Addressing a woman's concerns that people waste food stamps on junk food, a doctor who grew up on food stamps debunked such claims.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in the United States is known to provide low-income families with funds to buy food every month. However, a woman on TikTok held some biases against the program that provides food stamps and wondered if her tax money was being wasted on the program.
Doctor Tommy Martin stepped in to respond to her concerns and debunked the false ideas people have about food stamps and where they come from. On his TikTok account @dr.tommymartin, he addressed the concern raised by a dietitian named Shannon—who goes by @fittoeat6580 on the platform. Shannon was worried that her tax dollars were being used to pay for the program and whether it was being misused by those who qualified for the scheme. Martin had the perfect answer to her questions since he relied on food stamps along with his family during his adolescent years.
"I can tell you what we spent it on," Martin said, responding to Shannon's concern about her tax dollars being wasted on the SNAP. "When I was a child, we did not make much money and we needed help, which we are so grateful for our government being able to give us food stamps." Martin also shared exactly how SNAP cards were used to buy food. He recalled helping his mom count every item they purchased at the grocery store, making sure they had enough food stamps left for the rest of the month.
"Not only that, but I remember walking around the store until the people who would always give us dirty looks about using food stamps left the grocery store so we wouldn't have to check out in front of them," he continued. "My mom would use the SNAP cards to buy necessities like proteins, carbs, vegetables and some snacks." He dismissed Shannon's claims that people are using food stamps to mainly purchase junk food and that "10% of SNAP card money" is used by people to buy food with high-fructose corn syrup.
She also claimed in her video that 70% of the SNAP card amount is spent on processed foods. Martin remarked that Shannon had no factual data to back up her claims and was possibly spreading falsified information and data which will further affect the underprivileged group of people who are dependent on SNAP cards. "You would be one of the people that made us walk around the grocery store for hours until no one in the grocery store would judge us for checking out with food stamps," he said.
"You are not alone and it's okay to need help," Martin said, addressing those who are currently relying on the program to feed their loved ones. "Do not let people like this make you feel bad for needing additional help and for using governmental services that could help you have the necessities that you need to live day to day." Many others on TikTok who have gone through phases like Martin when they required food stamps to buy their necessities had a lot to say in the comment section.
@matildathemagnificent wrote: "I still feel some shame about it, but a checker at a WinCo once told me 'Never be ashamed for doing what you need to take care of your kids' I cried!" @sssh_i_am_not_here quipped: "As a 5% earner I am so happy my taxes go to helping people because I know it is there if I need it." @wcolon47 commented: "I grew up on food stamps. I remember the mean looks of people. I’m a teacher now. I always have snacks for my students that need or want them."
@shawnahoffman8 shared: "Just a note. After college, I was working in the SNAP office as a caseworker. I literally worked for the state and was getting food stamps because I got paid $12.50/hr." @klepto.kitty added: "So many people have opinions on things they know nothing about. Thank you for speaking up! As a community, we must focus on finding effective ways to help support these impoverished families in need and not create more harmful stereotypes and stigmas against them."