to afford them. You might be able to afford them NOW with the job(s) you have but it doesn’t mean you could later. That is exactly what needs to be thought about when planning to have a kid…What if I get sick would I be able to feed my kid? So what if we had our 3rd child…would that make it harder for us later on if something were to take our income away? People don’t think about later they always think about now. I don’t feel sorry for those folk that have more then 1 child. I don’t care whose faught it is. That is why I will not have any kids unless i come into a pretty good lottery winnings and/or inheritance. If I can’t afford myself, why should I even think about bringing a kid in to this world?

Amy Hillgren Peterson 2 years ago

I also have a mental illness, and nice, fresh food (bought with food stamps at times) and Coca Cola help me stay off meds. So your tax money could either be used for the $300 a month of meds I used to be on with Medicaid or about 1/4 of that to make a difference in my brain health so I don't have to go to the psychiatrist and spend a lot for prescriptions that basically just zoned me out anyway.

Amy Hillgren Peterson 2 years ago

A year or less can make all the difference. Wealth is often fleeting and relative. I grew up in a rich family until I was 15. Then my parents divorced, each died before I was 30 and I guess the lawyers got all their money because they didn't have very much to leave me. Now I'm raising a struggling family though we did very well for ourselves for a few years. I've gone from a luxury sedan, four bedroom house we owned, and nice vacations to none of that. Still the same person on the inside. I would not want someone to experience it this way, but that's what I wish they could realize. Money is not a divider.

F Papavict O’Day 2 years ago

I might have replied: "I meant 'those people' to whom "cooking" means opening a can and heating the ingredients on a stove and who have probably never even heard of quinoa and are scared of trying something new. Could you please refrain from projecting your cultural guilt or whatever causes you to jump to the very kind of presumption you're yelling about?"

Amy Hillgren Peterson 2 years ago

Ria Barnett and others: those artichoke hearts are great as part of a chicken salad including Rice A Roni (or Lipton Chicken flavored rice), Mayo, green onions/scallions, and black olives. If there was a way to pack them all together so a family can make a dinner from that, I'd do it — or I would suggest it to a food bank while dropping off multiples of hte other ingredients, if I didn't think it would actually make more logistical headaches for the food pantry workers.

Kathleen Austin 2 years ago

After reading through these posts it became easier and easier to pick out those who are grateful, and those who don't know how to appreciate anything. When you're hungry you figure out what to do with whatever food you can get. And to those who are able to donate the more exciting and healthy food choices, I applaud you. Being broke does not mean you have to eat garbage.

Travis Detert 2 years ago

It's honestly not that surprising, American culture is very centered around divisiveness and an "us vs them" mentality. It's pretty much the number one complaint about Americans you hear when traveling.

Samantha Brooke Bennett 2 years ago

this story is so infuriating and ignorant on all fronts…why bash the woman with the folders? I kind of agree with her…she didn't need to be snotty about it(and we were not there so we don't know), but she makes a valid argument based on statistics and common-knowledge that the majority of people who are in a position to be picking up a food box are not educated in healthful food and would be more comfortable with a box of Kraft. There are different classes of people and if you argue that, you are seriously kidding yourself. And before you go all ape-shit on my comment, I AM a single mom who has been to the food bank a time or two. Honestly, I ended up throwing away most of what I picked up since it was just gross, outdated or unhealthy. I have been so dirt poor that I've had to get by on plain rice or figure it out for just a few dollars. I agree with the writer as well, the bins were filled with great stuff. But if you think the Whole Foodie and the Grocery Outlet regular have the same mentality, you are not seeing the world around you. I like it when people speak the truth, half the time we all think it anyway, you're the one being pretentious pretending it's all one cozy tea party full of love and blessings. The world is a rough place for most, people who love McDonald's and smoke and don't care much for our little Trader Joe, Whole Foods preference. I wish I could afford it, but I have to say, I'm just getting by somewhere in the middle. In reality…

Anna Wegscheid 2 years ago

^^ I just had to reply to this. I am mentally ill and on SSI. Before my mother died and I was given a small inheritance from her job, I was on food stamps. And I wore Nike shoes to go get them. I found them at an overstock-type store for $15 on sale. You don't know if someone bought those shoes on thrift, sale, with a gift card, etc. It's smarter to buy quality things on clearance than to go to Walmart and buy something that'll fall apart after a couple uses.

Nancy Keefer 2 years ago

I think it’s time that those of us who have been those people stop being ashamed of it, and tell the folder-ladies to their faces that “I’ve been ‘those people’ and I can tell you that your misconceptions are way out of line. Let’s go sit and talk about the reality.”

We aren’t going to change it until we change it. And until we do change it, I will continue to hear about people who put on their Facebook comments, “Like Jesus said, when you teach a man to fish, he eats for life. When you give a man a fish, he eats for a day.”

Just in case YOU’RE one of the people who think that, please know that that comment is NOT what Jesus said. Jesus said, “Here are some fish. Do you need more?”

Marsha Couturier 2 years ago

i am one of those people, and i gotta admit, i am one of the ones who likes thing simple, and dont know how to cook half that fancy stuff, but that dosnt mean i am stupid, and couldnt learn to do it. donated food is always good, because its NEEDED, how does the saying go? "beggers cant be choosers" im not saying im a begger, but when you are offered something for free, cause you cant get it on your own, you take what you get and are thankfull for it…..

Cathi Wagner Stevenson 2 years ago

Wendy MacLeod Harvey Say, what??

Pamela Wilson 2 years ago

I was an adjunct teacher, teaching Speech 101 at VCU. I was also a grad student. I went back to school at 40 after divorcing an abuser. I had 5 sons and 4 still at home.
A young man in my class gave a speech about "Those " people on Food Stamps and how they took from all of "us". After his speech I took my EPT card out of my purse and laid it out on the desk for all to see. Then I asked the class, "What do you have to believe in order for what you just heard to be true." Stunned silence is priceless.

Pamela Wilson 2 years ago

I was an adjunct teacher, teaching Speech 101 at VCU. I was also a grad student. I went back to school at 40 after divorcing an abuser. I had 5 sons and 4 still at home.
A young man in my class gave a speech about "Those " people on Food Stamps and how they took from all of "us". After his speech I took my EPT card out of my purse and laid it out on the desk for all to see. Then I asked the class, "What do you have to believe in order for what you just heard to be true." Stunned silence is priceless.

Cheryl Hazzlerigg Hingle 2 years ago


The Atomic Mom 2 years ago

To the author, I am so sorry! Just so sorry that you’ve had to deal with “those people”, you know, judgmental and small minded. I’ve learned that thru this recession or depression or whatever we’re calling it, there are more people in need that we know, that never say. I hope that your life has settled down a bit more. This has inspired me to put better stuff in the donation boxes….because you like quinoa. :)

Chris Harrison 2 years ago

Kim – I have not been one of "those people" and feel blessed for that. I am sorry about people like your "friend" being so self-absorbed. Hope they come out of it all as well as you did. You will forever be glad you held your tongue. Continued blessings to you and your family.

aunt b 2 years ago

No offense, but I do not eat as well as you have described you do when receiving free food from the food bank. I buy food I can afford to allow me to save a few dollars a week in my rainy day fund which I use “when that check does not come on time. We do not spend frivolously on cable tv or even netflix. We go to the library. So; yes, to some of us you are one of “those people.”

slsharris 2 years ago

When the dust has cleared and the emotions are not as high and you don’t have to worry about your kids beign teased, I hope that you will come out to persons like your unfortunate encounter. Becasue it is a teachable moment — and becasue once you do any unwarranted “shame” or unfounded residual embarrassment that you feel will gradually dissipate. Good for you — and a “samck in the face” wake-up call that is so richly deserved by the poster girl for the upper middle class lifestyle. Because she is less than one month away from the same circumstances if her husband engineers it.

Having been an abused wife, I am now unapologetic for what happened to me and forthcoming with my story. That has been very healing, although I do admit to wanting to slap certain individuals who ask the world’s most stupid question “Well, why didn’t you just leave?” No money of my own and no backup — THAT’S why!

Amanda Hicks 2 years ago

I think we also need to remember too that often times there are people who are pulling the errors and little-used (but not expired) items from their cupboards to donate because it's all they can afford to do. Not everyone who donates strange items is doing so because they're careless. Sometimes it's people who care but can only do so much. For every jerk out there purposely donating cans of expired food because they think folks should be grateful, there is a good person struggling to make ends meet who wants to throw a box of quinoa in the donation bin because it's the best they can do and they want to help.

Holly Ruddick 2 years ago

I was one of those people, and it can wholeheartedly agree with the lady saying that they "won't know what to do with it". I didn't, nor do many of the people whom I know still require help with their groceries. Not everyone who needs assistance is from a well educated, upper middle class family who just so happens to have fallen on hard times. Many are lifers, bound by the ravages of poverty, unable to pronounce quinoa let alone to have the time or culinary knowledge to know what to do with it. Not everyone is a foodie, and if you have been raised poor, you will most certainly not be one. I am a foodie, I love quinoa and appreciate the benefits of organic/fair trade/humanely raised (aka: floofy) foods. I also know that those who are not foodies get scared by the unknown and people in desperate times seek comfort and convenience. Not having been there, I can't tell with any accuracy the intonations of the lady's words, I can't tell if they were dripping with condescension or words of genuine concern. But I for one, am concerned. With the overwhelming poverty in our world, the last thing we need to do is complicate things further for those who need it.

cyndee 2 years ago

At first I thought “those people” would refer to the type of people who only donate to food banks around the holiday season – Halloween to Christmas, when food is needed year round. I am ashamed to admit to be one of those people. But I never donate expired food and tend to stick to pantry staples that only the imagination can limit options-wise.

Julie Taylor 2 years ago

That has me wondering about my own assumptions when I give food. While I'd never think "those people", what I do think are thoughts like, "I want the food I donate to be super easy, because these people are probably working hard and have kids so it's inconvenient to get to the food bank." Or "They must be stressed out so the food should be easy." So I won't donate stuff that I find labour intensive or not kid-friendly. And while I guess my assumption doesn't have the negative connotation, it's still an assumption. (Slapping my wrist.)

barbitoou 2 years ago

Wow, you got pissed cause there are people who can manage their lives and live on their own means. Yes, you should definitely go and slap them, how dare they!

Teri 2 years ago

I used to be one of those people and I am still one of those people,
Life is not easy for people, especially when you have a family and your a single parent and you rely on whatever means you can to get some help, I was a single parent and my ex-husband never paid child support, medical expenses, dental expenses etc.. I worked to pay my bills, My children never went without a home, food, utilities etc. some months i had no choice but to go to the food pantry to get food, I made too much money according to the guidelines by $1.00 t receive any type of benefits, so I would pay partial payments on things, Some people don’t realize, until it happens to them. Sadly there is so much of it today, and you should not feel ashamed or guilty and you can make amazing things from food pantry items.

Caroline Mazzara D’Angelo 2 years ago

I agree with Karen on the food being donated being shopping errors and then some. I have for the past 7 years run 2 different food drives. One at my place of employment and one in a fraternal organization that I belong to. The fraternal organization members pay much better attention to items on the "wish list" than my co-workers. I even had meetings at work where I brought lists of the wanted items (in every category), showed examples (not all mac and cheese) and even encouraged my co-workers to combine money and buy in bulk at the local Military Exchange or Costco or Sam's Club. Wow, what a difference some people made and yet others simply looked through their cabinets and found the items they weren't going to use, items that they disliked, items that were going to expire (or already had) and donated them. I had 5 people who individually donated 250 lbs of food or more and several team efforts of big donations, yet I had at least 50-60 items donated by 4-5 people of expired or spoiled food was sad and shameful. One even admitted to me that they donated the expired food since "Those people" should not be "picky". I have worked at the local food bank/pantry and at various shelters and wow, I was appalled by this person's comments and yes, I did tell the person off. I told them I would rather they not donate than be that selfish (they did say they were sorry, they didn't think it was a big deal and regretted it). I will again be in charge of the Food Drive next year at work and I plan on doubling my goal and stressing good food and non-expired food and if you are going to donate quinoa or other lesser used food, tape a simple recipe on it. Make it something everyone can make and have some fun with. Think before you donate and remember any of us can be in the situation where we need a bit of help and also pay it forward.

Michelle Johnsen 2 years ago

Lauri Little Wendel yup and now they're starving because the price for quinoa has risen so much they can't afford it.

Teresa Zetwick 2 years ago

Sara Wood Rasmussen , that's beautiful.

James Andrews 2 years ago

I was almost one of those people. I'm glad I had friends to help me through those tough times. Really does suck when all you have to your name is the clothes on your back.

Christine Elvey 2 years ago

It's always good to donate anything period to help out, but staple items are a must and ones that have longer expiration dates. Canned goods, pasta, rice, beans/lentils, dried goods (fruits/veges) to reconstitute etc. don't just throw in items you will never eat. And it's always good to throw in kid friendly items for a special treat.

Marcia Webb 2 years ago

I recently had groceries delivered to the home of some of "those people", a lovely family with five children. I opted for quantity over quality in order to get them as much as possible, but after reading this I think the next delivery will include some special holiday treats…maybe a bottle of wine :)

Carrie Mackey Hammond 2 years ago

Ria Barnett I love those artichokes. Many people may not eat them because they either think they look gross or that they are somehow supposed to incorporate them into a recipe–when really all you have to do it open the jar and eat. 😉 I always tell people, even if you don't think you will like something, give it a try and see, you just might change your mind.

Angelina Josephine Baudler 2 years ago

When my husband was in college and we had our first child. we struggled, keep in mind we both worked full time and he was a full time student. at times I worked both a full time and part time job. We shared a single car. you wouldnt beleive the way people judge when you pay with foodstamps or WiC (pre -ebt card) I felt at the time we were exactly what this program was built for. people who were struggling but trying to do better, who eventually wouldnt need the help anymore.
I know successful college graduates, who had great jobs and fullfilled lives, who later struggled due to layoffs, or illness in the family. shame on anyone who judges them needing some help to feed their children.

Victoria 2 years ago

Hi Jennifer,

I completely understand where you are coming from. I think many people believe that those who benefit from food bank programs are the typical American opinion of a homeless person. Rarely does anyone realize that children in that very school could be benefiting from those donations – children in her very class probably. It is sad to know people are so sheltered from the truth. We have only ourselves to blame for that. For example, you only told one friend – why not tell more friends? Why not be honest with the women making the remark. While your post was powerful – you were given an opportunity in that moment to open her eyes and didn’t take it. I must ask why?

A few months ago we left to travel with our children in a tent across the U.S. Three months in, we ran out of money and courage to continue. We were homeless, stranded in a tent in several states away from “home”. At the point when we finally sold our pull-behind utility trailer we had the gas light on in the truck, no food, and $3 in our bank account. To top it off, the person paid with a money order! We had to drive 20 miles to get it cashed – on fumes in the late afternoon when noone had eaten that day. That was probably the lowest day of my life. Did my friends or family know we were going through this – no. Not until it was over. Do they know now, you bet. But at the time I was too ashamed of our foolish decisions to say so.

Open a few eyes – the next time you see her, tell her how wrong she was…

Drive Me Crazy Family Adventure

Jessamyn West 2 years ago

I am a supporter of our local food shelf and one of the things we try really hard to do is to make it clear to our rural community just how many people form the community do, at some point, make use of the food shelf at some point in their lives. Every year at town meeting, when they ask for funding form the town, the staff from the food shelf thank the funders, thank the supporters, talk about the work parties they’ve done to get the place clean and stocked and welcoming, and always mention just how many people with food insecurity have made use of the food shelf.

I think it goes a long way towards making the food shelf seem like less of an us and them thing and a lot more of a thing that our community does for ourselves. Thanks for your post, we could all use a lesson in how to think more compassionately about people who are having a hard time (and I mean the woman with the bad attitude as well as people who are grappling with food insecurity).

Kim Klahn 2 years ago

I was one of "those people" before too. It is hard to suck up your pride and walk through those doors. Was very thankful in that time of need.

Jessica Eliav 2 years ago

Love this post! I am a caterer, own my business, but grew up with some rough years….I just started a program called Moms4Moms, and will be preparing meals for families this holiday season, because its not about differences or money, but about love and helping each other and bringing good energy to our lives. ‘Those People” forget there is a whole world out there…..Its all about working together with smiles to make this world a better place.

Kirk Berryhill 2 years ago

Yep, when I donate food for the drives, I go thru the cabinets and pull out what I know I haven't used and probably wont.

Kirk Berryhill 2 years ago

I have been one of those people- and I wouldn't know what the hell to with Quinoa and my kids probably wouldn't eat it. We aren't Foodies. We just needed at least two meals a day. Please keep it simple when you donate. Oreos good. Marinated artichoke hearts/Quinoa ? Pass. Some of us poor people don't know what that is, have no idea how to prepare this stuff and our kids would rather go hungry than eat it. Some of these rich well-to-do jerks actually judge each other based on what they donated. We dont' want your foodie bullshit. Give us normal food that we can cook and eat.

Lauralee Proudfoot 2 years ago

I worked at a food bank. The director made me sick. He had that same sort of attitude towards the very people we served. I was reprimanded for allowing someone to take her child to use the washroom in the back because, you know, if we allow "those people" in the back they might be tempted to steal something.

And at the same time, he and others – staff & volunteers – were skimming the good stuff …. treats never EVER made it out past the staff lounge area unless it was into the trunk of his car. Wouldn't be fair to give that good cheese, or chocolate, or whatever, to some people when we don't have enough for everyone, right?

Except that of course that never mattered when we didn't have enough peanut butter or whatever.

Bonnie Holmes 2 years ago

I don't usually comment on things but this one hits home before having my daughter I had a good state job made decent money for just me. Due to a chronic illness I had to take the first 2 years of her life off plus my job was nights. Her father paid the bills or so I thought when he left I found out he left me an enormous electric bill. I went back to school to get my degree. I had to take whatever job I could find which is minimum wage and part time. I went to food pantries when I needs it and then broke down and signed up for food stamps. A few months ago they shut my electric off because I just couldn't afford to pay it off before finally finding this job I had income of 117 a week now it's around 225 a week still not much but getting by somehow. Electric company refused to work with me of course wanting the entire amount due which I have been doing everything possible to get but haven't been able to do. The last time I called them they told me they wouldn't work with me until after November first so next week it should be able to have it back on and they will have to work out a repayment plan thankfully. It's extremely cold in my house but we manage and my daughter has been great about dealing with it. I tried a couple of places to get some help to but I either didn't qualify or there were no funds I actually would prefer to pay it myself since it is my debt and my responsibility but it's heartbreaking to not be able to provide even a basic necessity for my child. I came to adulthood on the 80's when you apples for a job and usually got it and if not there were hundreds more to choose from. Today there are so few jobs especially full time that pay a live able wage I am now in the process of securing a 3rd job to just be able to survive. It's embarrassing, humbling and a huge wake up call but one that has made me stronger than I have ever had to be in my life. I don't tell anyone about my situation and don't know why I felt the need to tell it now. I get frustrated when people make rude comments about how lazy people getting assistance are

Catherine Rector 2 years ago

Unfortunately what Karen is saying is not untrue. It doesn't specifically apply to everyone who donates specialty items of course, but I've watched people dig through their cupboards and only donate things that they themselves had no desire to use.

It's important that there are donations other than mac and cheese, as long as it's something that can be used without spending extra money that they don't have on ingredients. They may know how to make it, but might not be able to afford to. When I was in college I was living off of buttered pasta with spices on it because that's all I had in my kitchen. Friends offered me fantastic recipes that I couldn't afford to make, which made me feel worse about my situation.

I think it's important to be sure that there's a good balance between specialty food and classic food, especially for families with kids.

JustAGirl 2 years ago

You know what, there are some months I am one of *those* people. Some months are tough, and rather than starve for those few days/a week between pays, I visit our local food cupboard. And guess what, not only do I like quinoa, so do my children.

Lisa Jones 2 years ago

Re: the higher-end foods –

Making it isn't the problem – what do you serve it with? Does it go with ground beef? Chicken? Do you put pasta sauce on it?

It's not so bad, quinoa can be figured out, but there are other foods that won't make a darn bit of sense to someone who's never had them before. Just something to think about.

And yes, I've been one of those people. It's already humiliating enough without people treating you like you're sub-human because you don't have the same life (luck) they have.

Jon Draper 2 years ago

I am one of those people who wouldn't know what to do with quinoa. Probably cause I don't know what it is. Lets not jump to conclusions to what this woman meant by her comments. Ignorance isn't an insult. It means not knowing!

Nancy McInerney 2 years ago

Facebook has made me aware of peoples ideas and thoughts on giving, sharing and not judging. Many people I grew up with, I assumed had hearts and minds, have confused me. I see posts about how we need to drug test people who get welfare even though the facts show that most people who need help don't use drugs and no matter how many times you try to educate, they are so afraid that they can't see. I am a social worker and a nurse and I see so many people who are good people and came upon hard times for so many reasons, none of which were their fault but the people that I thought I knew don't care. Fear makes people do scary things.

Teresa Van Earden 2 years ago

Wow! I have been there….it sucks….

Lynn Love 2 years ago

I have been one of those people when working a 9-5 wasn't enough to put food on the table. It was a battle of pay bills or food. I will try my best to save every little cents to buy food. I remember going to bed hungry and my kids had food in front of them. I am bless to say I have my family support to help me at that time. But it was my pride I didn't want them to know my hard times. Going to place that will help your family in need is not bad thing its a blessing to most of us. But you know what god don't like UGLY and ugly will come to her and she will know how it feels to feed a family. God bless you for sharing this story with us. and I will start a bag myself to give to a family in need. bless it be everyone.

Terri Peters 2 years ago

This is such a brave post…and you are amazing for sharing your story. Perfect time of year to share it, as there are food drives everywhere, and just as many judgmental, overly-entitled people running their mouths. Thank you for all of the amazing posts you share, especially ones this transparent that challenge us to shut our mouths and THINK before we speak.

Annette Mostrom Kraft 2 years ago

I have been one of "those people" more times than I care to admit or publish. I, too, have 4 children, have been divorced, have had many (MANY) medical challenges and been so broke that I didn't know where the food would come from or if there would be a single Christmas present for my children. My littles no longer believe in the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny – not because they have out grown it, but because they still have 2 teeth each under their pillows awaiting the tooth fairy visit. I was in the hospital for Easter, and daddy doesn't do the Easter Bunny thing, so they received their Easter goodies without the fan fare or the traditional Easter egg hunt. (Not because he doesn't care … but he is just really out of the loop with all this stuff being significantly older than I.) No one in the community really knows our plight, my kids are always put together but their clothes are all hand me downs from friends and family who have great taste in clothes (and can afford it!) – or we shop at Goodwill where if you are savvy you can find great things …. my kids have learned that we don't buy certain things (like boxed cereal) unless it is deeply on sale. They know that they have to wait for things that others just get. They save their money for things they want … my 11 year old just bought herself an iPod (a used iPod — I don't have an iPod!!!) This year her MS got a special grant and all MS students were given a tablet to use … so for once she feels like she fits in. We don't have cable, we don't go out to eat except on very special occasions – always with a coupon, we get no magazine subscriptions, we have no extra's — all the extra's go to my medical bills, which makes me feel incredibly sad and selfish. I could go on … but this post really struck a nerve, I am one of "those people" – I am educated, as is my husband, I used to be an HR manager, I used to be a caterer — so I certainly know what to do with artichoke hearts in olive oil. 😉 – This year we have applied for the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project and were accepted. I have tears running down my face as I type this because I want "those people" to know they are NOT ALONE. We are there … so, so many of us. Swallowing our pride, shielding our eyes, chocking back tears … we are there.

LaShaune L-Boogie Stitt 2 years ago

Love it and am inspired to share my experience.

Annette Mostrom Kraft 2 years ago

I have been one of "those people" more times than I care to admit or publish. I, too, have 4 children, have been divorced, have had many (MANY) medical challenges and been so broke that I didn't know where the food would come from or if there would be a single Christmas present for my children. My littles no longer believe in the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny – not because they have out grown it, but because they still have 2 teeth each under their pillows awaiting the tooth fairy visit. I was in the hospital for Easter, and daddy doesn't do the Easter Bunny thing, so they received their Easter goodies without the fan fare or the traditional Easter egg hunt. (Not because he doesn't care … but he is just really out of the loop with all this stuff being significantly older than I.) No one in the community really knows our plight, my kids are always put together but their clothes are all hand me downs from friends and family who have great taste in clothes (and can afford it!) – or we shop at Goodwill where if you are savvy you can find great things …. my kids have learned that we don't buy certain things (like boxed cereal) unless it is deeply on sale. They know that they have to wait for things that others just get. They save their money for things they want … my 11 year old just bought herself an iPod (a used iPod — I don't have an iPod!!!) This year her MS got a special grant and all MS students were given a tablet to use … so for once she feels like she fits in. We don't have cable, we don't go out to eat except on very special occasions – always with a coupon, we get no magazine subscriptions, we have no extra's — all the extra's go to my medical bills, which makes me feel incredibly sad and selfish. I could go on … but this post really struck a nerve, I am one of "those people" – I am educated, as is my husband, I used to be an HR manager, I used to be a caterer — so I certainly know what to do with artichoke hearts in olive oil. 😉 – This year we have applied for the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project and were accepted. I have tears running down my face as I type this because I want "those people" to know they are NOT ALONE. We are there … so, so many of us. Swallowing our pride, shielding our eyes, chocking back tears … we are there.

Ria Barnett 2 years ago

Not the quinoa as much as the artichoke hearts in seasoned oil. No one really eats those things, right? I'm speaking as stock manager for my county's largest food bank. Things like artichoke hearts in seasoned oil are usually donated back to us or thrown out. We pack them in the boxes as "extras", along with stuff like hot sauce and salad dressing, things that are fine and good as far as they go, but not much use if your kids are hungry and that's all that's in the house.

Jen 2 years ago

I’m one of those people and I feel that it is my responsibility to get the most nutritious food possible with my SNAP card. The help makes it possible for me to keep the lights on and gas in the car so I can work full time.

Paula Biemann 2 years ago

Wendy MacLeod Harvey you should go back and read the story. I think you are missing the point

Joleen Soule 2 years ago

We give when we can, we receive when we need to. That is the cycle of life and nobody, I mean NOBODY knows if they will ever be one of 'those' people. Life will knock the best of us down. For those who think they will never need a helping hand, they are a bit too confident and a little near-sighted. Life happens, never assume you know what your future will hold and never, ever look down upon the people who are down on their luck. Nobody is immune to the dynamics of life. Dear Author, if you ever find that woman without a job or she loses her 'fortune' to lets say, medical bills…..please take her a bag of organic quinoa and let her know that there are good people who know how it feels to be one of 'those' people. Then kindly ask her if she has removed her head from her ass yet.

River Song 2 years ago

Thank you for this post. I have not been one of “those” people as a mother, but once when i was single and barely scraping by, i did go to the food bank. It was a little mortifying but hey, i ate for the first time in days. Luckily my husband has a pretty good job with enough seniority to avoid layoffs (police officer) but anything can happen and we/i could find myself in a tough situation in no time at all.

I myself probably would have said something to your coworker like, “being poor and hungry doesn’t make someone dumb or take away their ability to cook.” “These” kinds of people need to be educated and/or put the smack-down on.

Now excuse me while i go fill a bag with food for the local food bank. :)

Sara Wood Rasmussen 2 years ago

Actually Karen, I go to the store and specifically pick out things that I think are good because there's a pretty good chance others will like them. I also always include a box of Oreo cookies every. single. time. because once, when my mother had to accept food boxes when I was a kid, there were Oreos and good food and I'll never forget it. We parents don't just donate mistakes and creamed corn.

Dena’ McCune 2 years ago

I am one of those people. I never thought I would be but things beyond our control have taken over. I go once a month when I can get off work. We cannot afford to miss work to go. I look forward to whatever we get. If there is something we do not use or will not eat I give it on to someone else I know that is just as needy. I have eaten foods recently I would never have touched before. I wish everyone had to swallow their pride and go to a food kitchen and tell them that you cannot provide for your family. That is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Those other people there were terrific. The other people like me were also wonderful. I had an elderly lady give me a recipe for blueberry cobbler using ingredients that were in the bags I was going to receive. I got back in my car and cried because I too use to judge those people. Whenever I give and even though we frequent them they still need my food for others. I do not just clean out my cabinet I actually give things people will use. Never judge because it could be you who becomes one of those people.

Leah Ifft 2 years ago

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for writing this post! I am one of "those people". I have a college degree, ten years experience in my field. I am in a stable marriage, but since losing my job, and our home to foreclosure, we have struggled to survive financially, emotionally, and as a family. Everyone likes to point fingers and place blame, or make assumptions, but very few understand unless they have been there themselves.

Joy 2 years ago

I grew up as one of “those people”. And things get really tight at the end of the month when the food stamps run out, and getting to go to the food bank was a total high five moment when the alternative was ketchup sandwiches. Or nothing.

Now that I’m an upper middle class, suburban housewife/mom, I make damn sure I donate to the food banks monthly. And I take my kids with me, because they need to know that those people are OUR people. They are us.

Betty Winslow 2 years ago

I’ve been on both sides of this equation (food stamps and donations of dented canned goods from a friend & serving on the local food pantry governing board) and I have to say, that woman’s attitude is not uncommon. Many families who come to a food pantry would be especially grateful for slightly offbeat food (I can’t tell you how sick we got of canned green peas), while others would not know what to do with them (I love to cook, but I’ve never bought or made quinoa).

However, for those of you reading this who now want to go out and buy food to donate, ask your local pantry first how best to help. Our pantry can buy food for cents on the dollar (a large box of Cheerios for 13 cents, for example) from the local food bank, which means that cash goes much further than actual cans of food.

People often prefer the good feeling of toting in a bag of groceries (which is wonderful) but it might be better to donate what they would have spent and allow the panrty to buy what they need and what people ask for.

Still, if you really want to donate items, not cash, perhaps non-food items would be better. Our pantry bylaws do not allow us to spend donated funds on anything but food, so donations of shampoo, TP, soap, toothbrushes, disposable razors and diapers, even pet food and kitty litter, are a real blessing to the people too broke to afford food, let alone soap and shampoo. And it’s hard to nail an interview for a much-needed job when you show up with dirty hair and an unshaved chin. Ask your pantry how best to help, and no matter what you do, be kind to “those people”, who are in actuality – us. All of us.

MiccaRus 2 years ago

I will never forget when I was *almost* in junior high and some of the cool kids showed up at my house with boxes of food that they had collected at their church with “Food for the Poor” written on them. I didn’t even know we were those people. My mom had always hidden the fact that we were wanting for so much. Now, I shop my shelves freely to donate to the mission, more embarrassed by what I can’t donate because it has expired than worried that anyone won’t no what to do with it. One thing that I learned as one of “those people” is that you don’t know how resourceful you can be until you have no other choice!

Jenny 2 years ago

Dude. I don’t know what to say. I will say that I’ve found some sweet Nikes for my boys at the thrift stores.

My heart kind of breaks for you. And if you must know, we didn’t have cable. I didn’t buy booze and the last time I bought pot I was 19 and in college. Yes we had internet because, doy, four kids and schoolwork. Having basic life stuff doesn’t mean you are rolling in dough.

But…thanks for reading, I guess.


twinklysparkles 2 years ago

Thank you. Keep tellin’ it because we all need to hear it. A lot of people are in bad shape right now.

Your words moved me to tears.

pat 2 years ago

First,thank you for your great blog !I am so happy to see this,bringing these issues out of the closets and into the faces of THOSE PEOPLE. However, as a professional,mental health counselor, I can tell you that those people, have no idea what you are talking about, and probably never will and don’t “waste” one minute of their thought on anything other than their own needs. Their serious pathology reaches so deep, they have an inability to ever be sensitive to any of this.It is their “disability,” and it is prevalent, especially in these hard times, and political chaos.We actually almost elected one of THOSE PEOPLE as President.Yikes ! The world is truly upside down.
As a single parent, with one daughter with Learning Disabilities and Asperger’s,I have been waiting (Hah!), for 46 years to receive any child support.I raised my daughter on my own, worked at awful,low-paying odd jobs,put myself through college and grad school,and put my daughter through 4 years of a special college for special needs kids,then, $28,000,per year, without books,and spending money.During her college years, both elderly parents became ill.I took them on as well, there was no one else.I had started a private practice after grad school, and did very well.I loved my work.I bought myself a new car for the very first time,and eventually bought my own home.
When my daughter was little,I was on welfare.I claspsed the food stamp money, (then like dollar bills),in my hands as I faced the check-out person, trying to hide my shame,and avoid questions…yes, from THOSE PEOPLE.I rose above with lots of blood,sweat and many tears, and became a person with rightful, deserved, self-pride,and a wonderful sense of accomplishment.My daughter was very proud of her hard-working Mom. Until she wasn’t. To make a long, sad story short, 10 years ago,I was forced to sell my home, with my office inside,had nowhere to go with 2 dogs,two cats,had no place for my patients to be, finally wound up completely broke and broken. I had to move into my daughter’s small attic apartment.This is where I was stunned to learn the extent of my daughter’s violent physical and emotional rage, due to her disabilities, and her incredible anger that I was “intruding.”But I had never experienced her this way. I was completely baffled, I was so hurt,and beaten,I couldn’t cope. Once again, and this is over 40 years later, I am living badly, have food stamps, and disability. I go the the local food bank, barely getting through each day, having been diagnosed with both Clinical Depression and PTSD.
Here’s the real kicker : my beautiful daughter married a very wealthy guy,lives in a luxury apartment in NYC, and I rarely hear from her.She (they) knows my situation, but feel no sense of compassion, and offer no help.She wouldn’t know quinoa from birdseed,she is… THOSE PEOPLE.And to her, I am now one of THOSE PEOPLE….the other “THOSE PEOPLE”…. people who are homeless or nearly homeless,hungry,hopeless, (in my daughter’s eyes),and to be avoided,actually deserted and abandoned.Although Iam 65, blind in one eye,and suffer crippling spinal stenosis,I still have hope.I am very isolated,depressed,and terribly anxious most days,I try very hard to find work, helping others, as I have always done.Some of THOSE PEOPLE used to be in my social group. I have not seen or heard from a single one since my “fall from grace,” as it were.I’m not surprised,are you ?

Cynthia Starr Corbett 2 years ago

I was one of "those" people. It was heart wrenching to have to admit to myself that I couldn't take care of my two children all by myself. I never told a soul. People look at you differently when they find out. Their eyebrows arch up and their lips purse as if they've swallowed something sour. They also treat you differently afterwards. I'm doing much better now and donate as much as I can when I can. You don't know what it's like until you've been there I guess.

Robert 2 years ago

I am of the mindset that education goes a long way in understanding our humanity. We are not aware until we are made to be aware. This situation presented an opportunity to awaken your coworker to the reality that she knows one of “those people.” She would have seen that “those people” are not an abstraction, but a reality, standing right in front of her. A dialogue may have been created, or a look of empathy may have washed over her face. Perhaps she would have kept on walking. Know, though, a light had been shown and she would now be seeing the world differently every time she walked by a bin of food to be donated to “those people.”

Joe Erickson 2 years ago

I don't feel sorry for these people. There are a few reasons why. The first and most important reason? The lack of sacrifice people are willing to make before going to such a place. Things like television, internet, extra spending cash on things like snacks, sodas, alcohol, things we don't need. You would not believe how many people I know go in for assistance when it comes to food and they do things like buy alcohol or Marijuana. They buy sodas and have satellite TV and the internet. People feel too entitled to give up what they think are basic needs in order to do what's best for their families. So, without putting too fine a point on it, if you must go to get help with food you either NEED it or you don't. Sadly, most of the time, you don't. You could make it work without the help. It's just easier for you to live the way you want with the help rather than giving up your comforts to do what's best for your family. If this isn't you then I'm not talking about you so keep your idiotic comments to yourself. I've been there and I've seen these people. Nothing like watching someone with Nike shoes fill out a request for food aid…..

Jenny 2 years ago

Tzipporah! Thank you for sharing the link. I’m bookmarking it to read later, I have to run around like a crazy woman today. One of my homegirls writes for Kveller! Nina Badzin :)

Looking forward to delving into your words later tonight. Thanks so much for reading.

Lauri Little Wendel 2 years ago

I also have been one of those people. And by the way, Quinoa is not the food of the rich and privileged as this woman may think. It is a food grown and eaten by some of the poorest people in the world; the Incas of the mountains of Peru. And they have so graciously shared it with all of us. I would rather be on of "those people" who have been down and out and learned to be grateful, kind, and generous any day.

Brad Speer 2 years ago

It seems as though Many of us are, or have been, one of "THOSE" people. It is a tragedy that folks don't realize that most of us are only one paycheck away from a major life altering situation… An unexpected medical issue, a dental emergency. The car breaks down… There are countless unforeseen things that can take you from 'comfortable' to 'desperate' in one day. As a society, we can see that while most don't want to take charity, the stigma of it has become significantly less. We must help those in need, when able… And take help, When needed! EVERYBODY needs help sometime! But it only work's if we give back!!!!

Mama Bunny 2 years ago

I was one of those people on both ends. When I first got together with hubby we were in a much higher % of earnings than most people and could afford to keep 4 credit cards and pay a $500 car loan and go shopping and out to eat whenever. If I saw something I wanted I could buy it, I was finally living a life different from what I grew up in – a single mother, 3 child home on a low income pay and WIC/Food Stamps with never a single child support check in 18 years. Then my husband lost his job due to budget cuts and everything fell apart. Luckily I was able to bounce back because I knew that lifestyle from before but hubby struggled to adjust to it. And here we are, one step away from Food Stamps and runs to the shelves, barely getting by sometimes but we live, thankfully so. Some people will never know.

I actually had a woman tell me that if I couldn’t afford to pay a maid to clean my house so that I spent more time enriching my kids and less time teaching them to keep their rooms clean that I was a bad mother. I’m telling you, some people NEED a reality check.

Earl 2 years ago

I was raised by one of “Those People”… My Mom was attacked by my Dad just before he committed suicide. She survived, thank god, to raise her house full of boys. My Mother is educated, intelligent, hard working, cultured and tough as nails. She recovered with the help of our neighbors back in 1975 before there were many services to help. She is also an incredible cook! 😉

I remember a food drive at school when I was in 6th grade. My Mom gave me a can of something to bring in so we could help out someone less fortunate. A week later my principal pulled up in front of MY house and dropped off what had been collected. That food drive was for us and I had no idea!

If you looked at my family now you would never guess we were one of “those people”… Thank God for a school full of caring people to help us when we needed it.

Emma 2 years ago

I’ve been one of those people – I’m in the UK and our foodbanks often work on a voucher system, the Job Centre, social workers, schools and doctors can give you a voucher that you exchange for 3 days worth of food for your family. It is humiliating, having everyone know your private business but at the end of the day it kept my 3 children fed whilst I tried to get back on my feet. We didn’t get any fresh food, all tinned or packet but it fed them and that was all that mattered. I think people like the twatface with the folder need to understand being broke can happen to anyone right now to – my degree and 15 years industry experience don’t equate to a job for life anymore and I am grateful for the food we got, generic or fancy.

Wendy MacLeod Harvey 2 years ago

Wow. So when Mac & Cheese is donated, that's good, but when quinoa is donated, that's a shopping mistake and the mom who donated it is really a dirt bag for not donating better stuff?

Jamie Cogan 2 years ago

All I can say is, thank you for writing that. I have been closer to being one of "those people" than not (and still am in many ways), and you wouldn't know it by looking at me. I am well aware that I am one paycheck from disaster at any given moment. I lost my house to foreclosure after my divorce and a few years of eeking by, and it is still a huge sense of failure for me, and will be for the rest of my life. I have food and a roof over my head, a wonderful boyfriend, and material things that I could afford in the past, but live paycheck to paycheck to this day. One major event from financial catastrophe. And I am lucky compared to so many others. I give when I can, because I know that it easily could have been me. In a way, it has probably made me a better and more compassionate person. Because I know.

Christine Elvey 2 years ago

Sounds like the lady she spoke of has been raised with a sliver spoon in her mouth the whole life and has never been in any hard times. God help her when she is! I never pray that anyone has t go through hard times ever, but I hope someday she has to walk a mile or more in those shoes to make her humble and appreciate help that is there for all of us that have been "Those People"…. Karma to her!

Rebecca Smith 2 years ago

Right now, I need a haircut and a dental visit, but as you described, I can't do it because of picture day for Gavin and his need for a checkup. Many of us have been here, and many more are just one bad month away from being here. Pride goeth before the fall.

Belinda 2 years ago

People can be so clueless. I am now one of “those people”. I have worked and made a decent living for the last 30 something years. I paid my bills and provided for my family as a single parent. We lived the middle class lifestyle for all these years. After a car accident, I found myself disabled, and unable to return to work. Three years after the accident I have gone thru everything I put away for a rainy day and live on a fixed income which is significantly less than I ever made while working. This month, I swallowed my pride and went to the local food pantry. I have organized food drives, donated to food drives, delivered food to shelters, and food pantries but never had to use their services myself. We are all just a drastic life event from being one of “those people”. Don’t judge. You never know what your future holds.

Christine Elvey 2 years ago

That woman who judges and calls the people in need "those people" needs a swift kick of reality and be put in the ranks of "those people" and she needs to walk a mile in their shoes before being so heartless and judgmental! But if that woman was ever in any situation like this she would probably starve first before asking or shaming herself into getting help! God help the ignorant and judgmental

Melissa Marie Breen 2 years ago

Wow, I have been one of those people more times then I care to admit. I have been blessed we haven't had to go for over a year now and things are stable, but there were times when it meant swallowing my pride so my son could eat even if I didn't. Must be nice she has never had to go hungry to make sure her children have food, go without new shoes so her children can have new clothes, not even be able to afford a haircut because your children need one for picture day at school, not being able to go to the dentist because, yes, your child needs to. This woman doesn't know what real sacrifice is. Hell, I became homeless so I could get my son the help he needed. He had to go to a group home which left us no money for my rent, because at the time I couldn't work and had to stay home with him. I knew sending him would cause me to lose my home but I did it anyway! He needed it! I wish people would learn to be more understanding but they seem to think of everything as black and white and it's "beneath" them. Hate to tell that lady…she is one illness, one paycheck, one issue away from being one of "those people."

Robin Johnston Blair 2 years ago

I was once one of "the people". Four kids, spotty child support, it sucked. It was hard. It also made me more generous later when I began donating to food drives. Being hungry is no joke and watching your kids eat your share of dinner because "No really, I'm not hungry, you finish it" is all you can do sometimes. Thank you for sharing your story.

KellyL 2 years ago

As an aside…there is a program called snap-Ed that our federal government funds that helps people with limited resources learn to eat more healthy and increase physical activity. And perhaps learn how to cook quinoa 😉
In NY it’s called Eat Smart NY, and is available in every county, every state has it’s own moniker. We do group sessions and cooking classes teaching people to use meal planning techniques to get the most out of every dollar. It’s free and available to anyone who gets WIC, SNAP, Head Start, Reduced School lunch, & Medicaid. This website can link you to your local program.

Karen 2 years ago

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about the other shoe dropping. I am a single mom and fortunate to be working and supporting my son. His father helps when he can and I don’t put any pressure on him because he really can’t afford to give more than he does and my son needs his father in his life. I have always wanted to teach people how to cook a meal with items from the food banks. And your story has once again put the wheels in motion on how I can be of assistance to those in need. Rather than be the person who makes the comment about ‘those people’, perhaps this woman could offer a recipe along with the box of quinoa. Sometimes even the smallest gesture of kindness can open a door for those less fortunate.

Laura Stevens 2 years ago

I love that Christine! I've been there too and I can't wait to be in a position to create a foundation to help single moms and children. I'm working on it.

Richard Laframboise 2 years ago

Right on!

Christine Elvey 2 years ago

Right now I am cleaning out my closets and downsizing to move and everything I have wether its food, clothing, kitchen items, etc I am going to take them to the local woman's shelter drop off first to help any women and their children displaced by tragedies of domestic violence. Whatever items I can not leave will go to the disabled vets for pick up, and the food items (I am not moving most of the food I have if I can donate it to someone in need) will go to the local food pantry. Everyone should make an effort at least 1 time a year to purge unused items (if you have not worn them or used them in 6 months give them to someone in need) and pay it forward to others who need it right now. Everytime an item is brought into your home try and discard an unused item or 2 to make room for the new items. Keep them in a box and when the box is full donate them to those in need. This will not only stop clutter but will stop the "hoarding" monster in all of us and make us able to repurpose things we don't need for someone in need.

Megan Lands 2 years ago

This post made me cry. yes, I am now one of “those people”. From working middle class to homeless in less than two years- first I lost my job (and insurance), and a few months later I was diagnosed with stage 3b breast cancer, and care for an ex-husband who is in end stage kidney failure with dementia. Our home is going to sheriff’s sale on November 4th, because the bank won’t give us a loan modification, since we both are on disability. and because of our now ruined credit, no one will rent to us (not that we have the money for the security deposit). I’ve had to swallow my pride- I was taught not to take from others but to give as much as you can- and started a “gofundme” page. (www.gofundme.com/3wcne0, in case anyone wants to check out my story). After doing so, most of my friends were extremely supportive- but you would not imagine (or maybe you would) how many nasty comments I received thru facebook- “why don’t you try just getting a job”, and “I’m so sick of people asking for handouts”, etc. I’ve ignored it, but it’s still humiliating. I hope that some day they will not have to face becoming one of “those people”! You never know how fast things can completely change in your life.

kristen 2 years ago

Wow. great story. I actually go out of my way to donate the “nicer” food items to food drives. I always try to picture myself in “those” people’s shoes. How much mac & cheese and canned stuff can a family eat really!? Not to mention it’s so unhealthy! I mean, listen…I get that you eat what you can in really tough times, but If I’m able to donate and help some people out, I’m doing it with quality food items. Never once has it crossed my mind that “those” people wouldn’t know what to do with quinoa!

Jessica Niedrich Maitland 2 years ago

furthermore- where the frick do these people get off equating the ability to purchase groceries with knowledge or taste? she is proof that tact and class cannot be purchased. you should have asked her if she had a fancy recipe for that foot in her mouth.

Debbie 2 years ago

Really, really struggle with people like this woman. Throughout my adult life I have lived through a variety of situations and find I no longer have tolerance for ignorant and rude people who have no idea what it is like to have hard times. I don’t quite know how I would have handled that woman, I would like to think I would have handled it with the grace you did, but I kind of doubt it!

Christine Elvey 2 years ago

I would never wish not being able to get food on anyone! I have been there myself with a husband that is disabled, not working, and turned down for SSI and appealing it. My income is the only one that runs our home in California….and everyone knows California is not the cheapest place to live! We scrape by each check and if one bill is higher than normal it's either gas to get to work and no food….or a visit to a food pantry to survive. I felt just like she did and it was hard at first, but when your stomach is growling and you need the fuel in it to even function pride goes out the window. When I have a little extra money I always donate back to the food pantry to help someone else in need at that time and hope others will do the same if I need it at some point again. I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall at a food pantry if the woman she described in this article had to go in to one! Because then she would truly know what it is like to be on of "those people" and she may change her tune completely when she in in their shoes! Or she may just let herself starve out of pride! It's a damn shame that we all as a nation that is not a third world country, all of us having to go through a recession as bad as the Great Depression due to our lovely government and it's "ruler", that any of us would have to hit such a low point in our lives to have to decide wether to pay bills or eat….and then feel shamed for having to ask for help when we can't! We are all in this together! Stick together and help your fellow neighbor in their time of need by giving them food items or clothing if needed. If you even have a little bit of money help them with gas to get to work, help them find sources to pay their utilities, help with their daycare by offering to watch their kids 1 or 2 times if they are in a bind, or offer to car pool with them to conserve gas or make trips to the store etc. we have to all work together!!! PAY IT FORWARD! So someone will be willing to pay it forward in your time of need! It all rolls down hill…the good and the bad! And when the bad times seem like there is no end…be the light at the end of the tunnel for someone so they pay it forward to someone else in need. And if they have to go to a food pantry or even if you do, offer to go with them to get them through the embarrassing feeling of having to ask for help…or ask someone to go with you to get you through it! I have paid it forward many times, and in my times of need have had people right there for me when I was needing the help but afraid to ask! Everyone in this country is struggling with bills, food, jobs, etc…..be the person you would want someone to be to you if you were desperate and had no where to turn! Ad if you still don't get it…..watch the movie Pay It Forward with Haley Joel Osmet and it may help give you some insight to people and how genuine human nature can cure emergencies and bring people together!

Bárbara León 2 years ago

U should have said to her face made her feel like shit!

Jessica Niedrich Maitland 2 years ago

I am one of those people. and I am also a foodie. and for the record, I purchase my marinated artichoke hearts at the fricken 99 cent store! I'm guessing that the reason those fancy items end up at the food shelf is because that mom purchased them and didn't have a clue what to do with them.

Theresa Johnson 2 years ago

Admittedly have been one of "THOSE People" myself. The worst thing to hear is when others say that the reason someone is one of "those people" is because they are lazy and choose that life. Trust me I never chose it. I will also say that as one of those people or one of the those people that have dealt with food stamps, I have been grateful for any help, if and when received.

Catherine DiFonso 2 years ago

Know just how you feel. Heard nearly that exact comment from a well-to-do relative who revels in flaunting her wealth in front of everyone. Unfortunately, she does it in front of her children, who are learning to be just as heartless as she is.

Angelina Libby 2 years ago

Hard times don't discriminate. They don't care about the color of one's skin, the number in one's bank account, the neighborhood one lives in or the content of one's character. We are all one hard time away from being "those people", whether they be sick people, poor people, homeless people and/or hungry people. We try to separate ourselves from "those people" so that we don't have to think about how close we are to being one of them. We look down on them to insulate ourselves until BAM! hard times rock our world and suddenly we are "those people". Thank you for sharing your story and I commend you for not smacking some sense into that woman. There is no difference, no "us" and "them". We are just people doing the best we can to make a good life amidst the ups and downs we are dealt.

Carrie Loughnane Smith 2 years ago

I have learned to understand that "people can only do what they know? This woman may have grown up in a very sheltered life with little or no adversity, or even known (or aware of) people who have had adversity. She most likely spoke out of true ignorance, but not malice. Your blog was so touching, and sadly there are many more of "those people" out there than you can count, and I giggled a bit thinking of many of my friends an co-workers that would have no idea how to cook or use some items in a grocery store. Thank you for brightening my morning.

Rachele 2 years ago

As a single mom who has not received a dime of support in over a year, I get it. I have been able to make it without assistance, but only because I was lucky enough to get offered a full time position just as it was all going down.

I wish others could “walk a mile…” before they decided to open their mouths.

Thanks for sharing

Sarah Meyer 2 years ago

Honestly–you should have. People need to stop judging. I am so tired of people thinking because they have 'money' they are better than someone without, even if it's just for a little while! YOU don't know someone's situation! I would have at the very least pointed out to her all the different types of scenarios that could send a family into a Food Shelf.
It's mortifying. I"ve lived on peanut butter and ramen noodles in my younger days to avoid going. It's humiliating…
So sad…I lived near Minneapolis for…many years. Seen the homeless people wandering around town. It's hard to see.
WHY DO PEOPLE JUDGE!?!?!?! This is why I prefer dogs to people. Dogs don't care if you are rich or poor, they love you all the same. Even if you WERE rich and became poor–they still love you. They don't look down on you.
People however…vile, nasty things.
You're sure better than me, I would have let her have it. Would it have done any good? I don't know. But staying quiet doesn't make me feel better

Kelly 2 years ago

I’ve been one of “those people.” My husband and I both have a college education, yet we struggled for a long time after I lost a really good job. I have four children from a previous marriage, yet I don’t receive a dime in child support after five years. I now work at a job that’s not in my field and make 1/3 of the income that I used to make. To top it off, recently hours have been cut and it might come down to being one of “those people” once again so we can make ends meet.

Jean 2 years ago

Manila folder woman was rude and condescending. Mean people suck, no doubt about it. But I’d like to speak with to the generous souls who think of others and buy groceries to donate. My employer does company wide, themed food drives (mac/cheese one month, PBJ the next, juice boxes another month, then cereal, etc.) The response is always overwhelming and very appreciated. But….when I look over the donations, there’s always several generic brand items. Now I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I often wonder if the donators feed generic stuff to their families. I’ve always been of the thought, “be gracious in your giving”…donate things YOUR family would enjoy, not the stuff your family WON’T eat…

Shauna 2 years ago

I’ve been one of “those” people and while I didn’t know what quinoa was at the time….I’m sure I could have figured out what to do with it. The directions are usually RIGHT ON THE BOX. Pretentious, indeed. She should be ashamed.

Jenny 2 years ago

Christina…what size does your son wear? I have three boys, the youngest is 13 and has grown about 3 inches SINCE AUGUST. I’d be so happy to pass along some clothes! Seriously. Let me know. happyhausfrau@comcast.net

And thank you so much for reading :)

Amy Shield 2 years ago

Having been one of "those people", this made me cry and angry at the same time. I love what you've written and I wish you could have said that exact thing to her. It might have knocked her down a peg or two. My 67 year old mother is retired and on a very small fixed income. She goes to the local food bank twice a month. She's a creative genius when it comes to figuring out what to do with some of the things she gets. But that's what "those people" do. They figure it out just to put a meal on the table. I hope that woman never finds herself in a predicament of being one of "those people". Thanks for sharing :)

Crescenda 2 years ago

Wow I am shocked she would have said something about high end foods. While I do not know exactly know how to use quinoa I’m sure I could look up recipes for it. I am currently one of “those people” I left my ex who was a sole provider for me and our three children. Now I am scrapping things together and taking “hand-outs” from neighbors and family to get by. I am currently enrolled in school and seeking a job. I have been a SAHM for over 3 years and it looks bad when I go for interviews. I am currently getting assistance but it doesn’t cover all the costs, but something is better than nothing!

April 2 years ago

I am very lucky that I have never been one of “those people” but I know at any time we could become one of “those people”. That is why as a family we give we give to every food panty that we can, we give the extra little money that we can, and my step-daughters understand about it. I also continue to pray for “those people” every single night.
I am not one to usually speak up but I think that I would have for “those people”.
Thank you for sharing your story!

Deb 2 years ago

Are there stats on the percentage of food bank clientele who are short term vs long term? I worked with very low income families and they are not in the same boat as grad students who are enduring a few lean years with a decent income within sight. I would prefer to give three cans of green beans to help three families of children growing up in poverty than one can of artichoke hearts to make one person’s day.

Shelley @ThatGirlShelley 2 years ago

I dislike those words ‘those people’. They are always used by people who want to set themselves up as superior. Life happens. You never know what you will have to do and who you will have to depend on for help. I always grateful and extremely thankful for all of my blessings.

Thanks for sharing this article. I hope that it will help people who use those terms to realize how it comes off and how it makes others feel.

Louise 2 years ago

Just stumbled on your blog – not quite sure how I got here, but your post spoke volumes. You see, I have been there, not at the food shelf as we didn’t have that here back then – but I’ve had to rely on family to pay our shopping bill and other bills. This was after I lost my job – then we just got back on our feet and my hubby lost his job at the start of the recession – he was out of work 18 months. It was pure torture and I hated having to suck it up and ask for handouts. It was, quite frankly, the pits. You were very well restrained to not have a go at that woman…I think I would have. Kudos friend x

Aramelle {One Wheeler’s World} 2 years ago

Yes, yes, yes! I, too, work for a Food Bank. Few things make us a giddy as when we get donations containing a nice assortment of healthy food.

Jillian K 2 years ago

I did most of my ranting in response to someone above.. but I wanted to share this…


Personally I’ve never had the shame that most have had. Do I like being on assistance? Nope. I am a fiercely independent person so of course I hate depending on anyone or anything other than myself to support my family. I also however know that at the end of the day my pride means nothing if my son can’t sleep because his stomach is empty.

Jillian K 2 years ago

I think that right there hits the nail on the head for me. I live in government housing, I get government health care, and we use food stamps to pay for our meals. Why? Because my other half can only work part time, and I can’t find work. Also, it’s because me, my other half, AND my mother all live in a 3 bdrm apt with my 8 year old son and all of us are currently enrolled in school. My 57 year old mother has had to go back to school to try to help out financially because school isn’t quick. People seem to forget that some of us stay on assistance for awhile, I agree, but some of us are doing it with every intention of paying it forward for the next generation. Is it my fault the economy sucks and I have to compete with 200 other’s for the same crappy minimum wage position at the local fast food joint when I’m WAY over qualified? Nope. That is the fault of all those up at the top who could have made trickle down economics work and decided instead to ensure their comfort instead of giving up just a little so that someone else can SURVIVE! That is all those of us who have to resort to help want… the chance to survive.

Shannon 2 years ago

Great post! While I agree about donating staples, I assume that most donations are going to be that or whatever was on sale. So I try to get canned goods, dried goods and whatever else I can donate that is interesting or something someone on a budget wouldn’t ever buy because they have to make choices to stretch their money.

brandi 2 years ago

I’ll say that I haven’t been to a pantry before, but I know those who have and I have helped those who have. I am, however, one of those people who have had to ask for help (welfare), and I know what that feels like. There is a certain amount of humiliation involved, because you never expected to be one of “those” people, but you do what you have to in order to keep your children warm, clothed, and fed. Recently I ran into a person just like the woman you described while at the bank. I was brimming with pride because, finally, my husband and I were no longer one of “those” people. The man reviewing my account looked behind me to a family who looked no different than him or I and made a sound of disgust. He then proceeded to tell me how he couldn’t stand how “those” people came in every month to cash their checks, and while they ate steak, he ate hamburger on HIS dime. I wanted so badly to tell him that he was talking to one of “those” people, and if they are coming to the bank, they probably work for a living too, just like my husband, whose job refused to pay a living wage, who cut his hours until we couldn’t survive without a little help. That we PAID for that steak, just like millions of others pay for their steak. It’s so easy to become one of “those” people and I hate when those who have never been in a position of need have the gall to judge that which they cannot comprehend. Thank you for sharing!

Antigone 2 years ago

Classist people are the ass-iest people.

Bren 2 years ago

This post really made me think. Never having to use a food bank but always donatws when I can, I think a special trip to the grocery store may be in order with my 6 year old so that we can shop for the food bank specifically. Everyone needs help at one time or another and it is not about “us” and “them”, it is about simply taking care of each other.

Renee Corey 2 years ago

wow. just wow. You are so right. I am one of those people and work with many like the one you encountered. I try to stay proud and knwo I'm doing the best I can with what I have. But man those people (the one with the folders who is clueless) make being me hard. Thanks for sharing!

liz 2 years ago

I guess I am one of “those people” too. I haven’t had to do the food shelf thing, but I wouldn’t know what to do with half that shit! We eat a lot of chicken here. . .

Sima 2 years ago

Thank you for this. I’ve forwarded it widely with the following note:

I’ve been on both sides of this. And since Hurricane Sandy, there are far more of “those people” than you can imagine. They are our friends, neighbors, coworkers and the parents of our children’s classmates. They are people like me.

Those people have special meals they want to prepare for their families. They have family favorites too. You could be providing the means to make a first meal at home to someone who has been living in a hotel since the storm. As you do your holiday food shopping, or prepare your home by donating food to your local food pantry, remember that “those people” are people just like you, who probably never thought they’d be in this sort of need. Treat these strangers with kindness, and be thoughtful. If you are donating something because you wouldn’t feed it to your own family–expired or dented canned goods–don’t. Donate what you would like to find on the shelf if you suddenly found yourself in need.

Kati 2 years ago

You are so right. Most people receiving these so called handouts are the “working poor” and then their are those that make “to much” for any assistance but not enough to get by. I am a SAHM and my own DH has been laid off twice because of the recession. We burned through our savings in a matter of months and we’re still told his unemployment was to much for food stamps for a family of 5 (about 1800 a month) I was shocked. Luckily he was offered a job in the nick of time but we would have been there as well if he wasn’t. It is tough especially when things are getting more expensive but wages are stagnate. People need to realize what is really happening and stories such as this can be an eye opener for some. You are awesome for sharing. No one should ever feel bad for needing help now and then.

George Holbert 2 years ago

I started to cry when I read your article, because of how close to home it hit. I have been on both sides of the fence, one of those pretentious ass hats, then one of the people that is just thankful the food pantry is there, regardless of whether I just get a loaf of bread or a box of assorted food items.

Jess 2 years ago

This is amazing. I too, am one of “those people” at the moment. My husband is in law school and contrary to what most people think…law students are NOT rich! We take out the highest amount of student loans to support us and our 1 year old but sadly, that amount technically only supports one person. I cannot work because crazy enough…there isn’t a day care here in this tiny little mountain town! So I am a stay at home mom. We survive off of government assistance, food stamps and WIC. And if it weren’t for those programs, we wouldn’t make it. Accepting those programs were the hardest thing for me to do. I never tell anyone because especially with mentality of the nation these days, I’m embarrassed to admit we receive help. I went from being a retail manager making $40K/year to food stamps. Luckily though, my husband only has a year and a 1/2 left in school and then we’ll (hopefully) be able to go back to being “normal”.

KB 2 years ago

This is a wonderful story. More and more people are in need of these services with so many people out of working or working for less yet more and more politicians, media outlets, and talking heads would have us believe that only “lazy” people that don’t want to work are the only ones that need these services. It seems that some people enjoy shaming those that just need a little help from time to time.
This story just highlights that anyone can be affected and they can come from all walks of life. Most are hard working parents doing their best for their children under difficult circumstances.

The myth of the “welfare queen” has done so much damage yet it continues to be perpetuated. Stories like this put a face to who “those people” really are and I think most of us would be surprised.

Jorje Axline 2 years ago

Teary-eyed myself. She makes such a good point. I've been one of "those people." I like quinoa. And besides the fact that my mom taught me how to make wonderful quinoa, there are directions ON THE BOX.

Cattibrie 2 years ago

I read an article the other day that pointed out that most families are 2 pay cheques away from becoming one of “those people”. I was almost there a few months ago. Scariest thing ever. Luckily we made it through but we are one disaster away from being there again. I actually hope that woman never has to go through it. No one should have to, it’s unfortunate that people and families do.
Around here the food bank goes to the grocery store and makes up bags of products that they need. That way people can buy a bag full for $5 or $10 when buying their groceries and the food bank gets what is needed and not the 1 millionth package of Mac and cheese. This post has inspired me to pick up one (or 2 since that’s what we can afford right now) of those bags.
And when things are looking dark I remember the advice a friend have me years ago… Life is peaks and valleys, ups and downs. Remember if you down that a peak may be appearing soon. And remember if you are up, life may be about to throw a valley at you soon. As precise what you have, help if you can and accept help if it’s needed. Everyone’s peaks and valleys are different, but we all have them.

Jenny 2 years ago

Hey JCat! Thank you for chiming in. Always nice to hear from another one of “us”. I was always psyched to find something fancy when I went to the food shelf. For some weird reason it made me feel a little more dignified when I’d see it in the cupboard. Not that there’s no dignity in store-brand cereal and pasta, but just having something “nice” felt good.

Thanks so much for reading, and for your kind words.


Julie Presley 2 years ago

This made me cry. I haven’t done the food shelf thing, but I’ve been on food stamps before — such a hit to our pride. We had a newborn and my husband lost his job and had to valet cars at the hospital and serve at Macaroni Grill (which ended up being a huge blessing b/c if I drove him to work, I got to eat for free.). It was one of the darkest times of our marriage and I sat at the food stamps office for 5 hours to get help. Back then I didn’t know what good food was, just that I was grateful to have what we did. Today if we found ourselves in the same place, I’d be hoarding quinoa like there’s no tomorrow. It’s the most filling food I think I’ve ever consumed and the possibilities are endless. :)

lesbomom 2 years ago

Whoa. I have been one of those ppl as well and it sucks. I have had money so tight but I wasn’t sure what or how I was going to feed my 2 year old daughter. But I am glad that they are there and glad to know the people that run them and glad to know that there’s more than been to Cans and spoiled food.

Eff that woman and her Damn snotty attitude

Jenny 2 years ago

Hi Kati

Thanks so much for reading! A friend of mine made a really eye opening comment about this on my facebook page. She wanted to find out who said this and invite her to the PTO meeting where they’d be discussing the disbursement of scholarship funds, and show this woman exactly how prevalent “other people” really are, even in our little school.

I talk about my situation very openly, both on my blog and in person. I went through a crappy divorce and then went several years without child support…all while trying to find a job that paid a living wage (after being a stay at home mom for a dozen years) and taking care of my four kids. I really am “the girl next door” and yep…it happened to me.

There are SO MANY people who need help. I hear a lot from people about how lazy welfare moochers are sucking this country dry, about how we have to stop giving handouts and teach people to be self-reliant. Those things may be true in some cases, but the reality is, people DO need a hand now and then and that will never stop happening. (as a side note, even making approx. $2000 a month w/ a family of 5, I was told I made too much money to receive any benefits from the government…something to think about)

Thanks for your kind words.


Kim Norton 2 years ago

I was one of "those people" and while our family struggled we had a friend who "didn't need to look at price tags anymore." I wasn't sure how to respond but kept it to myself. Some years later her husband lost his job and price tags became relevant again. We have since lost touch, for a variety of reasons, but I will always remember how careless comments can incite feelings of anger, hurt, sadness. Your post made me realize how grateful I am to be on of "those people."

Nicole 2 years ago

As a former food stamp recipient (8 years while my husband was in undergrad and grad school) I have had my share of jerks making comments. I have heard them comment about how this or that person had too much junk and are probably on FS, AND I have heard people gripe about how an old lady filled her cart with all organic and then payed with FS and what a waste of the publics money! It makes me sad. Yes, there are people who abuse the system, and yeah, we ate better on FS than we do now. I have family who had to shop at the food bank because of her dumb ex husband not paying child support and thats what its there for! But honestly people? Quit judging! You’re not better than me for never going on FS. You could be there too at the drop of a hat. In a few years when my husbands career is more established, we’ll be paying tons back into the system and supporting people who are in our “past shoes” and I hope they get to have some quinoa!

Christy Diehl 2 years ago

sorry, that woman iTHOSE people that sounds like she needs to be slapped!

Christina N. 2 years ago

I’ve been there recently when I had to stuff my pride aside for my 2 kids. We had nothing in our fridge, freezer or cabinets. My ex wasn’t paying his child support during the summer and the food stamp program here in NC was on the fritz and 3 months behind. I turned in all my paperwork on time but it wouldn’t have mattered as they didn’t get processed until a week ago. My father-in-law was trying to help as much as they could but he is out of work on disability and needs to feed his household too. I remember the stares as I walked into the place. I remember the embarrassment I felt, the very personal questions, the sneers from so-called friends when they found out. My kids didn’t care. We got a bunch of fresh-ish fruit and veggies that they love and some small staples. Right now, I am finding clothing drives because my son outgrew ALL of his pants from last year by 3 sizes so he has 1 pair to wear, only 3 long sleeve shirts and both kids don’t have winter jackets.This Christmas and birthday season for them (Dec 21st & 23rd) is going to be tight and hard but I know we will make it through somehow. Faith has taught me that.

Eugenia McGovern Drake 2 years ago

This is such a great article and worth the read. We never know what other people are going through and what is going on behind the smiles and closed doors. Hunger, strife, and need know no racial, socioeconomic or zip code barriers. Just because you live in a certain neighborhood or go to a certain school or have a certain circle of friends doesn't mean there aren't needs that need to be met.

Josie 2 years ago

I grew up one of those people, or worse. My parents wouldn’t get help out of some misplaced pride and it was miserable.

I run into people like that one all the time. I’m a professional and people of certain means feel very free to disparage when they think they are in like company. Nobody would guess my background and so I hear and call out a lot of awful bs. The same goes for racist comments -I’m blonde therefore I must agree, right?

I think this was eloquently written. Maybe I’ll send it to the co-worker who told me she wouldn’t participate in the chilli cook off because chilli was “poor people food.” My husband and I always felt like we were doing really well when we could afford to make a big out of chili. :)

Chris Stormborn Krasovich 2 years ago

I am so sorry that you were confronted by this unfortunate woman's ignorance. And in the name of THOSE people, who are ANY people and always OUR people, and your experience, I am going to fill a couple donation bags with nothing but fancy pants food today. Bring on the quinoa and sun dried tomatoes, and truffle oil!

Karen LM 2 years ago

I was one of those people, and i did get items i knew not what to do with. Admittedly, those items came from the high and the low end of the grocery spectrum.

In my opinion, the fancy items dont represent the moms at the school are going out of their way to provide interesting and 'nice' options. It means they looked in the cabinet and pulled out the shopping errors, the things they realized they would never actually eat.

Marcia 2 years ago

Thank you for your story. We were “those” people for about 6 months after my dad lost his job and my Husband, his brother, and mom were those people for many years because his deadbeat dad would rather them starve than give his mother anything. We are blessed in that we do not have that problem but know that at any moment it’s possible. Always be thankful and respect those who use these services. You don’t know their story and even if you do they still deserve to be respected just like every other human being on this earth.

Joy 2 years ago

I have been one of “those” people many times. Due to unfortunate circumstances. The most recent was a week ago. Checks that are short leave us in a bind to feed our kids. I would rather starve than have my kids starve. It is embarrassing to have to go through the whole paperwork, but so worth it for the food to feed my family. I think there is quite the stigma set for those of us who need to use the food banks. Poverty here is a problem, and I think often overlooked. I make a point when I have a little extra to donate. I also help our in laws out who are on a limited income and also need to use the food bank. They also help us too. They can’t eat certain things and they will pass it our direction. I hope this article opens the minds of people who have no idea what it is like to get food on the table. It doesn’t matter the type of food we get, I can always seem to create a great meal out of it. Good thing that most food items have directions on how to cook them or use them too. Thanks for the great article! P.S. I love Quinoa

Kama Von Llama 2 years ago

That's the best thing I've read in a while <3

Lindsay 2 years ago

A friend of mine who uses the food pantry and has commented that if her kids make it to their teenage years without high cholesterol or other ailments due to all the mac n cheese they’ve been eating from the pantry, they’ll be lucky. Agree that variety and perhaps higher quality food in OUR pantries should be donated versus the cheap boxes of Mac n Cheese and Beans n Franks. It just seems that much nicer when you are fortunate enough to be able to donate.

Renee 2 years ago

I too have been one of those people, and it was very hard for me to ask for help. People never cease to amaze me with their coldness and judgmental comments, but I am also amazed by the generosity of the people who are there to help. THOSE are the important people, and thank goodness the callous ones aren’t in charge of the food banks!!!

Lucyem@mac.com 2 years ago

I would speak up. I do speak up. I totally agree their is a general disconnect and people make a lot of assumptions about who is homeless or on welfare or needing a food pantry. My father refused to pay support for many years, often holding it over my mothers head. We spent many years on welfare while my mother managed to put herself through school, get a degree, hold a job and all the while caring for two small children. I have always stood up and spoken whenever anyone says bad things about those using any assistance. You do not need to admit your experience but you can say ” i have a good friend….”

Karen Smith 2 years ago

Blank stares work wonders. No such thing as “those people.” I hope you find it in your heart to forgive her ignorance.

kris allbright 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story. I am about to be one of, those people. My hubby lost his job and I have 4 kids to feed. A few years ago we went through this and people helped us. We went from be able to help others buy giving quinoa and other foods to needing help. I even donated a few cans last week as to prevent my children from hearing me say we couldn’t afford to give up our food. I hope that I can always appreciate what it’s like to be grateful for help and thrilled to be able to help others when I can.

Candy 2 years ago

Divorce ruins families. I’ve been there – and still walk this line of poverty every month. And I’m a college professor. Well educated. Have an ex who earns lots of money that the three kids he claims to take such good care of never see a red cent of. Single parenting is HARD. Especially when you don’t have resources. I feel I am lucky because I have a good education. But – people should be careful. 3 years ago, I never imagined I would be living this economically precarious life that I live now. Rebuilding from nothing – or rebuilding from a debt abyss created by a failed marriage is incredibly hard. So – people need to be careful. They don’t know when they are going to be in the same situation as the people they are judging. You never know someone’s story…and you never know what your future will hold.

So – in solidarity we stand as ‘Those People’

Kim 2 years ago

I work for a local food bank; we distribute food to the pantries where people in need can go to get much needed food. We love to see odd stuff come in the donation barrels or through the front door with the volunteers. It provides the variety that clients can’t get when the food bank is purchasing food by the ton.

One thing I hear a lot (not at work, out in the general public) is people criticizing food pantry clients for being overweight. If a person only has access to nutritionally poor food, their body will suffer. Many people find they have made mac and cheese more often than they’d care to admit, but it’s certainly not the healthiest food. It is food, though, and if you’re hungry enough, you’ll eat it 3x a day, because it’s what you’ve got. If you’re lucky, you can chop up a hot dog or toss some canned peas in. If you’re not, well, it’s just plain ole mac and cheese.

I think this is an excellent piece, and I’d like to make a challenge to everyone who reads it: Go donate some quinoa to your local food bank/pantry. It’s a great source of protein, it’s versatile, and it tastes great. Your food bank, and its clients, will thank you.

Amanda 2 years ago

this post really hit home today. I always wondered what “those” people were like…two weeks ago I visited my first food bank. The lady also gave me information on gifts and meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I cried, I now know who “those” people are – I am now one of them. My husbands job has been slow lately and working for a small business, it’s either feast or famine since 2008. We are so grateful for a helping hand. When we can, we will be giving back. Thank you.

thedoseofreality 2 years ago

That honestly just makes me sick. God, I hate people. Especially people who are rude and clueless and gross. This is such an amazing post in every way.-Ashley

Desiree 2 years ago

I’m speechless. I know there are a lot of pretentious assholes out there (hell I live in NY….hang in Brooklyn) but to read this churned my stomach. Smh….People don’t realize who they are talking to or about. My fiancee and I just had a baby, and he works for MTA as a bus driver (makes good money) I’m in school (earning another degree) and a stay at home mother (at his request) & I get food stamps. Sure do. So those people she speaks of who may need help aren’t a bunch of dumb asses who don’t or never have enjoyed good food. I’ve worked with the homeless and met Professors, accountants, and stockbrokers…..shit happens. Smh. Sorry I went off on a tangent but that pissed me off. Great post.

Suzi M Johnson 2 years ago

Well frick :/ you made me cry lol. been there, as a child and have been very, very close as a mom. life changes. my dad, my grandparents, they all were doing GREAT until about 2008. Now they can't afford to drive 2.5 hrs to come see me or my babies. my stepdad used to make 50k a year, pretty comfortable for small-town WI, but the line was easily crossed – one extra bill and my mom was at the food shelf. I was never embarrassed then but now, even knowing that a few months the food shelf would've been helpful, I can't bring myself to go. I also feel like there are people who need it more than us. but anyway. thank you for sharing, hopefully it will reach some of 'those people' with no compassion and no filter on their mouth.

JCat McGack 2 years ago

I was one of those people. My husband was working 3 jobs and I was a stay at home mom. It was just a few times that we were BROKE broke and bills out weighed groceries.
But I’ve been “those people” I was grateful for free food at a time of need. Shame on her for not being empathetic, and realizing that just because we need help doesn’t mean we are any less of a civilized human that can cook the fancy food we are given!
Great post.
Thank you,
One of “Those people”

Meg 2 years ago

Those ARE basics for this house…

We, like an increasing percentage of the population, have food allergies. Celiac disease and life threatening allergies to dairy means that blue box of yummy mac & cheese is as poisonous as cyanide. Quinoa becomes a pilaf, or a stuffing, or ground into flour to make cookies. Rice pasta is the difference between spaghetti and red sauce or tomato soup.

We are blessed that we haven’t become one of “those people,” but we all know that ANYTHING can happen.

Kati 2 years ago

Thank you for speaking up on SM. I think we often view poverty as an affliction of the uneducated relegated to the slums of the city or rural areas no one ever dare visit. We see them as “those people” because then we can complain about how the take from the system with no regard or interest in “bettering” their lives. We need more people to share their stories we need to unmask poverty and hunger so people can see how real the issue is for all not just “those people”. Poverty and hunger should be a top priority not just at food drive time. We have built a system where people must rely on expensive grocery stores instead of being primarily self reliant and then we blame them, shame them, or hide them when they can’t afford those grocery stores. It is a sad but articles like this can help people see how serious and far reaching the problem really is. Thank you.

Jenny 2 years ago

Hi Brian. Thanks so much for reading, and for sharing your perspective on this subject. The kicker in this situation is, I always liked this woman. Well educated, seemingly so kind, so good with the kids at school. It blew me away to hear these things coming from her.

I bet whoever gets that quinoa is going to do something fabulous with it :)


Jenny 2 years ago

Hey Lisa! Your friend’s situation sounds almost exactly like the one I was in for a few years. Like, up until just about 8 months ago :) Have her read my blog…or get in touch with me through facebook. I’ve been through this, and I might be able to give her some advice. Or else, just a chubby shoulder to cry on.

You nailed it with this: “It could happen to any one of us.” I never in a million YEARS would have pictured myself needing to go to a food shelf. Never. And yet, there I was.

Thanks so much for reading, and for taking the time to comment.


Jenny 2 years ago

Hey Lilly, thank you for reading and sharing your story. So true. It happens right under our noses and we aren’t aware of it.

I agree with you that staples are a good thing. Actually, when you have nothing to feed your kids, ANYTHING is good. I will say, however, that finding something “different” was always a sick little thrill for me. And it gave my kids something new to try. Which was a good thing, too.

Again, thanks so much for reading, and commenting.


Lilly 2 years ago

I was raised by a single mother who had to beg the neighbors for food for us and go hungry herself. It can be anyone, it can happen any time.

On a side note, I do think that donations should mostly include staples, basics that people can use as they like. It’s just more practical, I think.

Lisa 2 years ago

A friend of mine is in the same situation. Her ex refuses to pay child support and she has no money to pay for gas or food. She has not had to go to a food bank yet, because a bunch of us were able to give her food. Her ex makes over 100K and they have to use space heaters in a room because he broke their heater and she doesn’t have the $ to fix it. One month she was doing ok and the next she doesn’t have a cent. It could happen to any one of us. I am sorry that you had to go through this ordeal. No mom should ever have to worry about how to feed her kids. Thank you for sharing your story.

Brian Sorrell 2 years ago

This is so perfect. I’m one of those people too, and whenever I run up against discrimination of this sort, I bristle, react, rise up. In a way I appreciate people like this, because they’re the sort who pushed me to the limits of education; I just kept rising and rising because they suggested I couldn’t.

Lately it occurred to me: One who’s given chances will give the same. Sounds to me like this person hasn’t enjoyed the gift of opportunity, and isn’t ready to offer a similar turn. So much the worse; she’ll never escape her own vanity. On the other hand, now there’s quinoa on the food shelf.


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