I gave a challenge last week to anyone on government assistance: send me your story, and I’ll see what entrepreneurial ideas I can come up with. One brave mom of six children, Andrea, took me up on my offer. We have exchanged only a couple emails, but from what little she shared, I can already see opportunities around her.
Andrea and her husband, Adam, have been on food stamps since the birth of their first child 16 years ago. The best thing about this family is that they hate being on food stamps. Half the battle is coming to this realization. She let me know with this comment:
I believe beyond doubt that there are times when welfare is definitely needed, but as someone who is currently forced to accept it, I agree with Chris – IT SUCKS! I DREAM of being off it. Someone constantly treating you like you’re less of a person – or lazy. And it does become a crutch. So Chris, you said you would like to help someone get off it. I accept, can you show a wife whose husband only brings in $380 a week for a family with 6 kids (and said husband has become trapped to receiving it) how to get away from that crutch? I would give anything to be independent. Please help…
Perfect. The will to be free is 1/2 the journey. Andrea sent me her story. You can read a PDF of the email Andrea sent me here. Here are bullet points that sum it up:
- Andrea is married to Adam and have six children.
- Andrea was an honors society student in high school, but does not have post secondary education. She held two jobs after high school at a pizza restaurant and a telemarketing service. She has been a stay-at-home homeschool mom for 24 years to her children (aged 16, 14, 12, 7, 3, 1). She prides herself as a veracious organizer.
- Adam is the father. He spent about a dozen years in the lumber industry before being forced off the job from joint and tendon problems and a significant knee injury. He took a 50% pay deduction to continue to work in a grocery store, discovered a love for customer service, and transferred from California to Oregon for a new job. He then had shoulder surgery, and while on disability he moved the family to Arkansas to be closer to family. He is now a front-end supervisor at a Kroger supermarket. He loves to trade sports cards on eBay, though it is more of a hobby and doesn’t make much money.
- Adam and Andrea have been on food stamps since the birth of their first child. Today the food stamp program brings in $918 per month for Andrea and Adam. Adam takes home approximately $1,600 per month and some extra money from trading sports cards on eBay. The program threatens a “use it or lose it” disincentive, meaning if they don’t use all the money, they will be cut the following months, perhaps the entire amount.
Adam and Andrea have some obstacles. Neither have their post-secondary degrees. Adam has a history of job injuries. They have a food budget to keep up with to feed their six children.
But there are also opportunities, particularly surrounding Adam’s hobby and Andrea’s skills. They have assets available to them that they have not used nearly to their potential. Actually, I’m quite excited for them.
Question: Read Andrea’s email. Do you have ideas for her family? I’ll post mine tomorrow, but use the comment section below to share yours.