Each month we get checks that have a specific item(s) written on the check, and we take the check to our local grocery store and receive that item(s) for free. The trick is you have to purchase just that item when using a WIC check, so sometimes checking out can take a long time. For example this week I had to "check out" six times doing the following:
WIC Check One: 1 Gallon Whole Milk
WIC Check Two: 1 Gallon 1% Milk
WIC Check Three: 1 16-oz Peanut Butter & 36-oz. Cereal
WIC Check Four: $6 in fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
WIC Check Five: $6 in fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables
Personal Cash: Tarter Sauce and Sour Cream
I was really nervous and embarrassed going up to the cashier. I had never used food stamps or WIC checks before, so I felt nervous not knowing if I had grabbed the correct items and I was embarrassed to be using government assistance to pay for my groceries. I was so glad to be blessed with a very sweet cashier. I had mistakenly only grabbed 1 18-oz. box of mini-wheats cereal when my check qualified me for two, so she ran back and got me an extra box. I hadn't reached the maximum allowable amount for my fruits and vegetables check, so she ran back and got me two extra bunches of bananas. She patiently scanned each item and applied the check to that item. She was great, and made me feel comfortable even though the situation was new and I was making mistakes.
On the flipside, the people behind me in line were less than thrilled that I was taking so long to check out. My cart wasn't that full, but it probably took me around 15 minutes to completely check out. They got increasingly impatient with me "checking out" half-a-dozen times, and made this clear through their eyes and stances. Every time I glanced back at them my face would blush a little bit knowing that I was the source of their irritation. However, now that I'm home I have been thanking God for blessing me with lessons on humility, love, and compassion.
By using WIC checks I am being blessed with learning humbleness. I don't recall every having watched someone use food stamps or WIC checks to pay for their groceries, but I think that if I ever saw a woman with two small children using government assistance I would probably have judged her for being irresponsible. Now I understand that there are a lot of reasons people find themselves in a position where they need government assistance and it is certainly not my job to judge that person. Greg and I made a choice to be in full-time ministry knowing full well we would always be poor, but knowing we would be rich with the joy that comes from serving Jesus. We have chosen to consider all things loss for the sake of Christ. (Philippians 3:7-8)
By using WIC checks I am being blessed with learning love and compassion. If I am ever behind someone using food stamps or WIC checks to pay for their groceries then I will wait patiently. I will smile encouragingly when they look back at me. If possible, if I spot them in the parking lot after checking out then I will give them one of my bags of groceries as a gift.
Using WIC checks has definitely been a blessing for our family! We are blessed with having money to purchase food, and we are blessed with lessons on humility, love, and compassion.