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"Welfare Workers on Hope Street Job Ask Two Packages of Tobacco" article from the Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette newspaper
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The Great Depression caused many kinds of disruptions and changes in people's lives. It forced individuals to alter both their patterns of consumption and their ideas about self-reliance. Town governments were also required to come up with novel solutions to unprecedented social problems. This report from a Greenfield, Massachusetts, Selectmen's meeting illustrates a few of them. Not then considered the health risk that it is known to be today, in 1933 when this report was written, tobacco was nearly as important as food for many people. The unemployed Greenfield men who petitioned the Board of Selectmen were working on a sewer-pipe installation in exchange for room and board. They are requesting a tobacco ration because, with the coming of winter, they are no longer able to "recycle" the cigarette buts that they find on the ground. The snow which covers the streets has either obscured or dissolved the discarded cigarettes. A spokesman for the workers argues that had the men been in the county jail or the town infirmary, they would have received a tobacco ration. But the Board has no funds available to grant their request. During the same meeting the Board is asked to allow the unemployed evening use of a local school hall. This request is granted.
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