A new Mississippi policy requiring that food stamp recipients find work or volunteer to maintain their benefits went into effect on Wednesday and brought with it some rather surprising results.
Mississippi Gulf Coast news station WLOX reported that the policy requiring that recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program work or volunteer 20 hours per week inspired a number of residents in the city of Gulfport to get off their butts and actually put in some effort.
“I’m working here as part of the SNAP program,” said Percy Fayard, who started volunteering at Feed My Sheepthis Monday. In a rather ironic twist, the company he chose to volunteer happens to be a faith-based organization that provides food to the homeless.
“I’m in a current state of job search and I’m trying to make sure that I can still at least afford to live,” he added, noting that putting in long hours to maintain his benefits did not bother him too much.
Another volunteer, Sharon House, expressed a similar sentiment.
“Really, it’s more of a job opportunity to help you get out into the job world, and being up here helps you out a lot,” she said. “As tough as it may be, if I’ve got to do it, I can’t let anything stop me or get in my way. I have goals, I have dreams, it’s life.”
These SNAP recipients deserve a lot of praise for their positive response to Mississippi’s new policy, though judging by the attitude typically maintained by welfare users, we realistically expect most of the state’s SNAP recipients to respond in an entirely different way.
Plus, when Maine Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, enacted a similar rule in his state, 78 percent of welfare recipients in his state eventually dropped out of the program instead of simply rolling up their sleeves and putting in some hard work.
Perhaps the situation might wind up being different in Mississippi, but we will have to wait to find out.
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