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What Do Poor People In The USA Eat?

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Food bought with food stamps.

This looked like stocking up on food to last the entire month as we received food stamp payments on the 3rd of every month. Items included:

  • Large bags of off-brand cereals
  • Multiple 12 packs of Ramen chicken and beef soup (not the kind in the cup)
  • Eggs
  • One gallon of milk
  • Tubs of margarine (I didn’t know most people used real butter until age 13)
  • 3–4 loafs of white bread
  • American cheese
  • Instant coffee
  • Frozen fries
  • Lots of spaghetti and macaroni
  • Tomato sauce (not Ragu, but pure tomato sauce)
  • Cheap meats to be frozen throughout the month
  • Potatoes and onions
  • Adobo
  • Sugar and flour (once every 2–3 months)
  • Off-brand shortening
  • Vegetable oil (maybe once every 3 months)
  • Very rarely fresh fruit or vegetables

Food brought from cycling the city’s food pantries.

This food was always different and interesting. Here were some of the items we received:

  • A whole pineapple (once)
  • Apples and oranges.
  • Juicy Juice.
  • Kool-Aid and others drink mixes.
  • Boxed meals (Mac ’n Cheese, rice, pasta)
  • Condescend and dried milk
  • So many bags of dehydrated mashed potatoes
  • Cake mixes (usually sans the material to make the cake)
  • Donated bread and bakery goods (praise those)
  • Random canned goods (green beans, beans, fruits, soups)
  • Dehydrated stuffing mix

Basically, imagine what you’d send a kid to school with for a food drive. That’s where at food goes. My family didn’t go to food pantries a lot unless we were on the verge of starving.

Lots of free school breakfasts and lunches.

A lot of people complain about school meals, but I remember always being hungrier in the summer.

  • Those warm and moist donuts and muffins with the intelligible taste
  • Cereals
  • Persevered fruits (canned pears, peaches, and fruit cocktails)
  • Fish sticks
  • Cheap hot dogs, hamburgers
  • Something that was supposed to resemble BBQ ribs
  • Meatball subs
  • Bread sticks with red sauce
  • Alternating cheap pizza and popcorn chicken on Fridays
  • Apples and oranges
  • Frozen fruits in small plastic containers
  • Frozen apple, orange, and grape juice in small plastic containers
  • Chocolate, strawberry, or plain 1% milk

Food bought from corner stores.

Usually, by run immigrants, corner stores are the cornerstone of the poor sections of my city.

  • Hot Fries
  • Now & Laters
  • Hot Tamales (candy)
  • Off-brand sodas
  • Calypso
  • Double-bubble gum
  • Cotton candy or chocolate-swirl ice cream in small plastic cups
  • Various small brand chips
  • Beef patties (with or without American cheese)
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