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What one man's anger can teach us about the way we treat welfare recipients.

The possessions of welfare recipients are not our business. Period.

What one man's anger can teach us about the way we treat welfare recipients.

Here's a sweet Christmas story for you: Timmy* really loved his big sister. So one year, he decided he was going to give her a big surprise for Christmas.

*Not his real name, but this story is inspired by a real Tumblr thread.


Photo via marcisim/Pixabay.

He wanted to buy her a Nintendo DS Lite. Since their family was poor, Timmy knew he would have to work really hard and save money to get her the gift.


For months, Timmy worked hard to earn money. He was so determined to treat his sister that he pushed past his social anxiety to ask neighbors if there were any chores he could do for them.

After nine months of counting his earnings every day to track his progress, his hard work paid off.

He had earned enough to buy a DS Lite and a Pokémon game to go with it.


Awww. <3 GIF via "Pokemon."

But that's where the story takes a turn.

A few weeks after Christmas, a neighbor saw Timmy and his sister with the system outside their house. He approached them and yelled at them. Why?

He felt entitled to comment on their possessions because their family was on food stamps.

According to his sister — who told this story in a Tumblr thread — the neighbor's words stayed with Timmy for years. He started to withdraw from friends and avoided going outside for fear of running into the neighbors.

But a person's possessions only tell a small part of someone's story.

What does being poor look like? The truth is that there is no one answer.

Many people have assumptions about what living in poverty should look like, but it's important to remember that every situation is different. And there's an infinite number of possible paths to poverty. One possession does not cancel out financial hardship, whether it's a designer purse, refrigerator, or a Ph.D.

We're taught that we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. That rule still applies when we're talking about people living in poverty.

Imagine how much better our world would be if we took the energy spent judging people on social assistance programs and put it towards fixing the problems that led them there in the first place?

Read the screenshot of the entire Tumblr thread that inspired this piece below:

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

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Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Jeff Bridges photo by Gage Skidmore/Wikicommons

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