Recession Not Over for Poor: Families Stretch Food to Last

This was my first story for NBC’s “In Plain Sight” series. It is an important series examining  how poverty and inequality affect the lives of millions of Americans. I’m looking forward to contributing more stories to it. I appreciate the candor of my main subject, Jaime Grimes, in sharing what her family does to stretch their food dollars:

“After Jaime Grimes found out in January that her monthly food stamps would be cut again, this time by $40, the single mother of four broke down into sobs — then she took action.

The former high school teacher made a plan to stretch her family’s meager food stores even further. She used oatmeal and ground beans as filler in meatloaf and tacos. She watered down juice and low-fat milk to make it last longer. And she limited herself to one meal a day so her kids — ages 3, 4, 13, and 16 — would have enough to eat.

“I just want my kids to be fed,” said Grimes, 38, of Lincoln, Neb., who suffers from chronic back problems, arthritis and muscle pain that make it difficult for her to stand. She is applying for disability but in the meantime has $950 a month — $500 in child support and $450 in food stamps — to feed and house her family. “I just want my kids to have the basics of life that, unfortunately, I can’t give them right now,” she added.”

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