John Moon lives a frugal life. A pot of black beans boiling on the stove fog up his plastic-covered windows. His room is now empty, though his walls were once covered from floor to ceiling with his colorful collages and art creations. This 64-year-old son of a sharecropper says he sold his work to simplify his life and pursue spiritual matters. A folk artist and a writer, Moonleft school after sixth grade until he went back to get his General Education Diploma decades later. In addition to his visual art, he’s written and self-published several books, which are now housed at the University of Georgia’s Rare Books and Manuscript Library. Despite local recognition, he never made money from his art. He scrapes by on social security income, food stamps, and help from one of his sisters when he falls short on the bills. “I was raised up to live low-income so I’m okay,” he says. “God is taking care of me so I am in good hands.” Despite living below the poverty line, he says he feels like he has had a successful career.

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"Secretiveness is especially common among welfare recipients, almost all of whom have non-welfare income that they conceal from the welfare departments."

- Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low-Wage Work, by Kathryn Edin and Laura Lein

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