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Does the government and public agencies distort poverty numbers?
I live on the edge of a relatively poor area. When I’m at the grocery store, I’m occasionally behind someone on WIC or foodstamps, and I have time to notice their clothes, purse, cell phone, etc. and am often surprised by what I see. There are people with nicer or the same stuff that I have and I wonder, how is someone who is making so little money able to afford this stuff? I volunteer at a free dinner program and am astounding by the size of most of these people. They are definitely not starving and even though fast food is cheap, they would have to be spending a lot to get to the weight they are. The people that run the kitchen tell us to give seconds because this is probably the only meal these people are getting, and I can’t help thinking that it’s far from the truth. When we rented our house, we had people applying who could only afford it because the government was paying their rent – people on welfare were able to rent a house that my husband and I, who both work, had to save up to buy! It makes me think that all the claims of these people being so desolate are not true.
It’s much easier to be compassionate when you are further away from the problem. Living closer to it now, I feel as though I am becoming hardened towards poverty and am not sure if I am looking at it wrong or if we are not helping the right people.