the only time we were out of work was during the Carter years . One night we had to put a $1 of gas in our car and give the attendant our name and address and phone number . We had no other choice.We did return in less than 2 weeks to pay him. He was very hate filled and arrogant. He could have called the police , I guess I should be grateful.
BTW, we felt so sick having to do this. We were out picking up cans , mowing lawns , etc anything to bring in money. I spent up to 8 hours a day on the phone each month looking for an agency that would pay our light bill that month. There were not a lot of places that just handed out food. One place let us get a few bags of groceries and looked at us like we were scum for doing so.( I recall the walls had threats from the Bible all over them " he that does not work does not eat" etc) Most of the food had been on the shelves for a long time and it was like rice a roni and some of it had bugs in it. Yes we were leading the high life. Our kids had to hope their friends families would let them eat . We went hungry, right here in the USA. My husband took any job that came his way . The Congo offered no help b/c we were viewed as bad association and possible apostates due to our kids having problems. So they offered no assistance but threatened us if we took help from the churches, I kid you not. We could not get food stamps until the very end and dear gawd you should have seen the hateful look on the worker who gave them to us. We could not qualify for assistance b/c we owned a car or something equally stupid. It can be very hard to qualiy for assistance, even with 0 income.
the state agencies goal was to deny us help , I can assure you of that. We also were subjected to racial slurs b/c of getting food stamps. More than once federal/state agency workers would make comments about our acting like "blacks " or some even used the N word. Actually, during Hurricane Ike family members were displaced and on a call to the hotlines we asked what help was available and someone said " the only folks who are using Fema here are blacks -- you black?" ( btw, that was not a question meant to be helpful) I was speechless.
Finally after a 1 1/2 years he found a job . It is not easy to be down and out in the USA. We survived but even now we have some ptsd over it.