Thursday, April 4, 2013

D if for Dole




After government came to Newfoundland, fishermen who had a bad season due to the scarcity of fish, low market prices or the failure of their subsistence crops, could get some kind of government assistance to help their families survive.

Known as the dole, these payments were small (about six cents per family per day) and  provided about half of a person’s total nutritional requirements. Applicants did not receive money to buy what they wanted, instead had to accept items from a list. For example, a single adult on the dole could receive in one month: 25 pounds of flour, almost four pounds of fat back pork, two pounds of beans, two pounds of corn meal, one pound of split peas, three-quarters of a pound of cocoa, and one quart of molasses.

Between one quarter and one third of Newfoundland's 300,000 residents were on the dole for each year of the 1930s.

21 comments:

  1. That is a lot of people in trouble all at once.... I remember my mom telling me that the average wage back then was around $22 a month. Her dad was going place to place doing whatever he could find to keep body and soul alive for his family..they had a huge garden. She said people would come to the back door and beg for food. Hard times but those who survived it could survivie pretty much anything.

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    1. I can't imagine living in that kind of poverty- we take too much for granted these days

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  2. it's amazing how long and terrible people suffered without some kind of social safety nets

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    1. and how far things have come since then - but they never thought their grandkids would have computers in their pockets :)

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  3. That's a scary amount of people for the time.

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  4. Thta's amazing that this was around because I am unsure if others had this. I remember my dad talking about making .10 cents a day and hopping the rails in the '30's. very neat to read about the Dole

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    1. I just hope with the way the economy is going now history does not repeat itself

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  5. This is interesting Bay Girl, over here the dole is now basically the name for the money we pay out to the unemployed people who are seeking jobs to keep them alive while they try to find work. It has it's critics but it helps many and it's interesting to see where its roots came from as well.

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    1. social assistance/welfare is similar to the dole, but unfortunately most people on those tend to stay on them for much longer

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  6. I've heard the expression 'on the dole' used in British writings. Times sure were hard in the 30s. They are bad now....

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    1. they are bad now, but not nearly as bad as they could be

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  7. Dole?
    Do they get free pineapples?

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  8. Everything happens in cycles. Looks like many Americans are going to be on the government dole.

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    1. hopefully things take a turn again - for the better

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  9. Great slice of history, thanks for sharing. My grandmother's family had a huge garden during those years as well.

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    1. makes me want to start my own garden now

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  10. how times have changed. Then it was for survival and necessities, now so many people think it's their birth right or something!!

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    1. don't get me started - I had that conver with husband a few weeks ago went on for hours

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  11. I love your posts, so far. I've only been to Newfoundland once, many years ago. I always intended to get back, but never did. Your stories and photos are so interesting. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Kathy at Oak Lawn Images

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