Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I'm Now The Person With The Food Stamp Card In the Grocery Store Line

I mentioned in this post that children in foster care are eligible for WIC (Women Infant Children) benefits, which is a division of the food stamps program that focuses on, well, women, infants and children.   It provides things like formula, baby food, milk, cheese, eggs, bread, etc for eligible families.  Since our three hour appointment to get signed up, we are also now eligible for this.

We have food stamp cards...   Yep, that lady holding you up in the grocery store line taking the couple extra minutes to use her Lonestar card...it might be me...getting formula for Sister and milk, cheese, juice and bread for Brother.

I used it for the first time Sunday evening when Mama Judy came over and I was able to slip away to the store.  I intentionally looked for a checkout line with a seasoned looking cashier since I knew I was gonna have to ask how to use the dang thing.   I whipped out both cards, one for each kid, and told the guy right away that it was my first time using them and I needed guidance.  When he was confused why I had two cards, I explained I am a foster parent and we have two children in our care.  From then on, we were smooth sailing.  He told me since I had two cards, we had to do two transactions, so we set aside Sister's formula for round two and mixed Brother's stuff in with my regular groceries.  He showed me how to stick the cards into the machine, microchip face down, and push all the right buttons. While the machine did its thinking and updating, we talked about how he is going back to school to teach special education.

WIC saved us $77 in that one trip and that was only a partial month of benefits since we started mid February.  Already worth the 3 hour appointment to get signed up...well, almost.

I am very grateful to the young man named Peter that helped me use our food stamp cards for the first time and taught me the process.   And I'm grateful to the people in line behind me who waited patiently (or at least appeared to) for me and Peter to get everything figured out.

Next time you get huffy about someone's Lonestar card slowing down the grocery line...pause.  It might be a foster parent using the resources available to them to properly care for the children in their home.

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