A Suggestion in Light of the EBT Failure

I just sent the following email to the two main facilitators of Transition Goshen, but I thought I’d share the suggestions here, as well. You don’t need to live in a Transition Town in order to view the writing on the wall and respond to that with preemptive action.

Here’s what I wrote, in light of this past weekend’s food stamp “glitch,” minus the personal details to each of them:

As you both know, I have long been predicting that the food stamp program would lose its funding and that this could become one of those traumas for which Goshen prepares ahead of time. I’m not sure if you’ve both heard, but the EBT (food stamp) program got shut down in 17 states this past weekend. I immediately felt this was a test to see how people would react, and predictably, in some stores, immediate looting, ransacking and threats of riots occurred. In others, where the stores took pity on people unable to bring food home to their families, the stores allowed temporary $50 checkout limits that would be retroactively deducted from cards. This resulted in various people checking out multiple times, in one case racking up nearly $700 in false charges.

The system only went down for a few hours in 17 states, and people freaked out. Despite three vastly different reasons given for the EBT outage, along with assurances that this was “just a glitch,” the USDA just this week instructed states that EBT would no longer be funded after November 1 — in any state — unless they reach some compromise in Washington. Who knows how this political charade will play out, but that’s not my point in writing to you.

Looking at this from a systems point of view and a “the problem is the solution” mindset, I’m wondering if you might want to post something on Facebook and/or send out an email suggesting that people could preempt a local crisis if those who are able would make some sizable food donations to various local organizations like The Window, Salvation Army, etc. I don’t know what all of these would be, but it seems to me that there may be increased need for things like baby formula, food for children, non-perishables like canned foods, pasta and dried veggies, etc.

People do horrid things to one another when they cannot feed their children. We live in a good community with a lot of caring people in it. Why not address this situation ahead of time by providing as strong a community safety net as we possibly can? Why not keep our community’s support for one another as a strong point, rather than allowing a me-first survival attitude to kick in because people feel forced to steal for food?

Please feel free to post my words or revise them to your own specifications. I just feel this is a very important message to get out to the Transition Community. Perhaps the wackos in Washington will find ways to compromise, but any number of other situations loom in which having extra food available for those who need it would be an excellent idea. Failing to prepare for this scenario invites unnecessary trauma from which it may be difficult for people to recover. In this time of increased political rhetoric polarizing and agitating citizens, let’s face our looming challenges and do what we can ahead of time. Community safety nets can be stronger, more voluntary (and much more important) than government ones.

Many Thanks!

Laura Bruno

2 responses to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on Spirit In Action and commented:
    Thank you Laura. I have been worried because I rely on foodstamps and it quite disturbing to think of being without food, tho luckily I have no children to feed.
    Our food banks have been overwhelmed for the last few years even with foodstamps operational because so many earn too much for foodstamos but not enough for food.:-(
    I think long term we need to plant a lot more public fruit trees and perennial vegetables like moringa but short term helping one another directly may avert much chaos.

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  2. Sorry, your comment got buried in Spam. Yes, long term: plant, plant, plant. Short term, find some way to go gleaning and get extra produce and some way to stock up on your own food. Don’t rely on an overloaded system to save you. Pray and ask for guidance on how to prepare yourself now. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst …

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