Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

March 2, 2013

Don’t be too quick to judge those on public assistance

March is National Social Work month. It is a time to reflect on all of the ways social workers sacrifice, and give of themselves selflessly to society.

Social workers are trained to deal with a wide variety of problems.

The public may never understand how important and very much needed this profession is.

One of the ways social workers contribute to society is by advocating for the nation’s poor.

Many times I have overheard conversations in which people were discussing people who are using food stamps or WIC. Most of the conversations I hear resort back to the same kinds of thinking.

People will say, “I work for a living and I have worked for everything I have. How is it these people think that it’s okay to get free or next to free goods and services?”

I hear others make comments such as, “Look what kind of food these people are allowed to have. They get to buy things that I can’t even afford and I’m working.”

Still others make pre-judgments about these people and automatically assume that people who rely on these programs are lazy and just don’t want to work.

“These people are taking my hard-earned money,” they will say. I would like to break down some of these comments to hopefully get people thinking in a different way about these issues.

To assume that all people using food stamps and WIC are lazy is an inaccurate assessment.

There are many reasons beyond people’s control that may result in the need to access these services.

Those reasons include loss of a job, a slow down in hiring due to the economy, natural disasters, etc.

Many people do not have the added luxury of a family or a spouse to lean on for extra support. Anyone could lose their job, their spouse, their vehicles, or their possessions at any time. Nothing is guaranteed to any one of us.

When as a nation are we going to stop judging others?

We cannot possibly know every detail about everyone’s life or why they are where they are.

It is time we look to see what we can do to help others and make the world a better place instead of dragging people down when they are going through a difficult time.

Lorie Goetz

Cumberland

Frostburg State University

Social work practice class student

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