The concept of "welfare food" comes up in chapter 6 when Momma asks Byron to run to the grocery store to pick up a few items for her as she cooks dinner. When Byron asks for the money to pay for it, Momma tells him to just "sign for it." Byron, true to character, questions how he can get out of the store without paying anything, and Momma tells him that his father made arrangements to pay for all the groceries each week once he gets paid.
Byron becomes quite upset. He accuses Momma of signing them up for "welfare food" instead of the arrangement she's explained and asks her whether she's going start serving them "welfare food" at home. He declares that this is embarrassing and that it makes them all look like "peons."
Momma doesn't miss a beat. She sternly tells Byron,
Listen here, Mr. High and Mighty, since you just got to know, food is food. You’ve eaten welfare food in this house before and if need be you’ll eat it again. Don’t come playin’ that nonsense with me. I already told you, this is not welfare food. You’ve got about five seconds to have that door hit you in the back.
Momma realizes, of course, that being able to feed her family is the goal. She is not so concerned about the means of obtaining that food. She has used welfare to be able to provide for her family before, and she will do it again, if she needs to do so. She realizes that welfare helps people get back on their feet sometimes, and that there is no shame in obtaining a little help from time to time in order to ensure the health of her family.