Home News Feed Does Your State Allow Fast Food Purchases On Food Stamps?

Does Your State Allow Fast Food Purchases On Food Stamps?

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Now, I’ve discussed food stamps on this site – and probably will continue to do so – because it is an interesting intersection of necessity and societal judgment. Considering the number of people who legitimately complain that their perception of the cost of “healthy food” is out of their financial reach, the fear of societal judgment prevents them from ever considering food stamps… and “enough food” – as defined by Satter’s hierarchy of food needs – becomes acceptable.

That being said… check out what’s happening in Kentucky:

The Louisville-based fast food giant Yum! Brands Inc. is lobbying the Beshear administration to make Kentucky one of only a handful of states that allow food stamps to be used at restaurants by certain groups of recipients.Under the federal food-stamp program, states may authorize that use by the elderly, disabled or homeless, who often have difficulty preparing meals. Only Michigan, Arizona and parts of California have done so.

Last month, Yum!, which owns the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell chains, registered for the first time to lobby the executive branch in Frankfort.

One of its top executives has helped raise money for Gov. Steve Beshear’s re-election campaign. And the company has presented the idea to officials of groups ranging from the Kentucky Restaurant Association and the Louisville Urban League, who have written letters of support to Beshear.

“We think it’s a win-win,” said Paul Carothers, the company’s vice president for government affairs. “It’s obviously of interest from a business standpoint, and it provides access to the elderly homeless and disabled who are often underserved.”

He said he didn’t know how much Yum! would likely make if Kentucky adopts the policy.

“We haven’t tried to compute that,” he said.

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which administers the food-stamp program in Kentucky, declined to discuss any possible policy changes.

The cabinet released a one-sentence statement: “There have been some inquiries made regarding Kentucky; however, no decisions have been made at this point.”

The Courier-Journal filed a request under the Kentucky Open Records Act seeking copies of correspondence from groups urging the policy change, along with other cabinet records related to the issue.

The cabinet denied the request on grounds that any such records would be “preliminary” and thus exempt from release.

The possible policy change raised questions and concerns among state officials and health advocates.

Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, said he recognized the advantage of prepared meals for beneficiaries who are elderly, disabled or homeless.

“My concern is that so much of that food is the most unhealthy food in America … and it leads to obesity and all kinds of other health problems,” he said.Susan Zepeda, president of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, noted that any such policy change would come at a time when funding for programs like Meals on Wheels is being reduced.

But she said she is concerned about the nutritional value of many restaurant meals.

“Participating sites should be required to post at least the caloric value of foods available, with additional nutrient information — similar to what you would find on packed foods in grocery stores — readily available,” Zepeda said.

Rep. Jim DeCesare, R-Bowling Green, had a different concern.

“I’m afraid in the long run the people we’re trying to serve are going to be short-changed on the amount of food they can get because it’s more expensive to buy prepared food,” he said.


The federal food-stamp program was established on a permanent basis in 1964, providing benefits to households with net incomes under the federal poverty level, which is now $22,056 for a family of four.The Cabinet for Health and Family Services said about 814,000 Kentuckians participate in the program. It was unable to say what percentage of beneficiaries are elderly, disabled or homeless.



So, I’m wondering – does your state allow fast food purchases on food stamps? What do you think?

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DaniBel April 8, 2011 - 10:00 AM

Neither of my states (Louisiana, Tennessee) allows it. I find the whole proposal worrisome and conflicting. I understand that the target beneficiaries are the elderly and disabled, truly underserved sections of the population, and anything that benefits them is something I feel the need to support. However, fast food is not a benefit to them. Many of them are already afflicted with numerous medical conditions. A daily KFC Double Down is just going to magnify those problems. What’s even more disturbing is that it’s most likely easier to get to a KFC or any other fast food joint than it is to an actual grocery store. I also agree with Rep. Jim DeCesare. The food stamps will run out twice as fast on fast food than it will on staples in the market. For some reason I have the phrase “let them eat cake” running through my head.

Chad Goller-Sojourner May 29, 2011 - 11:33 PM

“I thinking “I can’t believe that my tax money it going to pay for crappy food.” And I can’t believe my tax dollars are going to pay for bombs and missles. I can’t believe my tax dollars are going to educate your kids, I mean I don’t have children why should I pay for education? Anyone and everyone can make is arguement. Of course unless you’re childless and middle to upper class, chances are your tax dollars and some of mine are going to support the person making the arguement. So, why do I feel so strongly about the above statement. Because I appreciate the fact that the poster really hit it on the head. This isn’t really about poor people making poor choices it’s about them making them with “my money” Like it or not with all these value meals today you can eat at fast food cheaper than ever and often cheaper than home. Add to that they are already cutting benefits who am I or anyone to tell someone no you can’t get the double-cheese burger at McDonald’s for 99 cents, but hey you can buy a premade sandwhich at Safeway for 4.99? Or you can’t buy a dollar slice but you can go to Papa Murphy’s and by a 10 dollar pie, oh wait that’s right you don’t have an oven.

Justin August 4, 2015 - 11:39 AM

I have kids and I FULLY agree with you. This is just another example of how our “elected” officials are the problem with this society. Spend my hard earned money on people that don’t want to earn their own. Let’s make it even more comfortable for the lazy and way worse on the working American. This WILL NOT only be for seniors. This will be for ANYONE that doesn’t want to work for themselves. Our beloved country is on the fast track to failure with this type of frivolous spending. Disgusting!!!!!! SCREW YOU KFC!!!!

Erika Nicole Kendall August 4, 2015 - 2:03 PM

“Spend my hard earned money on people that don’t want to earn their own.”

You sure about that? Last data I saw specifically stated the following: “Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of enrollees in America’s major public support programs are members of working families;4 the taxpayers bear a significant portion of the hidden costs of low-wage work in America.” [source]

Seems to me like your problem isn’t with the people vying to feed themselves with the tax funds THEY, TOO, gave the government – your problem is with the corporations who refuse to pay their employees a livable wage and who, ultimately, require government assistance with profiting while employing people. The government isn’t subsidizing the public – they’re subsidizing these trash businesses.

Cece August 10, 2015 - 9:24 AM

I have a bachelors degree, and I work full time, my pay isn’t enought to cover rent, light bill, gas bill, gas for car, phone, kids school clothes, laundry, so yea I get snap to provide my kids with food. Although I know a few people who live on the system, I would not put everyone in this category. So yes I do agree with you. Some of us are just underpaid and have to do what we need to, to provide for my kids.

Erika Nicole Kendall August 10, 2015 - 11:46 AM

“Although I know a few people who live on the system,”

You know what? I have to say, the idea of “living off the system” is grossly overblown. No one – and, I mean, no one – is ballin’ off of the pittance the government is giving people. I promise.

In order to qualify for SNAP, your income has to be so obscenely, insanely low, that you are not, in fact, stunting. You’re not. It’s still poverty, it’s still difficult, and you’re likely still IN poverty because of the federal government’s malfeasance when it comes to protecting the public from poverty wages, predatory lending, and myriad other forms of how funds are extracted from the poor.

When I take a long, hard, look at where the overwhelming majority of the US budget goes, it’s not “Welfare,” it’s not “SNAP,” and it’s not any other program meant to boost the buying power of the poor. It’s medicare, social security, and the military… and that’s almost – if not more than – 70%. The rest is LITERALLY everything else.

So, to me, even mentioning someone “living on the system” is nonsense – we’re mad that people have found a way to live in a country that makes it harder for people to actually live. We should be looking – and punching – up and asking why our government won’t require employers to do their due diligence and pay people what they’re worth.

There’s no reason why a person with a bachelors who works full time should need SNAP. But, if it’s hard for YOU, it makes absolute sense to me that it’d be harder for someone else, to the point where “living off the system” makes sense. All I have is empathy for everyone involved.

Amanda Sawning September 8, 2015 - 8:29 AM

I am a someone who get food stamps ….I have work my behind off since I was 15 years old I have one child and I have a part time job now .I want to earn my own and more …I love how people act like everyone wants to just sit on their but and not get anything. I put into the system I am 36 now….and work hard and I am not a job jumper…for u to lump people all together is typical of the average uninformed American.Please get informed to prevent such ignorance.

Angie September 9, 2015 - 11:12 PM

You are a very ignorant person I have 3 children and I work I don’t get enough hours to pay my rent and AOL my other bills and keep did in the house for all 3. If when I’m out my kids want a happy meal who are you to say no she shouldn’t get that cause its my hard earned money cause I also put into it as well. There are people out here holding up a sign they are hungry and homeless how do you think they can go to the store and get food that they can keep when they can go to a fast food place and get them something. I look at it like this if you use all your money on fast-food and your run out then you should have budget a little better. I really think you should be ashamed of yourself for acting like that over money your get back at the end of the year anyway

Steph April 14, 2012 - 9:25 PM

Actually in louisiana churches does accept food stamps and so.does the seafood places

Sunkissed58 December 29, 2012 - 6:15 PM

I totally agree with you, I too am on Food Stamps in Texas. I have had to learn to buy wisely. I have been getting FS for years now, I am also on SSI Disability. I can tell you that for sure anyone that can eat fast food and pay for it with FS will be out of FS within two weeks if not sooner. My concern also is about the people receiving FS that don’t need them. Here in Tx, I have seen numerous people driving BMW’s , Cadillac’s , etc. New one’s. I have heard how they kep having babies just so they can collect Welfare and FS. How do they ( Fast Food Rest. ) expect to know who these disabled , homeless, people are. I am disabled but you wouldn’t know it to look at me. How do you expect them to know. I think it is a bad, bad, bad idea.

Mike Wells December 30, 2012 - 11:24 AM

This is what I was trying to say. All stores have a code they use to monitor your food purchases. It is tracked between the stores and the SNAP program. All they would have to do is limit the amount of your food stamps that you could spend per month (say 25%). The restaurants would have a separate code from the stores and once you reach your limit, you would no longer be able to purchase fast food. There are times when people are out doing things such as shopping or looking for work and when hunger hits, they could go to a restaurant and buy something to eat. That’s my opinion.

bobby August 14, 2013 - 11:44 AM

Am homeless living in shelter. No pans, no fridge, no cooler to store food. What good are my food stamps if I have to trek to the market for every single meal and can’t cook anything? What would you suggest I do?? Eat cake indeed. It’s nice to speak in platitudes when you have a door, a lock, a key, a stove and a fridge. The idea of food stamps is to help people down on their luck not starve to death, not engage in some healthy eating regimen.

Homeless in D.C. September 11, 2013 - 1:28 PM

I am homeless and went to Soc. Svcs for medical help and they told me to apply for EBT/Food stamps. I am SOOOOOO tired of everyone thinking they know everything about everything. I have no refrigerator, no stove access (not even microwave!), etc. so I’m blocked from getting “prepared” foods in grocery stores and can’t use it at ANY restaurant, even fast food. Who are all these people suddenly so concerned about total strangers eating healthy? Give me a break. And every time I hear that tired line “my tax dollars pay for this/that…” If you’re ever “fortunate” enough to end up in such a predicament as this or close enough, you certainly won’t be so darn judgmental. You have no idea how hard it can be to go to the store every single day and try to make something out of so little. NO IDEA.
Food is food; let it be accessible. If someone wants to eat fast food 7 days/week, so be it. They’re adults. They can do to their body as they please in any other way, why not with food paid for by “tax dollars”?
Again, talk to me when you’re in/coming out of this situation.

Becca May 13, 2014 - 5:35 PM

You are homeless and can’t feed yourself yet you are able to get online? How does that work?

Mike May 20, 2014 - 5:21 PM

I do believe it’s called a library.

Erika Nicole Kendall May 20, 2014 - 7:48 PM

Sometimes, the homeless use the computers in libraries in order to access the Internet to – get this – apply for jobs! Or, to check out healthy living websites that promote health and wellness on a budget so that they can at least not drastically damage their health while being without reliable shelter.

Also, it’s worth noting that many people who have income – just not enough to secure their own permanent housing – may keep smart phones so that when their future boss asks for a number to call, they can GIVE them one and actually answer it when the time comes.

Becca May 28, 2014 - 5:41 PM

Well, I’m glad that the library is open to you then as I can see you are searching for jobs while on here. I guess I didn’t think about that option. Forgive my oversight.

As for having a smart phone to receive a phone call. I don’t have a smart phone, but my cell phone still receives calls and I didn’t pay hundreds of dollars for it. I guess that is what throws me off. If you can’t afford to find a place to live, how do you get a phone service that allows you to sign a contract? Or have the money to pay for the actual price of the phone if it isn’t under a contract. I have done the homework and smart phones are not cheap.

I’m genuinely curious.

Erika Nicole Kendall May 28, 2014 - 10:20 PM

I’m not sure what your first paragraph is hinting at, since I’m quite gainfully employed. It’s not “me” who is searching for anything.

Smart phones are offered up for free now. It might not be the latest model, but a good smart phone gets offered up for free now with renewal of a contract. (Sometimes, homeless people aren’t perpetually homeless – sometimes they had a good run, lost it all, and have a hard time getting back on their feet. It happens.)

Krystal October 13, 2015 - 2:20 PM

People can be so ignorant. How can you judge something you know nothing about? People who have literally no one. No ones house they can go to. Yes they can get a freaking library card. It is their right as American citizens. When was the last time someone’s rights were infringed because they didn’t have an address? Oh yeah, to get a job. But even that is sad! Have you ever had no one and been sick and need medication and have no one to help you. Even when you don’t know you need it. Some people act as if these homeless people aren’t American citizens and aren’t even human. Do they deserve no food? No! Everyone deserves to eat. And no one should be told what they are allowed to spend it on. That’s just like having a parent. It’s bad enough it’s food stamps any way. Not like you can get bandaids, hair care, soap, or anything like that with it. Their already limited to what they can buy, now you make it worse? We need more food banks in each city and under gods right no man should have to pay for, but work for. And those who cannot work will do their part as much as they can. People wonder why people commit suicide. Look at the world around you. Open your eyes. And people think they can tell people how to live or how to spend? Irrational.

Stephen May 19, 2016 - 12:53 PM

What side are u on? U talk crap oit tax dollar spent wromg than u defeng homeless than u go back about wrond spending.. you’re just wanting to stir the pot

Erika Nicole Kendall May 19, 2016 - 3:55 PM

I defend the homeless because, clearly, people would rather crap on them than actually listen to them and empathize with them.

I “talk crap oit tax dollar spent wromg,” whatever the hell that means, because I DO believe our tax dollars are spent wrong. If the goal is to lift every American and ensure that it truly is the land of opportunity we brag about, we’re doing it wrong.

You want me to “pick a side.” I’m saying that both “sides” have it all wrong, and I’m quite fine standing alone in that. For crying out loud, you’re mad that I’m defending people who are homeless. I for damn sure wouldn’t stand wherever the hell you are.

If standing alone on an issue is “stirring the pot,” then so be it.

Gratiana Scott June 16, 2014 - 10:56 PM

Do any of you judgemental people realize that many FS recipients do or for many,many years have paid taxes also? That’s merely an excuse to judge strangers,many of which have endured things you wouldn’t be strong enough to handle!! Get a life and let’em eat what makes them happy!! Meanwhile,enjoy your many blessing from God that they DON’T have to enjoy!! Peace

Justin August 4, 2015 - 11:59 AM

True. But how many times have we been at the grocery store and seen people with FS run all their food through the register, and then proceed to pull a huge roll of cash from their pocket to pay for the smokes and alcohol. This system is abused so extensively that you’d hafta be blind to not notice it. Disability has become a place to hide. The abusers are the ones that need reality check. Ruining a program for those who do actually need it. I was on FS for a while and guess what. I worked my tail end off to ensure that the assistance was just that. Assistance. Not a free ride. Generation after generation of abusers are quickly becoming the majority of FS recipients. Letting them spend OUR HARD EARNED MONEY at fast food joints is just disgusting.

Erika Nicole Kendall August 4, 2015 - 2:11 PM

“and then proceed to pull a huge roll of cash from their pocket to pay for the smokes and alcohol.”

People who don’t have access to banks – namely, people in poorer communities – have to cash their paychecks at check cashing places. Which means, ultimately, that they will be rolling around with “a huge roll of cash” on pay day.

“I worked my tail end off to ensure that the assistance was just that. Assistance.”

So do most people.

Of the one-in-five Americans who participated in a program like Medicaid or food stamps from 2009 through 2012, the Census Bureau reported this week, 56 percent stopped participating within 36 months, while 43 percent lingered between three and four years. Nearly one-third quit receiving benefits within one year. [source]

And, even if they don’t? Guess what – there’s a limit to how long you can claim eligibility. So…there’s that.

And, as previously noted, that’s mostly THEIR hard-earned money, too.

Angie September 9, 2015 - 11:19 PM


Tamara martin December 28, 2014 - 9:52 PM

AMEN!! I am not homeless but I did live in shelters as a child. Unless you’ve been there,don’t judge!! Its great for homeless ppl. Ppl should stop talking b.s. bout paying taxes blah blah blah, @ least u got the welfare to pay for those taxes. Allot of families don’t. So remember that while you’re shoving your face full of faster food preaching to the choir. At least you got a home.

nicke April 26, 2015 - 12:57 PM

How about get a job?

Erika Nicole Kendall April 30, 2015 - 11:02 AM

Who says he doesn’t have one?

You guys are always so smart… until you open your mouths and stupid flies out.

Lexington NC May 8, 2015 - 9:09 PM

How about you can have a job and still receive fs because I have a job and receive fs….

Trina April 8, 2011 - 10:55 AM

I live in Kentucky and after reading this..*sigh* . What continues to baffle me is that this is the same ‘policy’ that says that if you go to the grocery store you cannot purchase hot food, i.e. rotisserie chicken, which you could do a million things with….Isn’t this hot food too? *scratches head*

DaniBel April 8, 2011 - 2:44 PM

It makes no sense. I’d feel better about changing the policy to allow hot food from the grocery store than I would fast food. The grocery stores, if people can get to them, provide what appears to be healthier and more diverse options in prepared foods. A rotisserie chicken and containers of salads and veggies would be way better nourishment than anything the YUM! corporation slings out. And the elderly would probably appreciate having that option available to them more than being able to whip out the EBT in Pizza Hut.

Keith January 8, 2013 - 10:21 PM

Hell I can buy gas, cigarettes, deli sandwiches, already with stamps on Ky. I can also buy a $1 stamp value for 50 cent. Hell I can buy Zanax and Loricet with stamps. In KY food stamps are just like cash in some places.

Bri January 9, 2013 - 12:12 AM

What you’re talking about is obviously illegal. The debate is about rules on how food stamps can legally be used, so this seems like apples and oranges to me.

T.R. April 8, 2011 - 1:17 PM

Erika, I live in California(LA to be exact) and more and more I’ve seen fast food joints put up the sign that they accept the EBT cards, which are the new “food stamps”. It just sickens me. Especially here in California where sooooooooooo many people are into clean and healthy eating. It drives me crazy to see the divergent paradigms working together.

Fearce Diva April 11, 2011 - 8:52 AM

Well EBT is not the same as food stamps. Food Stamps are on the EBT card but the EBT card also carries CASH benefits. Therefore, a lot of the time when you see a place say they take EBT it’s because they accept EBT Cash not the food stamps.

Molly July 7, 2011 - 2:18 PM

I also live in California. Even if the restaurant says they take EBT, it’s not for their hot food. It’s for the cold food, like the containers of whatever in the side fridge. I think you can use food stamps at Subway, but only if the sandwixh isn’t toasted. I’m not sure about that. I do know you can get Papa Murphey pizza custom prepared for you and pay with food stamps. The dough is raw, though, so you can’t eat at the restaurant.

E Marshall July 1, 2012 - 3:27 PM

That use to be the case I noticed in the last two weeks that fast food chains burger king, jack in the box wienerschnitzel, McDonald’s, and a few others in my area are asking people if they would like to use food benefits or cash benefits at the register. Of course the three experiences I have had with it all of the people have chosen food benefits. I live in a rural community though where it seems no rules are followed. I recently saw a liquor store owner allow a lady to buy vodka with food benefits. That was more disturbing than this. I think that this will end up hurting the children in the long run. If you only order from the six items on the dollar menu it may be cheaper than the grocery store, but if you order anything the price skyrockets. Luckily for the kids in my area we voted to provide them with free lunch, breakfast, and snack at school.

Snuff April 8, 2011 - 2:20 PM

I think it’s a good idea in principle, but not if the funds will go toward specific corporate chains. If they’re really concerned about the homeless and those who can’t cook, why not allow prepared items to be purchased from grocery stores? While it’s not the same as a home-cooked meal, there are usually some better and fresher options there. Hot case mashed potatoes and salmon>a large meat lover’s w/ stuffed crust.

Daphne April 8, 2011 - 2:48 PM

I live in Florida, and from what I briefly researched, you can’t use food stamps for fast food.

I think there is some obfuscation going on with this “food stamps for prepared meals” concept. To Trina’s point, if you can’t purchase hot food, like in a grocery store (and to be fair, may not be any more healthier than fast food – hello, Publix fried chicken), then how would it make sense to make them available at a KFC? Yum! Brands is looking for another way to make a profit, since groups such as the elderly, homeless, or disabled are even less likely to be discerning about the quality of the meal. I wonder if they are counting on people enjoyed the convenience of a prepared meal.

I get it – it IS convenient not to have to cook, especially when a kitchen isn’t ready available or if one may have trouble physically moving around it. I’m not against eating out at all, but if it’s crap, I don’t see the benefit.

It would be kind of cool if restaurateurs in an area would collaborate and put together quality meals from unused, edible food, and perhaps offer those meals to those with food stamps (if it were qualified, that is). I can only imagine how much food is thrown out from restaurants collectively on a daily basis.

Denise April 8, 2011 - 3:35 PM

Sorry guys, but the “fast food for food stamps” ordeal has already started. Approval might depend on local government vs. state?

For example, Church’s Chicken has many locations that take EBT cards. To my knowledge, this has been going on for at least five years. I first noticed it during my junior year of college (I attended Univ. of TN-Chattanooga). I was driving by Church’s when I saw their store sign: “We now take EBT!” I thinking “I can’t believe that my tax money it going to pay for crappy food”. I mean really–how did that get approved. Who bought who off?!

It’s concerning because most (if not all) Church’s Chicken restaurants are located in low-income neighborhoods. These are the same neighborhoods that have tons of other “fast food” establishments and usually don’t have access to more healthy food options (quality grocery stores, etc.). Talk about making the obesity problem worse! If more fast food purchases are “subsidized” by food stamps, obesity will only be the start of many problems.

Denise April 8, 2011 - 3:43 PM

Oops! I was typing a little too fast!

I meant to say this: “I’m thinking “I can’t believe that my tax money is going to pay for crappy food”.

tiffany October 12, 2011 - 2:35 PM

i knw ppl that sell their foodstamps in exchange for money.and i also knw sum that go into wlmart and buy nothing bt “junk food”.you will be surprised if what your tax money is payin for.This is America, people knw ways around everything.

kim August 9, 2012 - 2:17 PM

Church chicken taken EBT thats not the foodstamp part thats the cash part. I get $200 cash month on my EBT card but its where they garnish my husbands ex wife check for child support people down me thinking I’m on welfare but only thing I receive is my husband ex wife pays $200 month childsupport for 2 kids the goverment garnishes her check so they get money first and bc I dont have a checking account they sent me a EBT card to add my money

Leslie April 9, 2011 - 6:44 PM

I have seen a rise in fast food restaurants that accept EBT cards. Many of them include hot wing/chines food restaurants and independently owned Church’s Chicken. My concern is that most of this food is very unhealthy.

Kitty April 10, 2011 - 12:20 AM

Nope. CT doesn’t allow it. Thankfully.

And I don’t think it would be a good idea either. :[

Dre_Divah May 9, 2011 - 7:36 PM

I would not be surprised if this is happening in Texas..smh..

Mariah Clay May 11, 2011 - 11:15 AM

I work at Wegmans, and I remember this one guy bought wokery food with his food stamps.

Lex June 5, 2011 - 8:43 PM

Mmh interesting topic.

Amaranth July 8, 2011 - 7:10 PM

Wow, everyone here is so thoughtful. Other places where I was looking people were saying all kinds of horrible things about others on foodstamps as how they saw a heavy woman in line buying sugary foods and how bad that is.

I am on foodstamps, and seriously overweight, but that is not only due to eating the ‘wrong foods’. I also deal with a disability, and though I work several part time jobs I can’t make ends meet enough to buy my own food. I still have to add a lot of money to the foodstamps to get through the month, but it helps a lot.

I regularly eat fast food which I currently do with my own cash, because I often don’t have the time and the energy and the physical ability to cook. I also eat microwave meals, and salads. But I’m careful with my fast food, I will eat a hamburger with a side salad but no fries for example. But if I came out from my first job and I have 20 mins before I have to run to the second one, there really isn’t even the time for that microwave meal, I don’t even have time to go by my apartment.

I currently pay for that fast food with my own cash (Oregon doesn’t allow fast food on EBT) and that’s fine with me, the foodstamps don’t make it through the month anyways, so I use those in the store. But I don’t think store bought food is so much healthier than fast food, depending on what store you buy it at. And fast food places have things like salads and other healthy choices too.

People tend to forget that those of us on foodstamps and other types of welfare often have jobs (the majority actually), and busy jobs, but still can’t make ends meet. Unfortunately cooking is something I can maybe do in the weekend, if I’m lucky and my fibro is not acting up. I do my lunch with sandwiches but I really like to have something warm for dinner, and that often needs to be on the run. I hope people will realize that everyone, including those of us on foodstamps, have their unique circumstances, and might not be able to cook because of time or health constraints. The only thing that might help limit the use of fast food for me is change my circumstances so I can actually cook, which option seems to be a far way off. Until that time fast food lets me eat something warm for dinner, even if it’s not very healthy.

Melanie May 9, 2012 - 10:16 AM

I am a senior (56) , and disabled. I do not work, and have 1 teenager (16) who resides at home. First of all, we all know you don’t get enough food stamps to last the month, and I use lots of coupons, buy sale items, and only what I need. Because of my disability and associated pain, it is often difficult for me to prepare full meals. I do eat healthy, watching both my salt,and sugar intake. No red meat (ok maybe 2-3 times a year) but I still can”t stretch my food stamps til the end of the month. An implant from NY, I now live in Virginia. When was the last time we got a food stamp increase? And why can’t I buy hot/prepared food with my food stamps? It’s food isn’t it!!! I don’t eat fast foods (ok once in a while chick-fil-A) I would like to purchase some prepared food from Whole Foods when I’m in pain and unable to cook. This pisses me off. As long as it’s food, we should be allowed to use our food stamps especially from a store that already takes the ebt/snap card. I hope in the very near future the Dept. of Agriculture, congress, will increase the amount of food stamps considerably, and allow for the purchase of ALL food packaged or prepared!!!

Jean July 19, 2011 - 2:56 PM

This is ridiculous. Sounds like governments trying to kill off social problems. Extreme, yes. But fast food, y’all. SMDH

jenni September 13, 2011 - 12:36 PM

Heck yeah this fast food thing with ebt is great . I hate cooking I hate it because I don’t know how .I really never had that mother or grandma time where they teach some good home cooking .that’s. Why the mico. Is my best friend . I wish could cook my kids a meal and have that naturally. So this thanks fast food u’ll help me out a lot I know it.

Gabriel February 11, 2014 - 1:58 AM

There are these things called “cook books,” you should go get one.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 14, 2014 - 11:25 AM

Hi, there. Cookbooks cost money. And some people can’t rationally justify spending money on something that won’t keep the lights on or fill their child’s belly or, even worse, keep the sheriff away from the door.

Cooking takes time. Cooking requires ingredients. It requires herbs, spices, flours, produce – fresh or frozen – proteins, and the know-how of storing it, handling it, prepping it. It takes utensils for cooking it. It takes a fully functioning kitchen.

Honestly, a little compassion is necessary to understand what contributes to the experiences of people. You should look into learning how to develop some.

Bri May 28, 2014 - 10:37 PM

That’s one of the biggest problems in today’s world. So many are so busy judging that they don’t even have the time or desire to think or care about what compassion might look like.

Erika Nicole Kendall May 28, 2014 - 10:56 PM

*drops $20 in your collection plate*

Deborah Neall September 19, 2011 - 9:45 PM

SNAP can’t be used in Georgia restaurants. I agree allowing for certain grocery store prepared hot food purchases. A whole rotisserie chicken is 4.99 at Walmart. I believe the entire program needs to be restructured to be like the WIC program where foods have to meet certain criteria to be eligible for SNAP and CLEARLY labeled as such in stores. Just think about the original intent of the food stamp program which was.
a) to provide financial assistance to disabled, elderly, and others living in poverty b) The stamps be used for the purchase of both economical and nutritious foods. Grocery store items as soft drinks and chips should NOT be eligible as they don’t meet both criteria. The WIC items for the most part are OK although I disagree approving juices containing high fructose corn syrup; it’s been shown to promote obesity in children. Economical nutritious items in fast food restaurants such as Wendy’s side salad, chili or McD’s grilled chicken sandwich, wraps etc could qualify; (combos not). Unfortunately, it appears that which restaurants make the list will be purely political. I have learned that Golden Corral in Arizona and Pizza Hut in Florida accept SNAP – these are buffet style restaurants which often include as many unhealthy as healthy choices. Most people trying to lose weight know to avoid buffets! For those who do prepare food at home there are a lot of idea resources out there http://family.go.com/food/pkg-budget-recipes/20-organic-food-recipes-on-a-budget-pg/

AMarie July 2, 2014 - 3:00 PM

Braaahahaha! I know this is old, but you’ve got to be kidding me. You’re not allowed to be in charge because you’ve obviously never been in charge of anything. “Hey, I have an idea! Let’s spend all this food money on bureaucrats constantly debating the current fads of what’s healthy! Could we get some lobbyists over here stat?”
Also, sugar is a 100% valid macronutrient. It contains calories, it sustains life. If you eat concentrated nutrition, you still need another 1,000 or so calories a day to live. Plain calories. SNAP is for hungry people- they need calories. Wealthy people can eat 2,500 calories of bison and kale, but it isn’t necessary. I drink sodas when my blood sugar drops (and I’m thin, thank you). Sodas, candy, etc are rarely a problem because they’re so obviously just sugar. Garbage like McDonald’s Grilled Chicken sandwich are the problem- pumped full of unhealthy trash and masquerading as food.
Can there just be a rule that if you want to be judgy you must at least: know how government works; know how business/expenses work; and know how bodies work. And also be an ass, but at least a qualified ass.

TJ September 28, 2011 - 11:27 AM

I was floored when I saw this. I recall the gov’t being all up in arms about people buying soda with food stamps a year or so ago. So since that didn’t fly over well guess they said well let it rip add hot wings, Chinese food, cheese burgers and fries, yep if you are on food stamps eat what you want, get unhealthy and basically write your own death certificate from being able to buy and eat the most unhealthiest food available to you. Crying shame. Someone made a good point earlier in a post by saying that EBT does have a cash options if you have those funds added to your card. Then it works like a debit card, but still that isn’t money you have readily available in your pocket so it should have some stipulations on what could be purchased. If one can buy deli meat, cheese, chips, cookies on food stamps then why can’t a whole hot chicken? Isn’t it all food? The system is horribly flawed and there isn’t one easy fix.

Deborah Neall October 4, 2011 - 11:55 PM

Wow. Progress is being made! Today, at Wal-Mart I learned that rotisserie chickens are now being chilled and are therefore EBT eligible! Hard to imagine that they had been throwing so many out over the years when they expired – now they chill them before expiration and sell them for less. Let’s hope that other super markets such as Krogers and Publix follow suit.

Alie December 5, 2011 - 3:45 AM

I would have to say, one off that’s wrong. In my view I think they should be able to buy whatever(ingrediants,dairy on forth) they want BUT hot food, hot food from pizzerias and stuff like that are so not needed. I’m okay with the buying soda and chips. Why? Because sometimes when you’re out with your 8 year old and they want some chips and soda, get it for ’em. (As long as you’re not giving it to the kid everyday Oo then you sir are an interesting parent who can’t give their child a proper diet lol) Of course we can’t let the government tell us what we can can’t eat. We’re not in everyones lives and we don’t know what they need to COOK, or drink, but yeah food stamps being used on fast food….is……..o_O WTF.
I still stand by we shouldn’t be letting the government OR OTHER PPL tell us what we can eat or not. It’s really annoying when some people ruin the help for others (saying this because I worked at a homeless shelter) just because they assume they can control that persons life or that person is exactly like them. Or blaming things for us being fat. We’re the ones making ourselves fat, not the government, we should be the one controlling our diets, not other ppl. So, I say the soda and chips stay (For special occasions like birthdays, or a nice midnight snacks) but the hot food has gotta go. You need to cook it a meal not just go buy a meal. *Shakes head* tut tut tut

Luv2Read January 18, 2012 - 6:53 AM

So where do you propose a homeless person cooks their food? Or do you rather them sell your “tax dollars” for money?

Homeless in D.C. September 11, 2013 - 1:40 PM


See, people sitting on couches shouldn’t throw stones–err–remote controls.
Me=homeless= no stove = can’t cook/prepare foods. Very limited every single time I go to grocery store which is twice every single day. Live in my car in the D.C. area where housing costs are sky high and takes forever to get on your feet w/ security deposit, car repairs, storage bill, etc.
I wish to God more people would be quiet and learn before writing paragraphs on subjects they know little/nothing about.

Crystal January 28, 2012 - 7:23 PM

Im sorry honey I know its your 5th birthday and you want that car cake with your name on it but we are poor and people want to pick what we can and can’t buy on our foodstamps

Gabriel February 11, 2014 - 2:04 AM

You can’t bake a cake from a box? I wouldn’t waste my money on a bakery-made cake for my kid, and you shouldn’t waste other people’s money on it either.

We are considered “poor” by gov’t standards, which is all the more reason to make sure my kid isn’t spoiled and appreciates what we do for her.

If you want freedom to buy the cake you think your son deserves, EARN IT.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 12, 2014 - 2:17 PM

Who says you haven’t earned it?

Surely, we haven’t decided it makes sense to define our “worth” by what a company pays us, right? Some of the most worthless people alive are at the helm of companies that would still run fine without them primarily because of the people at the bottom who are paid the least yet work the hardest.

I mean, I’m willing to entertain the argument of wasting money on a bakery-made cake, but not based on the idea that you haven’t earned the right to be able to buy one.

Gabriel February 13, 2014 - 3:53 AM

I say I haven’t earned it. I’m not going to use someone else’s money to give my kid some crappy cake when I can bake one myself.

Unless I’m willing to spend money I’ve worked for to buy a bakery cake, but I’m willing to spend yours, I have NOT earned it.

I do not define my self-worth by what a company pays me, that’s how my technical skills are defined. If I don’t think it’s enough, then I need to hone my skills and/or go in to business for myself.

That said, yes, some companies have a lot of worthless baggage at the top, but they are generally propped up by the government.

It’s such a massive, ingrained problem in this country. (Corporate welfare, that is.)

Erika Nicole Kendall February 14, 2014 - 11:20 AM

“I’m not going to use someone else’s money to give my kid some crappy cake when I can bake one myself.”

Unless you’ve never had a job before, it’s your money. If you’ve paid taxes, it’s your money. And, since the overwhelming majority of people on food stamps are employed – seriously; compare the percentage of people on SNAP to the unemployment rate in the US. You wanna talk about welfare? THAT is corporate welfare. Right there. In your face.

“I’m not going to use someone else’s money to give my kid some crappy cake when I can bake one myself.”

That’s you. If you want to hold yourself to that standard, if you want to rule yourself through shame, that’s fine. But acknowledge that this is a standard set for yourself, and it is unfair to hold others to that particularly when you know nothing of their experiences or resources. If you don’t have baking equipment, large enough bowls, then what? If you don’t have a functioning stove, because your landlord’s a scumbag, then what? If you inherited a house, don’t really have the money to put repairs on it, then what? You have NO idea what contributes to the decisions people make. Talking about them as lazy, slothlike, “undeserving” human beings says much more about you as a person than it does them as SNAP recipients.

“If I don’t think it’s enough, then I need to hone my skills and/or go in to business for myself.”

This is neither easy, nor simple. It is also expensive, and many people can’t afford – neither in time, nor energy, NOR money – to start a business of their own. If you’re working a low-paying job, and you want to go into business for yourself, how are you going to pay the rent? How are you going to pay the bills? Do you have kids? How will you pay for their incidentals? How will you keep food on the table? Most people don’t make enough money to pay their bills AND set aside the requisite 6-8 months of money that people are advised to save – if they have “advisors” at all – before they set out on their own entirely, so what happens in the meantime?

And I say this as someone who has been self-employed for over a decade, at this point.

People love to talk about SNAP recipients as faceless, story-less people who need platitudes to succeed, because their failures are of a moral sort deserving of only the highest form of shame. This is devoid of praxis – a fundamental understanding of how things actually happen in real life, pulling the flesh of reality away from the bone of systems that we expect to guide it – and none of us will solve a single thing until we look at the multi-faceted contributors to poverty and compassionately seek resolution. Talking about what people “deserve” in punitive terms just because they’re poor is short-sighted, especially when all the money is floating towards the top, anyway, soon to leave us all poor.

Onelove February 9, 2012 - 10:53 AM

Food is food it should not matter if its cold or hot…as long as theyre not buying drugs.

Shantana February 14, 2012 - 2:01 PM

I find it dishearting when I drive pass Churches Chicken, Taco Bell, McDonalds and see EBT cards accepted.
My family grew up on foodstamps and they had meals at home(maybe not the healthiest but we did the best we could). My thing is if your asking for help you accept the terms of the help. So yes if you ask the government for money because you can’t afford it(for whatever the reason health, bad circumstances, elderly etc) they can put stipulations on it.
This isn’t some unsecured loan we’re talking about, it isn’t anyone’s right to have money given to them, this is money being provided to help provide for your family. Do I agree that they should be able to allow hot foods from the grocery store yes. Do I agree that at times we are too tired yes…but preparation is key. Do I think it’s hard to prepare yes, I struggle with it every moment, I hate it but I do it so I dont make bad decisions through out the day. People say not to let the governments into our home but we do it everytime we apply for a FHA loan(they have stipluations), or for people that need section 8(they have stipualations) housing assistance, so why do people think it is any different for food? Nothing in this world is given for free. A solution instead of giving these fast foods places the opportunity why not open up places that offer the correct choices for low income residents that can buy healthy prepared foods that qualify for EBT or food stamps…instead of taking the easy way out. Fast food use to be a treat, I use to couldn’t wait for that meal for Mcdonalds not I walk up and know the menu and dont long for it.
Just like when I wanted my first car many years ago my mom cosigned it was my car but stipulation was you can’t move out of this house until your credit is good enough(i didn’t have credit)
to put the car in your own name and take full responsiblty. So what did I do, build my credit got the car in my name and then took the world on.

Don February 29, 2012 - 1:07 PM

It is a true shame that some states allow this kind of thing to go on. I am old and retired and my wife is totally disabled and due to a bad car wreck I had to quit work and stay home with the wife. For 3 years we lived on $845. a month and needed the EBT food card. Well it was a real tough time getting by but we did and I would have never ate out even if it would have been a nice treat at times. We lived in California and they allowed us to eat out but we didn’t because we prefer to eat healthy. I see very little reason except those that are homeless to eat fatting foods that are really bad for you. Give me a break…PIZZA… so so bad for you and we wonder why there are so many over weight folks in the USA. I think it is totally wrong.

Juniysa S. March 13, 2012 - 7:01 PM

This personally hits home to me. I was once homeless and well…you can’t exactly prepare and store food as you were if you had your own place to stay. Sure, if I had processed food or canned vegetables/fruit, I was able to store them in my storage bin but once it was open, I had to eat it within a certain amount of time or else it would go bad (or be infested with insects). Even though I wasn’t on food stamps, I mostly ate hot foods with the money I got from my job/student loan. Some of the food was healthy…a lot of it wasn’t…but I was able to burn it off because I was walking so much and carrying a lot of things.

There were one time I prepared my own food, I had to buy on those dispensable grills to do it. It was okay once the food was finished but it was easily perishable.

I realize that they’re targeting groups that might not have the means to prepare their own foods. I’m not elderly or disabled but after my homeless experience…it is only treating a symptom of a larger problem. The focus should be on getting those people sheltered at a place with a kitchen where they can cook their own foods. Not ‘here’s food stamps/EBT/SNAP/WIC, go get some hot foods’.

Erika Nicole Kendall March 14, 2012 - 1:31 PM

<3 *big hug*

myself August 8, 2012 - 4:11 PM

You know, not all food stamp recipients can get to a grocery store when a food emergency occurs. Isn’t ANY meal better than NO meal? Use your noggins and try to muster up a little compassion. Poor people to eat too….

DanielB September 12, 2012 - 6:07 PM

not to get off subject, but why is churchs considered crappy food? since when is fried chicken mashed potatoes and gravy crappy? OK so excuse me for not bein a green enviro vegan wacko!

Erika Nicole Kendall September 12, 2012 - 9:06 PM

It’s crappy food because it uses poor quality ingredients, hyperprocessed food, insanely problematic chemicals in place of actual flavor and cancer-causing fats instead of actual quality food.

And no one said anything about anyone being a “green enviro vegan wacko,” because that’s not the only other alternative to fast food. If your feelings are hurt or you are confused, then just ask questions. Don’t put this kind of foolishness on my blog like I’ve EVER promoted that kind of mentality. Ugh.

Mike Wells October 27, 2012 - 3:17 PM

To me, it’s all about trying to control what we do. Some of the food that we buy in the stores are no healthier for us than fast food because of all the preservatives in them. It is not up to someone else what I eat. If they don’t like it, then they go just stay away from me. I decide what I’m gonna eat and when, nobody else.

Jeanpaula November 18, 2012 - 10:17 AM

I recently lost my job. As a single mom its hard enough to be on a good diet not to mention having the time to work out. I just got my EBT card and bought my first purchase. All I bought was fresh produce and organic meats (mostly chicken) I was embarrassed to pay for it but it is hard times. The check out lady said “usually people buy junk food on EBT. You have a well balanced have a diet. I want to be healthy so my son thinks its a normal to be on a healthy diet. What I don’t get how people choose to eat bad because its convenient but not really, its a lifestyle to choose to be healthy. Taking that time to make that fried chicken and gravy takes less time to make a chicken salad with homemade salad dressing. On EBT you can eat right, or at a fast food restaurant; as I sometimes go, there is an alternate healthy menu. Taco Bell has one, McDonald’s has salads, not hard to make the right decision its a no brainer. I teach my son the value of eating right helps you stay healthy, working out he thinks its a game and we have our time together. You can’t choose to be broke but you can choose to eat right on EBT.

Brighde Bright-Heart November 23, 2012 - 11:59 PM

This is such a tricky subject, and one that hits really close to home for me! I’m disabled. I’ve been homeless and have walked a line very close to being back on the street; I’m still poor and still need food stamps…

Generally, I’m not a big fan of restricting what people can buy with food stamps, because it is so hard for a lot of elderly, disabled and homeless people to prepare many kinds of food, and it’s depressing to eat out of cans all the time! Plus, a lot of people don’t realize how much of a lift in spirits can come from a small, simple treat, especially for people who are living in poverty and, often, fear — of homelessness, illness, missed appointments or shifts, job loss, etc. Being able to treat yourself to a pint of ice cream or some chocolate after having an awful week or month can be surprisingly uplifting, and little things like that can be the only treats that a lot of people who qualify for food stamps are able to acquire.

Still, I agree with some others who have commented. It makes a lot more sense to me to allow people to buy the healthier and more economical deli food at the grocery store, regardless of whether it’s hot or cold, than to allow use of SNAP benefits at fast food places. Though I think it would make sense, and help small businesses, if smaller restaurants that prepare healthier food and offer it at reasonable prices could apply to be able to accept food stamps.

A lot of farmer’s markets can accept food stamps for vouchers that are worth more than the amount of the food stamps; I know that at least part of the official reason is to encourage people to eat healthier, more local food. It also brings more money to local farmers. As you mentioned, though, it would be nice if that were expanded and folks like me, who definitely wish that we could afford to buy more healthy food, had greater access to fresh produce and locally-produced, healthier meat, dairy and eggs.

Aspen's Whisper December 9, 2012 - 2:01 PM

This appears to be one of those horribly confusing issues where what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ is not solely dependent on the action itself, but also the attitude behind it.

If the concern is primarily eating healthy no matter a person’s income level, well good. If the thought is more along the lines of they can do whatever they want, just not with *my* money, then maybe not so great. If you wouldn’t have the same prejudice about someone getting fast food with their own money, you might want to try and figure out what’s the difference…

Just so long as people remember that the end goal is to help people and not condemn…

Jessica January 10, 2013 - 3:59 AM

Erick, I live in Wisconsin n thank god this has not passed through congress in my state I would oppose this right away n petition that we stop this from happening in any state. The fact is our next generation of children need a healthy balanced diet to obtain a normal life n be productive in society. Giving them options to drive through a restaurant is obsured, to the point that I’m sickened over this issue. What happened to families teaching there children to grow, n harvest n cook there own meals.

Thank god my grand parents n parents taught me. Or I would be a useless party to our society.

Erika Nicole Kendall January 10, 2013 - 8:31 AM

“What happened to families teaching there children to grow, n harvest n cook there own meals.”

Well, for starters, did your family’s garden growers tend to a garden while working a 39-hr work week? Because, I mean… that might affect how much time you have to “harvest and cook your own meals;” having the time to actually harvest, store, cook, preserve… those were often the mark of one-income households, and that’s often why the house could subsist on one income.

So…it’s just a thought. I don’t really expect an answer, let alone an honest one, because it’s the internet and people are more invested in calling people “useless part[ies] to our society.”

Bonnie February 7, 2013 - 2:46 PM

I don’t understand how people on food stamp assistance could afford to eat out … Most benefits aren’t enough to buy food to cook for a month, so the person buying fast food would be starving within a week.

Matthew February 20, 2013 - 4:52 PM

I am 41 who for the first time applied for SNAP and recieved benefits last month. I got laid off suddenly after five years and I made in the 40’s.
I was so worried about feeding my 9 year old daughter ( and a little myself) that it made me cry and im a pretty tough guy. I have worked my whole life and am a VFW. That being said, I want to say to the condescending judgemental people, which are just a few, because the majority of the people who have posted are decent human beings, that receiving fs/SNAP does not mean dirty, lazy, ignorant or any other negative labels.
I am so thankful for the help! I cook every meal and that includes packing my childs lunch. In fact we have never eaten healthier. Being that I whole heartily appreciate the help I feel a responsibility to spend my benefits fairly wisely, which leads me to one of my points.
I do believe personally that the program should work similar to something like WIC, I do believe certain non essential foods should be omitted such as Ding Dongs, Coca Cola, and other nutritionally absent and harmful foods. I dont want anyone telling me what I cant buy ( government) but this is just common sense. The essence of SNAP is to help the needy stay nutritionally sound.
As far as fast food is concerned I do believe that a person should have a percentage of their benefits for that use, maybe 25%? More than likely the majority of folks will not use it wisely, but I would. But if it was left to me to make that decision, hell no! Be thankful you have benefits, be smart with them, dont disrespect the help that is given to you. If you can make it through a fast food drive thru, you can get your booty to the grocery store, period! For the gentleman in an earlier post ( who sounded like a nice person) who “does not have the time” and fast food is the only option, bull! Pack your lunch AND dinner before you leave to work if you have to, you can make two tasty and nutritional meals in ten minutes the night before you work and just pick it up on the way out.
Anyway I did not post to put anyone down, im just saying to everyone lets all be real, learn meal planning, you dont need fast food in any circumstance (you have made it this far wo it!), respect your benefits. Btw as a teenager I was homeless for a bit and hungry, I will never forget. My respect and appreciation for food is magnified by my experiences. For yall who have been to third world countries and know the availability of food as compared to the USA, you also have a good respect for food.
One more thing if someone reads this that is involved with health and human services/SNAP program, my daughter and I thank you, we appreciate the help : )

Erika Nicole Kendall February 20, 2013 - 8:13 PM

“Learn meal planning.”

How? From who? Where? When? What if they don’t know how to cook? What if they don’t have any stores? How do they map out how to get there, when to go, how to carry their purchases home?

You guys absolutely must STOP oversimplifying the answers. Just because you’ve struggled a little bit doesn’t mean that YOUR solutions are easy for everyone to execute.

I walked my daughter, in a stroller, to the grocery store in the burning Miami sun, and carried my groceries home on my back with a DUFFEL BAG. I know what it’s like to struggle with food. I also still don’t think my solution is easily scalable for everyone.

Matthew February 20, 2013 - 9:15 PM

You did not provide a solution for anyone but yourself, which is respectable to yourself, my post was for everyone in general. Yes! Learn meal planning! Make good use of the assistance you are given. It benefits you and your loved ones. If you would like to knowhow to meal plan I will personnaly help you or anybody else.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 20, 2013 - 9:19 PM

That’s right. But, neither did you. ROFL

How do you make “good use” of something if you don’t fully understand what “good use” constitutes? If your time is limited, and you can’t commit is to learning something you don’t understand in the first place? How do you develop a palate for something that you might not even have time to learn to cook properly?

Again, with the platitudes. C’mon, man. Do better.

Michael May 25, 2013 - 2:30 PM

“How do you make “good use” of something if you don’t fully understand what “good use” constitutes?”

Erika, it takes a communal effort to educate and guide others of what is “good use”. It is a learning process. For some, it may be quick, for others it may take a lifetime, if that. Either way, what it really comes down to is…whether or not the individual is willing to learn…to take the initiative to try to learn. Yes, it is true that there may some that are too mentally ill or IDD, that they have learning disabilities. For those, we may have to make decisions (and cook) for them.

“If your time is limited, and you can’t commit is to learning something you don’t understand in the first place?”

How is one’s time limited?
It is we who put “limitations” on ourselves. We all make decisions regarding what we consider priority in our lives. Once again, we all have to make the choice…accountability for our choices & actions. If we want to help others see a better path (in this case eating more nutritiously), then we, as a society need to act and help our fellow man.

Excerpted from Does Your State Allow Fast Food Purchases On Food Stamps? | A Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss

Erika Nicole Kendall September 14, 2013 - 9:21 PM

These, here, are more platitudes. I don’t like platitudes.

“How is one’s time limited?”

“It is we who put “limitations” on ourselves.”

“We all make decisions regarding what we consider priority in our lives.”

I sincerely encourage you to learn about people who don’t live a life as privileged as yours.

You’re right – it IS “we” who put “limitations” on ourselves. So, when you “limit” yourself by taking that second job that allows you to at least pay the bills, it’s your fault that you don’t have the time to eat healthily. Who needs electricity? You’ve got kale!

When you “limit yourself” by living in an area that doesn’t have a healthy grocery store within walking distance and don’t have the three-hour block it’d require to commute to the store, do the shopping – even with a list! – and come home, know that it’s your fault that you don’t have the time to eat healthily. Carve those extra hours into your day! Sleep? Who needs that! You didn’t need to be coherent at your minimum-wage job, anyway!

When you “limit yourself” but commuting to take your kid to school, go to work, come back to the school to pick your kid up and then commute home with just enough time to heat up a TV dinner, get your kid bathed and then put them to bed – like my mother did when I was a toddler, where she had to catch five buses to do so – know that it’s YOUR fault that you don’t make time to learn to cook (something that takes at LEAST a good hour for prep, planning, and exploration, and enough extra time to heat up that TV dinner just in case your exploration fails miserably).

There are more people in this country on food stamps than there are people who are unemployed. Know what that means? That means there are plenty of people on food stamps who are EMPLOYED.

MANY people in this country who are employed and actually still qualify for food stamps? Those people work for companies like WALMART who work them for 39.5 hours, steal their wages, force them to work damn-near full-time jobs with damn-near full-time responsibilities but a pittance for a paycheck. They’re working full time jobs, with part time paychecks. No money, little resources, and a SNAP card. Get it out of your head that they have time for a community, let alone a “communal education process.”

Seriously. Learn how people who aren’t in your neighborhood live. Learn how the people who AREN’T in your immediate circle function, and THEN I’ll consider you remotely qualified to enter into a conversation about how to “act and help our fellow man.” You can “act and help your fellow man” by encouraging the government to do something about employers who don’t pay the people ensuring their businesses stay afloat are paid a fair wage. You can “act and help your fellow man” by supporting your government incentivizing grocery store conglomerates putting stores in disadvantaged areas. You can “act and support your fellow man” by ceasing to shove platitudes down their throats, and ceasing to generalize their very personal, very unique experiences and support them as individual human beings.

“What it really comes down to is… whether or not the individual is willing to learn.”

Your government doesn’t even know what “healthy eating” and “good use” consists up. The average person on the street, sans resources, hasn’t got a chance. Platitudes are fun. They make us sound like upstanding citizens, morally superior to these people who just can’t get it together. Platitudes are cool… until you try to turn them into policy.

Matthew February 20, 2013 - 9:27 PM

Ok drunkie. Try to get off crack as soon as you can.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 20, 2013 - 9:31 PM

ROFL You people always show yourselves sooner or later. You can’t answer questions or dialogue like logically- and critically-thinking human beings, so you reduce yourselves – not me – to racist jokes and insults.

Since your parents didn’t teach you how to dialogue like a productive member of society, let ME do it: If you’re not intelligent enough to enter the conversation, then stay out of it. Read silently, take notes on a post-it note pad, stick your notes to your screen, do some research, and then come back when you’ve uncovered something useful. Calling me “drunkie” and referring to “crack” because I mopped the floor with your silly and pedantic argument only makes you look racist… which is hilarious because YOU came to MY blog. I didn’t ask for your input, and from the looks of it, certainly don’t need it.

Have a great day, Matthew. And please, get a BIG sticky-note pad. Looks like you’ll need to take a LOT of notes. *big hug*

Annie March 7, 2013 - 9:44 PM

It’s amazing to me how heated everyone gets about this stuff. And we’ll, here’s my side: I am a single mom of 2 on food stamps. I buy fresh fruits and veggies, meats, frozen meals and yes, even chips and ice cream. I can make my allotment last an entire month. Planning isn’t so hard. I create a menu every week. Then make a list, based on the menu. Yes, I buy things that aren’t on the menu if there is a great sale. So it can be done. BUT….I see the plight of the homeless/disabled/elderly. I think that it is very reasonable to allow them the ability to get hot food from a fast food chain. But I like the suggestion of “portioning” it. And I agree that ALL food (ie the rotisserie chickens) in a grocery store should be allowed. Anywho. That’s my 2 cents.

Trina March 28, 2013 - 5:11 PM

Growing up, my family and me were on food stamps for awhile, and I defnitely remember what that was like back in the day. I agree that hot foods should be allowed on FS, like rotisserie chicken which is very healthy and tasty, as well as other prepared healthy food. My mom was into healthy eating, and she bought a lot of fresh veggies and fruits with the FS, but it sometimes was hard to make ends meet, and I think the goverment should make fresh produce double the value, which would make it easier for people on FS to buy produce. Like if an apple costs $1, it should only cost $0.50 on FS for example

However, I find it disturbing that these corporations like YUM! foods are lobbying the government for more money, and the government always support big business over the people. they always do whats best for the companies, and not what’s best for us common folks. they bailout Wall St. and they bailout all the corporations. The goverment always pass laws to help the corporations. Fast food restaurants have more than enough money, they don’t need government support! Their goal is to make America fatter, make us all addicted to their fattening food so we keep buying it and they make more money off us. We need to empower our elderly and disabled by giving them more money to buy healthier foods. The governement needs to focus on spending money on the people, not on corporations and big businesses like YUM! foods!

Stac July 25, 2013 - 11:41 AM

I think it’s just so sad that we live in a world where there’s even a need for FS…”God bless the meek, they will inherit the world”

Mike Wells August 14, 2013 - 1:05 PM

I’ve left a comment here before and it’s time for another. Everyone that seems to think that buying food at a local restaurant with food stamps is bad, obviously has a good job, great salary and does not need food stamps. I saw a previous comment on here from someone who does not have access to a fridge and stove. Those people are the ones that would benefit the most from restaurant usage. Just because you would make a bad choice at a fast food place, doesn’t mean everyone else will. I go to these places all the time and buy healthy things off the menu. Besides, God did not get put upon the cross and decide that we are in charge of other people. I do what I want, when I want, and how I want to do with my life. I’m nobody’s slave. That’s the trouble with this world. Some people are so worried about others and not keep their nose out of other peoples business. That is why the world is falling apart. I don’t care who doesn’t like my comment. I live in the USA where we have the right to our opinion. I really do hope that they make the food stamp for restaurant use in Kentucky.

Karen August 14, 2013 - 6:55 PM

All you people who can buy food without the food stamps good for you ,yeah you eat healthy ,NOT… Well don’t belittle the people who have to use them to eat. What is the difference between cooking a chicken or buying one prepared …. some people don’t have the means to cook for them self. As I don’t ,I am disabled also from a car accident not due to me ,but a 16 yr old when i was just 22 myself now 61 (he was drunk). So don’t throw people down for this unless someday you have to go through it your self….. PSH

InDISBELIEF September 1, 2013 - 9:08 PM

This article is completely INSANE…. on all levels.


AND…the article is on a website which focuses on black women and weight loss ????

HUH ?!?!?

AND…the top row is a line of black women using expensive smart phones to take pictures of themselves ??!?!!

Is this a JOKE ?

BTW, this site does not appear to be targeting “…the elderly, disabled or homeless, who often have difficulty preparing meals….” any way, quite the opposite.

Why is this site discussing FOOD STAMPS at ALL ???

(unfortunately, the answer is all to sadly obvious)

This is INSANE !!!

Erika Nicole Kendall September 1, 2013 - 11:07 PM

You are not a serious person. You simply are not.

My first thought was to delete your comment and send you to the annals of scumbaggery with the rest of the insidiously racist trash that tries to stain my servers… but instead, I’m going to play with you.

Why do I talk about food stamps, with my expensive cell phones – by the way, that’s not black WOMEN, that’s ONE person – ME.

I can afford expensive cell phones. I started my first business at 22 and have been self-employed ever since. I have the privilege of never having needed government assistance, but that doesn’t preclude me from sympathizing with readers who come to me and share with me that they couldn’t afford to live how I live because of environmental barriers (which is why I blog about food deserts), financial barriers (which is why i talk about food stamps), and other logistical issues (“my place of residence doesn’t have a stove or a fridge.”)

I’m sorry that your closed-minded brain immediately jumps to the old racist trope about welfare queens milking the system and living the high life wanting to eat taco bell on food stamps while spending her cash on expensive cell phones, but in MY world, it’s OK for people to care about and be mindful of those who have less privilege than themselves. I have an entire series of posts about healthy eating on food stamps and, while it’s nice and salacious to talk about using SNAP to buy taco bell, the reality is that the same law that prevents someone from buying taco bell ALSO precludes them from being able to buy a rotisserie chicken, saving time AND money, also allowing them to eat far healthier. THAT is why this topic appeared here.

Also, if you’re unaware, I’ve covered healthy living everywhere from NPR to the New York Times to Ebony Magazine to Salon and more. Call it insanity, but I call it stupidity. You couldn’t think past racist stereotypes and bigotry. I honestly pity you.

Open your mind… and, if you refuse… at least keep it off my website. God.

hollywoodbliss October 4, 2013 - 8:15 AM

love the intellectual trashing of morons ur compassion and empathy exceeds most you seem to be an interesting inttelligent individual and i comend you for it

Kelly September 14, 2013 - 7:52 PM

This is an old post, but I’d love to know what’s happening now. Incredibly well-written and provacative! Would you believe in my privileged ignorance, I didn’t know warm foods from the store are often not allowed? It never occurred to me recipients may have no way to prepare meals or store them afterward. Thank you for elucidating these difficulties.

Tim October 12, 2013 - 11:38 PM

Instead of changing the policy to allow people to use EBT cards on prepared foods, let’s change the policy so that we match people dollar for dollar on what they make working instead of just giving them money. I used to work at a convenience store and it constantly irked me seeing people use food stamps at the convenience store (which is twice as expensive as the grocery store) and then use cash to buy lottery tickets and cigarettes. I was hoping that the federal shutdown would help reform the program because the states wouldn’t get the money from the feds but alas no:-( hey, go have a big mac on me… you’ve “earned” it.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 13, 2013 - 11:03 AM

“let’s change the policy so that we match people dollar for dollar on what they make working instead of just giving them money.”

Do you have any idea what it’d take to make that happen?

People are insistent upon believing that SNAP – NOT EBT, because EBT covers a lot of different programs, not just food stamps – recipients are some sort of lazy, unemployed lot. MOST of them are. They oftentimes work jobs in this country that pay so little that they STILL fall under the poverty line or near it. And, since poverty is stressful, they “need a smoke.” We allowed the tobacco industry to create an industry that takes advantage of people’s inability to relieve their own anxiety, and now we get mad when their addiction causes them to prioritize their own money for cigs over food?

Is it so hard to believe that people HAVE, in fact, “earned” the right to be able to spend money on a big mac, but their low-paying job won’t pay them what they’re worth?

Dld October 15, 2013 - 5:39 PM

First off EBT snap is food stamps. EBT other is their disability checks, child support checks, and any cash benefits they get. After spending 5 1/2 years in the navy just to get out and not have much in qualifications or most people don’t want to hire you because they think a vet has mental issues, alcohol or drug problems. I don’t fit those categories. I live in Seattle Wa. I live on food stamps but can’t buy hot food and don’t have access to showers, free meals from churches every day. I can’t cook food or heat up food all the time. If I had the option to buy mcdonalds dollar menu items compared to $6 for a cold meal stores I would rather spend $3 on 3 sandwiches than spend $6 on 1 that = 2 off the dollar menu. With EBT food stamps I can only spend $6 a day for only one meal off $200 a month. As of November it’s $189 a month. I paid taxes when I had a job. What upsets me more is that I see illegal immigrants with brand new cars decked out with all the nice things and on food stamps living in a house with 2 or more families getting free medical benefits and a bunch of other free stuff but a poor family has to eat tomato juice and noodles for dinner. I would rather have my taxes go to legal residents than illegals. I see pregnant women getting their cars repowed but an illegal has a $15 an hour job. When I was living in Arizona I got turned down for a $10-15 an hour job because I couldn’t speak Spanish. Instead of cutting food stamps back why not cut off illegals on free rides. I eat once a day more if I can get to a church meal. I live in my truck it’s not easy to find places to park close to food. In some places it’s over a mile to any store. If you want to complain about taxes then why not about illegals getting free rides, tax-less jobs sending most of their money back to Mexico instead of putting it back into circulation in the USA. Instead of complaining about your taxes being spent on fast food find out which EBT is allowed there. Snap= food stamps or the other one.

Erika Nicole Kendall October 17, 2013 - 5:14 AM

Here’s the problem with your comment:

“What upsets me more is that I see illegal immigrants with brand new cars decked out with all the nice things and on food stamps living in a house with 2 or more families getting free medical benefits and a bunch of other free stuff”

1) How do you know they’re “illegal?”

2) How do you know they’re on food stamps?

3) If they’re truly “illegal,” they’re not eligible for food stamps.

Please don’t let your hatred of Mexicans – because, let’s face it, that’s who we are talking about when we talk about ‘illegal immigrants” – compel you to spout lies. You don’t know what a person uses to survive. And, quite frankly, if a person is living in a house with 8 other people, chances are damned high they’re not going to buy a “new car” the first chance they get.

“I see pregnant women getting their cars repowed but an illegal has a $15 an hour job.”

How do you know what an “illegal” makes? Be clear – MANY “illegals” work at establishments that might PAY $15, but since THEY are undocumented, they wind up working for FAR less under the threat of deportation.

Pregnant women might be getting their cars repo’ed because they’re not paying their bills or they’re not being in touch with their lender about the status of their finances. And, if you did any research, you’d know that damn near any job offering up $15/hr in THIS day and age is asking for a college degree, something an “illegal immigrant” can’t provide. And, if they DO in fact have a $15/hr job? Kudos to them for getting there first. Maybe, instead of railing against “illegals” on the Internet, you should be spending some time assisting pregnant women who get their cars repossessed in getting $15/hr jobs, too.

“When I was living in Arizona I got turned down for a $10-15 an hour job because I couldn’t speak Spanish.”

You weren’t qualified to provide service to at least a quarter of the state’s population, and that says NOTHING of whether or not the entirety of that Spanish-speaking population all lives in the SAME city. Why would you be hired by anyone who wants to remain in business?

“Instead of cutting food stamps back why not cut off illegals on free rides.”

Have you ever looked at – I mean, TRULY looked at – how much money the “illegals” are costing the US government, in the grand scheme of things?

“I live in my truck it’s not easy to find places to park close to food.”

And, yet, you somehow found my blog and the time to comment. I’m honored.

“tax-less jobs sending most of their money back to Mexico”

Boy, it sounds like we really need to be going after these tax-less job-offering employers and penalizing them, huh?

“Instead of complaining about your taxes being spent on fast food find out which EBT is allowed there.”

In the midst of all of your ranting about “illegals,” you must’ve missed that we were originally talking about food stamps… not, in fact, EBT, which is merely the card through which financially-based government benefits are transferred (hence the “T” in “EBT.”)

Please do something about your hate. The same Google search that brought you to my blog could EASILY be used to change that ignorance into intelligence. It really isn’t that hard.

Rae November 15, 2013 - 6:16 PM

That reply was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen on the Internet in days.

This site is full of wisdom for both the body and heart, Erika. Thank you!

Angie September 10, 2015 - 12:27 AM

We live in America so if you don’t speak English then go back to wherever you came from. We shouldn’t have to learn how to speak Spanish they should have to learn english

Erika Nicole Kendall September 11, 2015 - 1:36 PM

I disagree.. This anti-Spanish movement is nothing but fearmongering and grandstanding – I hear multiple languages as I’m traveling across my city every day, and that says nothing of my ability to conduct regular business with folks from a different culture than my own.

When people hear someone speak Spanish, they’re not speaking Spanish simply because they don’t speak English – people are allowed and should be encouraged to use whatever language they’re comfortable with as it matters to them, and should be encouraged to learn new ones. That goes for Spanish speakers as well as English speakers.

There’s an old embarrassing joke – “What do you call a person who speaks three languages? Tri-lingual. What do you call a person who speaks two languages? Bi-lingual. What do you call a person who speaks one language? American.” We should feel some kind of way about that. So many other countries are bordered by cultures that speak different languages and, therefore, their citizens learn the languages of each bordering country. Why shouldn’t Americans be encouraged to do the same, ESPECIALLY when we have a growing Spanish-speaking population?

People really need to let go of this “go back to where you came from” bullshit. Lots of people came from America, and still reside in pockets where their own non-English language dominates. And that is totally okay, and completely not a threat to anyone else. It doesn’t mean we’ll soon have Spanish-Speaking Overlords.

Oddly enough, I never hear this “go back to where you came from” nonsense with regard to the Asian population or the Europeans who are here, who speak every language under the sun.

Steve Singer December 20, 2013 - 12:35 PM

I could go on at length regarding the pros and cons listed here.
I will address the part of this discussion that evokes my anger. People who comment, ‘ My tax money being used to buy ______ (You fill in the blank).
I cannot speak for everyone who receives food stamps. I WILL speak for myself. I get your point about YOUR tax money. Let us talk about mine.
I am 55 years old. My first employment was at the age of 15. My first full time employment was at the age of 21. I have worked forty or more hours per week since the age of 21 until I became disabled at age 55.
The statement, ‘YOUR tax money,’ is specious….which is a fancy way to say it sounds good on the surface but is in fact a crock when you take a good look at it.
I have paid taxes for over 40 years. From the point of view you are shining on this matter this is MY tax money that I have prepaid I am now spending.
Personally I have no problem with the government providing a list as to what food should be on a list of acceptable food stamp purchases We could all eat healthier. I however fully support the opinion of another taxpayer who finds themselves on food stamps who disagrees with me; who feels the government ought not have such a list. What I don’t want to hear about is “YOUR TAX MONEY.”
Here us an idea..why not go protest the billions of your tax money that is being spent to compile lists of your private phone calls…Now before you say..well that information is necessary to protect my privacy let me assure you the information already exists. Your phone company has the information. The NSA compiling it is a duplication of something that already exists at a cost of billions to you…I could go on..but you get the point…don’t you?!?!?

AMarie July 2, 2014 - 3:36 PM

There doesn’t need to be a separate conversation about how SNAP food dollars should be spent. I’ve been wealthy and I’ve also had my feet knocked out from under me, and when those times were really really hard, and I had no money for my daughter’s clothes or haircuts and we took the bus because I couldn’t afford car repairs… The one and ONLY time I felt like a competent mother was SNAP deposit day. I bought the foods everyone else had. She liked apple juice boxes, which are wasteful, but it was…a feeling I can’t even begin to describe to have the day off from saying no. We bought the foods everyone else around us was eating. We were staying with friends in an upper middle class white neighborhood, so- we bought some asparagus and also chocolates, organic meats on sale, frozen fruits. The conversation we need to be having, and that I actually hear progress on now that I’m back on my feet and I’ve moved to a blue state, is why those foods are not easily and cheaply available everywhere? Why are big bags of chips the indulgence in some neighborhoods while my daughter coveted a tiny tin of rose pastilles? We need higher quality food available for everyone. We need more Whole Foods on the south side and bigger SNAP budgets. Maybe just blanket subsidies in some areas. Put a nice grocery beside every KFC, give people a reasonable budget, allow both and see what happens. People make the best choices they can, nobody violates this rule, so what we need are better choices.

Erin Miller August 8, 2014 - 7:22 PM

I dont usually post to blogs, but I feel the strong need to voice my opinion. I am a veteran of operation desert storm and a mother of five children. My youngest, is 4 years old and has down syndrome. My husband passed away at the young age of 42, and my youngest daughter who was born with down syndrome needed life saving open heart surgery. You can go from living well and then, be homeless by circumstance, which is what happened briefly to me. I was put in a hotel with my children and given food stamps…which was great…I thought..at least I could get food and feed my children until I got back on my feet..The only problem is,, I had no stove, no fridge, no microwave. I was not able to buy prepared meals from grocery store nor from any fast food place. It was incredibly difficult to prepare any type of meal. That was many many years ago…I am now a licensed nursing assistance, remarried and I have a home, but I am one of the lucky ones that fought my way up from poverty. I truly believe that food stamps should be able to buy any and all foods even fast food stores. The reason people get food stamps is because whatever their situation is, is devastating to have to need the help…and people in that situation dont always have the means to prepare a meal with a kitchen or even so much as a microwave. So before everyone out their throws out their opinion in a negative way, just remember…anything can happen to change your life, tomorrow. Erin Miller

Erika Nicole Kendall August 9, 2014 - 8:57 AM

Thank you for sharing that, Erin! It truly added value to the conversation!

Jordan May 16, 2015 - 10:23 PM

umm how about only allow foodstamps at healthy places..such as subway, Quiznos, Rollie pollies, smoothie king, and other healthy joints. And not to mention u can buy junk at the grocery store. You can buy gum on foodstamps but u can’t get a hot plate? Does that make sense?

Tiffany Johnson July 3, 2016 - 12:58 AM

Hi! I’m Tiffany, I receive food stamps and I have something to say (Hi Tiffany!)

Although I am a year late, or maybe more, in joining the conversation, in reading some of the comments, I feel that I have to step in and say something.

We all need to really stop with making these ludicrous assumptions. I read one comment that people do not need food stamps if they are driving these expensive cars. Excuse me, but how do you know they would not? Let me point out some things. The food stamp program is an ASSISTANCE program. This means that anyone, and I truly do mean ANYONE, who needs help are allowed to apply for this program and receive food stamps for however long they need if they qualify. I point this out because if you see a person in line at the grocery store using an EBT card and they hop in a BMW, the assumption should not be that they don’t need it. If they didn’t need it, the government would not have qualified them in the first place. Let’s also look at other options, shall we. What if the person had been laid off? What if the person lost their job due to a sudden chronic illness that is not visible? What if the car belonged to someone else?

My other issue with such comments is that there is this underlying feeling that one should “look” as if they need food stamps. So what does that look like? I will have to apologize to you all now, but I refuse to look bummy, or dirty, or messy, so someone can approve my usage of a link card. I drive a Cadillac and it’s not because I am balling out of control. Let’s remember that majority of the people receiving food stamps work, I being one of those people. And guess what working people get for paying their taxes throughout the year? An income tax check! Didn’t see that coming, did you? Yes, people who receive food stamps can also file taxes from their employment and get money back. Imagine that! People can do whatever they want with their taxes – including purchasing a car of their choice. That’s how I paid for my Cadillac in full – my income tax return. I think other people are entitled to that too.

We as a people really need to stop with the stereotypes and judgements. The issue isn’t the food stamp program. The issue is employers unwilling to pay their employees decent living wages so they can exit the food stamp program. Instead of attacking the recipients, which is a form of blaming the victim, by the way, attack these big corporations who move their jobs overseas or who would rather spend the money to open a million stores throughout the country, instead of giving their employees decent wages and working hours. Tell these companies that 10 cents a year as a raise is bullshit. Tell these companies that working 20 hours a week for $15 an hour is the same as someone working 40 hours a week at minimum wage and it is unacceptable! Has anyone talked about that?

Well, have you?

Erika Nicole Kendall July 5, 2016 - 9:01 PM

Brilliant comment.

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