ColorLines Investigation: Selling Food Stamps for Kid’s Shoes

By Daisy Hernandez Feb 17, 2010

Eva has worked low-wage jobs in Hartford, Conn., since she was 16, and she managed over the years to support herself and her two daughters. But with the worst job crisis in a generation, even those low-wage jobs Eva once relied on have now vanished. To make matters worse Connecticut has some of the shortest time limits on welfare. Last March, Eva opened her last welfare check. All that’s left now is her food stamps, which she’s forced to sell to pay for shampoo, detergent, even shoes for her daughter. With funding from The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, ColorLines reporter Seth Wessler spent several months with Eva and her family, following the Puerto Rican mom as she looked for work, took care of her children and sick mother and tried to put food on the table every night. He also spoke with nine other women in Hartford and with service providers, all of whom confirm that these days—between the time limits on welfare and the recession—women, disproportionately women of color, have no choice but to sell their food stamps. About six million people receiving food stamps report that they have no other income, according to an analysis of government data by The New York Times. In Hartford, half of those receiving food stamps are Latinos and a third are Black. This is the story of one mother and her struggle to make it through not just this recession but also the long-lasting consequences of welfare reform. To read the full story at, click here.