I wrote a story for the paper this week for the first time in a long time. It's an essay about my family's participation in the federally funded WIC nutrition program.
I have conflicting feelings about accepting help from WIC. For one thing, my family isn't exactly "low income" — we just barely got into the program through my son's Dr. Dynasaur benefits.
And there's more. You can read the story to find out about the rest.
I'm posting the essay because I wanted to see if it would generate any discussion here — and because there was a conversation I had recently that I couldn't get in there. I was explaining the piece to a young dad at a kid's birthday party I was at a couple weeks ago. I told him I had mixed feelings about getting WIC food. He basically told me I was crazy, and said I should take whatever benefits we could get.
He argued that the wealthy get help from the government through tax loopholes and policies that favor the rich. And the poor get help, too. It's the people in the middle who get shafted. Why would I want to be one of them?, he asked. "If you're not getting subsidized, you're getting screwed," he said.
I just couldn't agree with him. All I want is to be able to stand on my own two feet and take care of my family. That seems like such a naive little notion, I know — our lives are subsidized in so many invisible ways — and I'm almost embarrassed to put it out there. But is that desire so wrong, really? Food for thought.
Thanks to Sue Norton for the illustration. Click here for the essay.