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We’ve heard it all. “Welfare queens!” “Leeches!” “Bums!” Americans on safety net programs are not exactly media darlings. But thanks to Gawker, which is now featuring a series of personal stories from SNAP recipients, we get the inside scoop — straight from the horse’s mouth — about what it is really like to be a mother on food stamps.

There is a rather unshocking consensus among the six SNAP recipients who posted their stories on Gawker: They “really, really hate” the stigma attached to Americans on welfare.

“It’s mostly fabricated, something the stuffed suits in public office can bitch about,” a 36-year-old Caucasian mother of two said. “Sure, there are absolutely people that abuse the system, but it’s mainly normal, working stiffs like me that are forced to use it, pride be damned.”

“I am judged by media, social media, legislators and people in grocery lines, when I take out my SNAP benefits card to pay for groceries or a utility bill,” said a single mom of four.

But most importantly, the SNAP recipients wanted to tackle one head-scratching question: Why on earth would anyone think that being left with no choice but to seek federal aid is some kind of luxury?  “I apparently want to be broke forever,” Cat, a 35-year-old mom, said sarcastically.

Cat delves into how, after 18 years of years of being a certified nursing assistant (CNA), her back ended gave out on her (she herniated her discs). She lost her job and now must work at home with a smaller paycheck. Her husband, she said, also ended up losing his job. With her monthly bill running up $580 a month, she says that the $280 that the receives from food stamps is a huge help.

“We need aid […] BECAUSE I work,” Cat said, shooting down the “lazy” stereotype. She says that in her town of Cortland, NY, most people on welfare accept the aid because the job market is tough.

A 36-year-old mom chimed in to add that she had to seek federal assistance because her daughter has a heart defect. She had to battle through two open heart surgeries. As a certified medical assistant making $11 an hour, she can barely make ends meet.

“The $250 in food stamps I get every month supplement us for just about three weeks. My kids are pretty sick of the spaghetti/PB&J rut that we’re stuck in at the end of every month,” she said.

To sum it up, SNAP recipients want to make it known that “it’s embarrassing and frustrating, and those few a$$holes that do take advantage ruin it for everyone,” she added. “They are the EXCEPTION, not the rule.”

If you want to take a more in-depth look at these stories over at Gawker, click here.

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