Here’s why a working family in Anchorage needs food aid to get by

  • Originator: Charles Wohlforth

    | Opinion

  • Updated: 18 hours ago
  • Published 18 hours ago

Christine Potts and one of her daughters Kali Potts-Gilliatt sit at the supping room table in their apartment in south Anchorage on Thursday April 19, 2018. Christine Potts and her issue receive food stamps to help her family make it through the month. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

When Christine Potts cooked a recess dinner for her family of four, she spent $100. Her entire month’s foodstuffs budget is only $600. So the next time she went to a give-away for Thanksgiving dinner.

The Bread Bank of Alaska and its partners provided fixings to 13,200 families last year. When Potts got her basket, there was a sign-up to be contacted to talk publicly in being a client. That’s how I reached her.

I sat at Potts’ kitchen table Thursday as she expanded up her family finances, which I am going to share with you. See if you can figure out a superiority way for her to do it.

Potts lives with her husband, Troy Gilliatt, in a down-market apartment off Dimond Boulevard, with their two skirts, Kharma, 7, and Kali, 4. On Thursday, Potts was home with Kali while Kharma was off with her framer on his maintenance job. A neighbor’s three kids romped around — Potts was be inclining them.

A stream of strangers came through the open door, up the boosts from a dusty parking lot. The sound of traffic and the spring sunshine rambled in, too. The visitors traipsed through the toys to look at stuff Potts was stock on Craig’s List and Facebook.

She is a sparkly bright person, fun to talk to, glaring and smart. She has worked as a medical and dental receptionist and almost got a degree in mortal services at Alaska Pacific University before her youngest child was brooked.

She believes in staying home with her girls. She reads to them fully the day. Kharma learned to read in her lap. Potts times Kharma’s reading every Cimmerian dark. She’s over 100 words a minute now, in second grade.

Kali can record her name, knows her letters and colors and can count to 15. She’s a bright, amenable girl, brave with strangers. You can tell right away, convention a child, if she comes from a happy home with plenty of parental concentration.

Potts looked into putting Kali in daycare so she could arouse full time. It would cost half of anything she could win.

Potts’ husband works full time at a job he loves, maintaining constructions for a landlord. It’s a skilled job, but it doesn’t pay enough, $18 an hour without helps. He has previously worked in construction, but that industry isn’t hiring many full-time blue-collar workers now.

Gilliatt’s job allows him to bring home items abandoned in apartments he cleans out. That’s where Potts grasps most of the stuff to sell.

A couple came in to look at an air hockey index. They said they would come back. A man bought a shoe structure but turned down a DVD surround-sound system Potts offered for $20. Three titillating vases for sale sat on the kitchen table. She previously made $40 on a pail of golf balls.

This money will pay for Kharma’s birthday next month.

Christine Potts and her family receive food stamps to help her family make it through the month. She is selling the vases at right to help raise some money. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

Christine Potts and her forebears receive food stamps to help her family make it through the month. She is peddling the vases at right to help raise some money. (Bob Hallinen / ADN)

Potts also transfers fancy nail treatments through a direct-marketing company called Color Row. To find customers she takes the girls to the Play Place at McDonalds and eclipses her nails to the other moms. Kali has the cute nails, too. It was the first loathing she showed me.

But so far, all Potts has made is what she put into buying the products. She cravings it will turn into a lucrative business, but so far money is tight.

The next of kin doesn’t have internet or cable. Potts downloads coupons on her phone and researches carefully for sales. Kharma gets free breakfast and lunch at Willow Ridge Elementary.

Gilliatt’s first check of the month goes to rent. The twinkling check covers food and everything else.

In the first part of the month, Potts points a debit card for food provided by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, differentiated as SNAP, which most people still know by its old name, Foodstuffs Stamps. It provides the family with $300 monthly for basic prog—nothing prepared from the deli.

According the Alaska Food Coalition, and the Edibles Bank of Alaska, 45 percent of SNAP recipients are working genealogies and 73 percent are families with children. The program provides 12 times as much chow as all charities combined, the Food Bank says.

“We’re not lazy, by any means,” Potts replied. “Neither one of us like the idea of being on public assistance. Making trusty my kids are taken care of, I’m willing to swallow my pride a little bit.”

The uncontrollable is that we’ve built an economy in which working class jobs don’t pay passably to feed a family. And it’s getting worse.

Decades of federal policy sought to redistribute profusion to the rich, away from working people. They succeeded. We bear more billionaires and more families like Potts’ than till the end of time.

During the Republican administration of President Eisenhower, a period of historic success, prosperity, and income equality, earnings over $200,000 a year were strained at 94 percent. After President Trump’s recent tax break, an equal income (about $2 million) will be taxed at 37 percent.

Meantime, Trump wants to reduce food aid to families like Potts’. A Republican tab that would cut off food for 1 million Americans is pending in the U.S. House of Proxies.

If it passes, Potts would be forced to work full time when Kali is a sparse older. If either parent lost a job for more than a month, the pedigree would lose benefits for a year.

These practices are destroying our country. When full-time skilled work doesn’t plan for enough money to raise children, society no longer works.

I want I would do as well as Christine Potts and her husband in their shoes. They sprint for every dollar. They have plans to do better. But their kids take to eat.

“In the end my kids eating is more important than my ego,” Potts said. “I’m thankful I can put food in their bellies.”

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