Liberal Arts in Produce: Food Stamps at Beloit

By Sasha Debevec-McKenney

If I’m to believe the recent gossip in Java Joint and the Mail Center, then the hot new trend at Beloit College this fall is Food Stamps. If you’re reading this and you are on/
are considering going on Food Stamps because you literally cannot afford food any other way, then you absolutely have that right and you deserve no judgment. I am all about
the New Deal and the way in which it unconstitutionally revolutionized our government.

However, I’m worried about how much Food Stamps have come up in conversation in the past week alone. I’m worried that signing up for Food Stamps will become the norm on campus—if you are a college student and on work-study, you are technically eligible. While I do not want to question anyone’s eligibility, I do question peoples’ decisions to take advantage of said eligibility.

I just want to remind you of your surroundings—walk a little further past Bushel and Peck’s and you’ll notice we are living in a place where, according to the Department of
Workforce Development, the unemployment rate is nearly double the Wisconsin average. On top of that, think about the government money you are spending—where else
could it be going?

Our country and many of our states are currently battling over government spending—with results that aren’t necessarily benefiting workers. Last semester our
campus was traveling in busloads up to Madison to support the union workers whose rights were slashed supposedly because of Wisconsin’s debt. I urge you simply to think
about the possibility that there might be someone or some government program that is suffering as a result of cuts.

I know from personal experience that people go through tough times and sometimes help is needed. Both of my parents, at different times in their lives, have been on Food
Stamps. I believe that they can be a godsend; for example, when, in 1978, my father was 24-years old, married with one kid and with another on the way and making $7,000
a year.

If you understand that you might be abusing the system and think it’s funny and anti-establishment to do so, then at least know that you are hurting more than a faceless
eligibility worker or a stubborn governor.

Our country is gearing up for another presidential election. I’ve been watching the GOP debates and I’m already sick of hearing them complain about how government spending is out of control. I’m sick of poor, black families being blamed for abusing the system when in reality I can walk into my campus coffee shop and hear
people bragging about it.



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