I haven't gotten food stamps before so I read the signs carefully. Following the directions, I filled out the paperwork, took a number, and waited my turn. It took about a half an hour to get around to me. They looked over the paperwork, asked for some ID, etc., and then said I would have to come back for An Appointment (that's how they said it -- Capitalized). The soonest they could give me was June 14. This was on Tuesday, May 30th. Whoah, I thought. "Any way I can get an appointment sooner?" I asked. Friends had given me the impression the process could be quicker. "Maybe if you go to another office," they said. So I left.
As it turned out, the next DHS office that was convenient to visit that day was on SE 122nd, just North of Market. That was a fun bike ride on that sunny day with a good friend. We enjoyed a fabulous view of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens at the same time from a bridge over 205 in Outer NE.
The 122nd office was a different scene. Nicer building -- brick with lots of trees. Shorter wait -- only 15 minutes. And a much more reasonable turn-around for An Appointment -- 2 days instead of 16. I went back that Thursday and an hour later had a working Oregon Trail card with a decent amount of cash on it. Yay! I used that plastic card to direct tax money to a local Co-op and got some good healthy food in bulk.
I'm posting this story here because I found the wildly divergent Appointment times interesting, especially considering the neighborhoods, which are marked partly by racial differences, though both have their share of lower-income people, class-wise. And if you're needing Food Stamps soon, I'd suggest the 122nd office. Someone else told me the 39th & Powell DHS office also had a two-week wait when she went, and that they didn't make it easy for her to have her kids there. I read a great children's book at the 122nd office -- "The Silver Pony", I think it was called. Find it if you go there.
Anyway, I thought indymedia readers would be interested in this experience and might have other things to add. Thanks for reading.