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$560.00
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Cindi    Posted 09-23-2004 at 12:45:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
I am here to share with you the details of the hardest 560.00 I have ever earned in my life and that ain't no lie.

Two weeks ago, it was announced that victims of Hurricane Charley were eligible for emergency assistance via a one time receipt of food stamps. The amount received varied, depending on the number of people in the household, and was designed to help offset some of the cost of post-hurricane living. Gas, generators, ice, cold storage foods, the loss of freezer foods, the purchase of mountains of charcoal, etc.

I was not going to take advantage of this offer.

Eventually I began to question that position. I've been paying taxes for years, I had suffered a dabilitating financial setback, that's what the funds were for, and last but not least it appeared that we were the only family in the county that did not apply for the emergency aid. It simply did not make sense to turn my nose up at it.

So, Saturday morning I went down and applied. I arrived at 8:15 a.m. After standing in line in the direct sunlight for three hours, word trickled back through the throng of waiting people that the 'machine' (I have no idea which one) was broken down. I assumed that this meant, 'sorry 'bout your luck'. So I took myself home.

On Sunday I was informed that my actions were hasty. That I could have stayed in line and still applied anyway, and still recieved the assistance.

Monday morning at 8:15, I carried myself back down to the FS Depot and proceeded to stand in line for another three hours...in the rain. Upon being approved at eleven-thirty, I was informed that yes, I did qualify based on our losses, for $560.00. BUT! I would have to come back between two and six p.m. and stand in line again to receive the little plastic card that contained the funds. Oookay.

At two-thirty I was standing in line again, in the direct humidity-laden sunshine. Until four- thirty, when it began to POUR. Despite being pelted with drops the size of seedless grapes, we were able to laugh about the fact that Ivan and Jeanne had somehow gotten together in the atmosphere and spawned a little baby tropical wave that was proceeding to tinkle all over us.

At roughly four-forty five, two heavily armed policemen came out and announced to us that due to the fact that there were so many people, and due to the fact that the cut off was seven o'clock, that every body beyond THIS point would have to go home and come back between noon and five on Wednesday. Do I have to tell you that I was beyond THAT point? Or did you see that coming?

I had to work Wednesday, so I went back when I got off, at three-thirty, in the pouring rain. I was informed upon arrival that since there were so many people and since the cut off was five o'clock that I didn't even need to bother to get in line. Come back tomorrow between noon and five. SEE ya!

I said ...

"Don't you mean noon and THREE? I mean if you're not going to take anyone after three, why are you telling me to come back again between noon and FIVE? Do you WANT TO SEE ME FAIL?"

The police officer fiddled with his pistol menacingly and I scooted out of there.

By now this thing had become personal. I was going to get that dammed card or die trying, and with lightning cracking nearby, the latter was a very real possibility, while the former seemed less and less likely.

I did not have to work today so I showed up at ELEVEN o'clock (wink). The line was almost non-existant. I waited a mere hour in the balmy morning sun, chit-chatting with other 'waiters' and keeping a positive outlook even though there was a nasty rumor circulating that at noon, all the administrators of the FS program were going to break for lunch leaving us standing out there waiting until they came back to work at one o'clock.

That rumor never became fact, and at twelve thirty when a man looked at me & shouted "next!" I thought I was going to pass out from the emotional strain.

I made my way inside the building (which was a mobile home with six offices)

I was there, the hard part was over.

The woman behind the desk proceeded to process my card and I swear by all that's holy, the power went off. There were muttered curse words from all the offices throughout the building. Just as suddenly it came back on. Then went off again. Our service is still not operating at a hundred percent yet and the power is a bit unpredictable.

It came back on again and when the computer booted back up, the machine would not accept the processor's password. Somehow she had managed to suspend herself from the main computer, so I waited fifteen minutes while she contacted her home office to get a new password.

As she was entering the new password, the power went off again. I said the f word. I thought I said it in my head. Based on the wry grin on the processor's face, I must have said it out loud. I felt myself blush while she giggled at me.

Ten or fifteen minutes later the power came on and stayed on long enough for her to do the processing. At which point she handed me a card and a slip of paper with a pin number on it.

"There is one hundred and forty-four dollars on this card. It may or may not work, but don't even try to use it for twenty-four hours, and when you do, buy something small first to make SURE it works."

Huh?

"The rest of the funds will be sent to you in the form of another card, in five days to a week. You will get a new pin number. Follow the same procedure, wait twenty-four hours, it also, may or may not work, if you have trouble with either of the cards, there is a phone number to call on the back of the card."

Sigh.

I left the building trying to plan how to spend the funds that I might have and planning what to do with the additional funds that I might get, and as I was leaving the power went off again. I was beyond caring by that point, but I sure felt for the people that were still standing outside in the sun. It appeared they were in for a long haul.


OH Boy    Posted 09-24-2004 at 10:47:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
I sympathize, Cindi!

Isn't that just about typical anytime you have to do business with the government? Think about it, you go the DMV, the Post Office, the Unemployment Office, the Courthouse. You gotta wait in line like cattle. You gotta take a number. You get to the front of one line and the clerk goes on break. You get to the front of the line again and they tell you you're in the wrong line.

These agencies and people work for us! Not the other way around! Why do we tolerate such shoddy customer service from them?

This is why I generally vote conservative and do not have much use for big government programs, I just don't think they really provide much service to the average person. Instead, they might provide service to those of us who don't have a life and are willing to spend oodles and oodles of time waiting in line and filling out forms for a pittance of a benefit.

Another thing they do provide is cushy jobs to some bureaucrat and his staff, who in my observation, generally feel no obligation to hurry things along when processing an order from a pesky claimants! (Oh my god you expect us to help you during our break time????)

Not to belittle the folks who truly need help in a crisis, I'm complaining here about the bureacrats and the ones who make a lifestyle out of these programs.


steve19438    Posted 09-24-2004 at 07:53:25       [Reply]  [Send Email]
glad to hear you got your money! if the gov't has it go get it is what i says. BUT, sounds to me if you hasn't listened to the rumor mill while in line(the first time) things could have gone easier for ya.


Judy in NC    Posted 09-23-2004 at 22:16:11       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Cindi, can you give me the URL for the other site you post on?

Thanks,
Judy in NC


DD    Posted 09-23-2004 at 16:35:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
I can understand exactly what you're saying Cindi. It's like it was said on the news when this was announced "If you're ALREADY receiving food stamps then you need not apply". It never ceases to amaze me at how some folks are so greedy, they'll "double dip" the system every chance they get and just because there are still some of us who are honest, hardworking people who have paid into this system since we started working, most times at 16, they try to make you feel like a piece of crap. *knock,knock,knock* Hello, I can't think of one single person here (or anywhere else for that matter) who ASKED or BEGGED to be hit with a hurricane. I work with some of those low-life double dippers and it gets on my last nerve that there are folks out there who can't get a dime just because they won't go into those offices and lie. Another thing that gets me with this welfare system is the number of high school age GIRLS having 1,2, sometimes 3 little babies like doorsteps just so they can get more money each month. I suspect that alot of them learned that right at home and that is just sooo wrong. I'll give them one OOPS, but after that, you're on your own. There's no excuse for it, especially when they have clinics they can go to and get on the pill, free condoms, etc. I wasn't raised that way and just took for granted for a long time that neither was anyone else. Boy was I wrong. Cindi, I'm glad you FINALLY got some much needed assistance to buy some groceries. I would hope and pray that ANYONE ELSE who lost all their food (by no fault of their own) would be able to get assistance also, no matter WHERE they live. I am Blessed in that my family and I haven't had to go through that aggravation yet....yet. None of us can predict the future, if we could we wouldn't have had any food in the fridge or freezer to begin with. I Apologize for this being so long but I just wanted to let you know that from someone who's right here in Florida too that I DO UNDERSTAND YOUR FRUSTRATION : ) Take Care All!


Cindi    Posted 09-23-2004 at 19:07:48       [Reply]  [No Email]
I KNOW YOU DO, DD! I hope you're ready for Jeanne, as it looks like round three coming up on Sunday. This weather is just not to be believed. Some models show her running up the east coast and some show her making landfall and following a Charley type path straight up the center of the state, so batten down your hatches again girl!


DD    Posted 09-23-2004 at 19:33:27       [Reply]  [No Email]
Ya'll too : )


KellyGa    Posted 09-23-2004 at 15:43:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well, let me poke my nose in here for a minute. Cindi has been through what a lot of us has never had the misfortune to experience. I can see her point of frustration that it was like pulling teeth to get some results, and it is SO HOT down there, shes lucky some one didnt lose thier mind and go on a killing spree from delirium of the heat! (Just being sarcastic, but it IS hot!)

I am glad for any help you can get Cindi, everybody needs a little help sometimes, and thats okay.

Also, Cindi, I have been keeping up with you on the "other" forum. I am glad you can talk to those guys. Someone asked me recently why you don't post your goings on over here any more like you do there. I told them I didn't know, but now I know why. Not trying to start anything, everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

Any woman that can handle all she is going through and not be locked away in a padded room like she has deserves to catch a break every now and then, actually she deserves a lot more than that, but we get what we get, good and bad.

I love ya Cindi, sorry I haven't been more in touch with you. I haven't been as good a friend as I should have been for you, and I feel bad for that, and when I read this thread, I had to say my 2 cents. :)


Cindi    Posted 09-23-2004 at 19:10:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
I figured crying in my beer at one forum was enough, so I have been trying to keep my 'personal' personal problems in one place. Tough as those guys are they can be very supportive. And some of them are just tough all the way through. (smile)

Kelly, the contact thing works both ways and I haven't been the best at staying in touch so don't feel bad. If things ever settle down, we'll get back in the swing.


Cindi    Posted 09-23-2004 at 14:41:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
WOW! I had no idea this would generate such a varied response. Mel and Les, you guys know me well enough to know that I was doing exactly what you said, relating an experience in my normal long winded way. Although I do understand Mud, Alias, & Amen 's responses too as it could sound like whining depending on your point of view.

"It is bad enough to have to ask for help, but this is almost like hoping some will give up and just let it go."

There was a lot of speculation that this was exactly the way it was planned. I guess they figure that if people don't need it badly enough, they will give up. I think they got surprised.

Anyway, this was a new experience for me, crawling along in line with my hand out, so I thought I'd share it. Who knows, any one of you may be next and based on this information, it may help you make an educated decision when the time comes for receiving aid. True? If you know what it was like, you can be prepared. Here's hoping you never have to be in that position.

I NEVER shrink from or harbor any ill will toward an honest opinion. That's the stuff America is made of. No harm done.


Melanie    Posted 09-23-2004 at 14:46:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
You're a nice lady. :) :) :)

Mud, of course I'm sorry that I was so prickly about what you said, and of course your opinion's as good as mine. Shake on it?


mud    Posted 09-23-2004 at 15:07:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
you bet i'll shake on it. want you to see others have been through it differently. mostly, thats all. i been knowed to be heavy handed. might could get a grip on that part.

mud


Whut?    Posted 09-23-2004 at 19:12:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
Then we couldn't call you Mud anymore. Lol!

Cindi


Melanie    Posted 09-23-2004 at 15:11:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
Heh, heh, nobody could say that about me, right? ;) I get on a tear and don't pay any attention to niceties sometimes... I'm working on it. Thanks for the shake. :)


Cindi    Posted 09-23-2004 at 14:50:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
Mel...lol! You remind me of a roman candle, man when you get hot...whew! Funny lady.

I'm pretty tough. I have to be by now. You think this is the first time somebody crawled down the back of my neck?

What you just witnessed (I think)was patriotic pride at it's best. (grin)


Mel    Posted 09-23-2004 at 15:04:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
I think you're right, and I know exactly what kind of people cause this misconception stuff about those who take federal aid. My daughters get free lunch, and I used to take food stamps right after 9/11, when the company I worked for went bankrupt, we were both unemployed, had two rapidly growing kids, and couldn't find a job to save our souls (we finally, happily, gladly both got minimum wage jobs-- even though secretary work is supposed to be mid-level-pay, like thirteen bucks an hour, the boss called it a "buyer's market" and kept me at minimum wage for almost a year, and I still haven't seen ten). The people you meet in that line range from people in the situation I just described, to women who drive up in Mercedes, with diamonds on three fingers of both hands, expensive warm-up suits and brand-spang new Nikes, their kids in designer baby gear, and freshly done hair and nails.... collecting welfare. Yeah, right, tell me they didn't lie or take advantage of affirmative action or have another kid just to get more in their monthly check.
I know why the country looks down on welfare. But I think it's worth it when folks in your shoes get helped, when folks in the earlier predicament get helped, when the elderly living on cat food (that's no urban legend, folks, call me a bleeding heart or bleeding anything else you like) get helped, when those who truly deserve it, in other words, get some Temporary help. But Temporary is the operative here.
Yikes, soapbox over!!!!


Cindi    Posted 09-23-2004 at 15:23:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks Mel. That does make me feel better, and I'll let you know how it all works out.


mud    Posted 09-23-2004 at 13:38:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
so? did you wear the hat you pick beans in? and was the hourly rate for your wait akin to reasonable?


Alias    Posted 09-23-2004 at 13:36:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
Never rains but that it pours.

Cindi, Ain't it wonderful to live in a country that gives aid to victims of hurricains? It's a rotten shame they have to have procedures for allocations. Wouldn't it be nice if they flew over in helicopters and dropped the $560.00 at each hosehold. C'mon, it could have been worse. How about the 1000 or so haitians that can't stand in line.

I don't mean to offend you but isn't this on the order of looking a gift horse in the mouth?
........gfp


amen    Posted 09-23-2004 at 13:39:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
amen... count your blessings or give it back.

mud


Baloney!!!    Posted 09-23-2004 at 13:50:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
They needed to have a plan in motion that gave chits to those who had stood for hours and were turned away.. Perhaps a card that gave them front line positions the next day. It is bad enough to have to ask for help, but this is almost like hoping some will give up and just let it go. JMO which is what mostly matters, to me..


Can't believe....    Posted 09-23-2004 at 14:07:12       [Reply]  [No Email]
...the harsh views on this here. Someone's livelihood, not to mention those of her community, has just been nearly wiped out by forces beyond her control. And if suffering through a hurricane and facing all sorts of challenges doesn't entitle someone to complain about bureaucracy standing between themselves and aid, I don't know what does. Good Lord, she was made to sound like she was some huge ingrate when she was just documenting what she had to go through to get some help. I can't understand how the same people who said, "I'll pray for you, we're pulling for ya" could then turn around and rake Cindi over the coals for disliking the bureaucrats making it harder for her to get the help she, as a property owner who suffered terrible losses, was entitled to.
-Melanie




mud    Posted 09-23-2004 at 14:12:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
well, harsh? let me tell you. we been through worse with less. long before forums, long before bleedin hearts, long before social aid. i dont doubt her efforts, not one bit. but look- there is help for those that suffer- it aint perfect. dont expexct it to be. be grateful that it is there. afterall- it aint there in other countries.

mud


Melanie    Posted 09-23-2004 at 14:15:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yes, but I think you overreacted a bit, mud. She wasn't going on and on about how horrible these people were. She gave us an account of what went on. I didn't read a complaint where you did- and that's the basis of my response. I guess it's all in your attitude. :(


Melanie    Posted 09-23-2004 at 14:11:00       [Reply]  [No Email]
and while I'm at it, I know for a fact that most people dislike bureacracy. She wasn't saying anything new, except that she got federal benefits out of it. Maybe that's the problem, eh?
Pfaugh.


whaaaa!!!!!!!!!    Posted 09-23-2004 at 13:55:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
sniffle

been folks get through much worse.

any other country on earth doing as much for those that suffer.

Think that one over --some --before you climb on your dam rightious high horse

mud


RichZ    Posted 09-23-2004 at 18:50:06       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Well, Mud, I guess that if you were in Cindi's shoes, you wouldn't accept a little help. Well good for you, it's nice to know that we must have a millionaire on this forum!!!

Cindi is my friend, and has been for a long time, as she has been to many people on this forum. And I know very few people who work as hard on so very many levels as she does. I also don't know very many people who I admire more than Cindi. If you follow her posts, then you know that she's been through enough the past month or so, that would make Job shrivel up and die. I think she's entitled to a little help, and I think she's entitled to post about her experience. You, of course, are entitled to post also, but I gotta say, what you are saying sure doesn't make you the type of person that I'd like to get to know. Maybe that's just me. But then, I'm entitled to my point of view also.


mud    Posted 09-24-2004 at 05:55:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
thats o.k. rich z. you dont ruffle me none.

i spoke my mind, now so did you. if you read my posts you saw that i have received help in the past. if you read any of my earlier posts you'll know i'm no millionaire.

mud


Cindi    Posted 09-23-2004 at 19:22:28       [Reply]  [No Email]
Rich!

How come I didn't know you were going to pop up here?

Really though...Job? I haven't had any nasty boils spring up yet. (grin)

How are you my friend? Never mind don't answer, I'll e-mail you tomorrow.


Les    Posted 09-23-2004 at 14:26:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
Why don't you just kick her while she's down, mud? Your response was not called for at all. Cindi's telling a story. Surely you know that she's a story teller. I didn't hear her complain, just expressed her frustration as anyone would have in her situation.
Heaven forbid that you might need a little help some day through no fault of your own.


o.k. les    Posted 09-23-2004 at 15:03:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
i been in need of help before and got it.
spent some time laid too. lost family too.
my point is simple: dont bite the hand what feeds you. gift horses are scarce in other parts of this earth of ours, and it werent too long ago it was scarce here too. many a folks buried loved ones on borrowed money. if you stand in line for a while , then fine. dont miss the fact that you are standing.

i appreciate cindis ability to put into words her thoughts. she gets a point across well. i read her posts regular, yours too. this post stiikes close to home and i made it a point to answer.

if we cant see things differantly then what is the point of learnin a dam thing from others les?


Cindi    Posted 09-23-2004 at 19:24:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm not Les, but I understand what you're saying. I honestly was not offended. No harm done.


mud    Posted 09-24-2004 at 07:02:36       [Reply]  [No Email]
i figgered you for a tough one. right off. long time ago. i spoke my mind, not based on armchair insight. my family has had our time with loss.
many families here, proobably.

it was not my intent to villify you or anybody down there suffering. it brought back some history and raised my hackles some.

shoot, if a body cant speak up here then whats the point of having a forum? i know you feel similar by what you have posted in the past. i like what you write most of the time. i aint agreeable to everyone all the time. its the way i was brought up. i might be wrong, and i will consider other points of view, but you can count on my opinion to be an honest one that i'll fight for.

mud


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