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Food stamps put RI town on monthly boom-and-bust cycle

Food stamps put RI town on monthly boom-and-bust cycle | Geography Education | Scoop.it
Seth Dixon's insight:

Rhode Island is one of five states in which the number of people getting  help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-formerly known as 'food stamps') has more than doubled since 2008. In 2012, 16 percent of its residents received aid from the program. Read the related article.  The article details how Woonsocket's economy is impacted by these monthly fluctuations is disposable income.  Why is Rhode Island one of that states with a doubling participation in this program?  What other spatial patterns to you see? 


Tags: Rhode Islandeconomic, mapping, poverty, community.

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Dias Vidia's curator insight, April 2, 2013 2:05 AM

http://redgage.com/photos/macb/postage-us-liberty-of-all-15-c.html

Kendra King's curator insight, January 28, 4:11 PM

The story of food stamps displays how the government aide helps more than the individuals in the short term. I always knew that the people on food stamps benefited because they are now obviously able to eat better than they would if left on their own. However, I never really realized just how much of the government money also went back into the businesses. Without that money I am sure some of the stores in Woonsocket would have closed sooner. I say sooner because since this article was written in 2013 a good deal of stores in Woonsocket closed or relocated (Shaw’s, Walmart, Dots, Home Depot, and Staples). Seeing firsthand how many businesses closed of recent is a clear indication of how the aid wasn’t enough. Still even going based on the information in the article, there were other indications of Woonsocket’s lagging business economy. For instance, one section mentions how Jourie thought Woonsocket was a “town disappeared into twisting two-lane roads, shadowy mills and abandoned smokestacks.” Mills were a strong economic center so long ago that the buildings should have been updated by more modern businesses. Yet, this hasn’t happened. It is a wonder how Woonsocket hasn’t figured out a way to attract more business from surrounding towns sooner given that government aide won’t keep business going.


Still, the people under this system are part of a process that doesn’t seem to stop repeating. Following the perspective of Rebecka, you see how businesses just tries to tempt the consumers who all flock to the stores on the first of the month falsely believing they are getting a better deal. Then you watch Rebecka try to shop under stress thereby causing her to spend money she shouldn’t be either. Then, when all is said and done, she looks longingly at the start of the calendar for the next first of the month. It appears the first of the month is on her mind even before it is well in sight. This type of thinking seems to trap Rebecka in an endless cycle of poverty. While I sympathize for the women who tried to get more work, she shouldn’t just continue on in a dead end job while barely surviving on food stamps. Go back to school, spread out how you spend the money, (maybe try saving some of it for more necessary items rather than tattoos), and change the cycle. The factors in the article show how this could be hard to do, but it isn’t impossible for her to gain control of her own life either.

    

While I understand this trap is partly a result of the economic recession, there were other factors at play.  The story was partly told from the perspective of someone with a high school degree, who seemed to stop school because of a child. Given how little someone makes when an individual fails to continue his/her schooling it is no wonder she is on food stamps. Furthermore, the fact that Woonsocket is full of low income housing continues to explain why so many people with food stamps flock to the town. If the people can’t really afford homes than it is no surprise they are on food stamps too. Woonsocket’s housing prices have always been like this even before the economic recession though. As such, the town’s population was already dependent on food stamps (something I am well aware of given that I live in the town next door). So I wonder just how much the economic recession actually increased the use of food stamps on the already poverty stricken town. 

Kendra King's curator insight, January 28, 7:53 PM

The story of food stamps displays how the government aide helps more than the individuals in the short term. I always knew that the people on food stamps benefited because they are now obviously able to eat better than they would if left on their own. However, I never really realized just how much of the government money also went back into the businesses. Without that money I am sure some of the stores would have closed sooner. I say sooner because since this article was written in 2013 a good deal of stores in Woonsocket closed or relocated (Shaw’s, Walmart, Dots, Home Depot, and Staples). Seeing firsthand how many businesses closed of recent is a clear indication of how the aid wasn’t enough. Still even going based on the information in the article, there were other indications of Woonsocket’s lagging business economy. For instance, one section mentions how Jourie thought Woonsocket was a “town disappeared into twisting two-lane roads, shadowy mills and abandoned smokestacks.” Mills were a strong economic center so long ago that the buildings should have been updated by more modern businesses. Yet, this hasn’t happened. It is a wonder how Woonsocket hasn’t figured out a way to attract more business from surrounding towns sooner given that government aide won’t keep business going.

 

Still, the people under this system are part of a process that doesn’t seem to stop repeating. Following the perspective of Rebecka, you see how businesses just tries to tempt the consumers who all flock to the stores on the first of the month falsely believing they are getting a better deal. Then you watch Rebecka try to shop under stress thereby causing her to spend money she shouldn’t be either. Then, when all is said and done, she looks longingly at the start of the calendar for the next first of the month. It appears the first of the month is on her mind even before it is well in sight. This type of thinking seems to trap Rebecka in an endless cycle of poverty. While I sympathize for the women who tried to get more work, she shouldn’t just continue on in a dead end job while barely surviving on food stamps. Go back to school, spread out how you spend the money, (maybe try saving some of it for more necessary items rather than tattoos), and change the cycle. The factors in the article show how this could be hard to do, but it isn’t impossible for her to gain control of her own life either.     

 

While I understand this trap is partly a result of the economic recession, there were other factors at play.  The story was partly told from the perspective of someone with a high school degree, who seemed to stop school because of a child. Given how much little someone makes when an individual fails to continue his/her schooling it is no wonder she is on food stamps. Furthermore, the fact that Woonsocket is full of low income housing continues to explain why so many people with food stamps flock to the town. If the people can’t really afford homes than it is no surprise they are on food stamps too. Woonsocket’s housing prices have always been like this even before the economic recession though. As such, the town’s population was already dependent on food stamps (something I am well aware of given that I live in the town next door). So I wonder just how much the economic recession actually increased the use of food stamps on the already poverty stricken town. 

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