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Food Stamps Save America from Hunger

Food Stamps Save America from Hunger

For decades, the federal Food Stamp program has provided funds to millions of the hungriest Americans to supplement their food purchases. A few years ago, the paper Food Stamps were replaced by an EBT card that recipients can swipe at the food store. This lifted the veil of shame that many felt as they had to hand the paper coupons to a cashier and it greatly reduced fraud and trafficking. The Department of Agriculture which runs the program also changed the name to SNAP, The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

SNAP is not a welfare program. It is a wage supplement for people in our low wage economy and a nutritional supplement as well. Almost all the people who receive it are children, families and seniors. The program was designed to work with the economic cycle. When the economy, employment and wages go down, the number of recipients goes up. When the economy recovers and unemployment recedes, the number of people on the program goes down. It has always worked that way and is working very well now.

In 2007 before the Great Recession hit, there were slightly more than 27 million people on SNAP. As the economy worsened and more people were unemployed for longer periods of time the SNAP rolls grew to more than 46 million people as of this year. Without SNAP we would have massive hunger in our country. The New York Times reported in 2010 that SNAP was the only income for 6 million people. There are countless stories of people who were never hungry or out of work before but who are now and have been for a year or more. Where would these people be without SNAP?

There are members of Congress who want to cut or cap or block grant SNAP. Any of these moves would destroy the integrity of the program and prevent it from responding to the next fiscal or other crisis. Never in the history of the program has it been capped or block granted. Every president, both Democrats and Republicans have supported the program.

If you want to get involved:

-Let your senators and congress members know the work you are doing with hungry people and tell them to oppose cuts to the program.

- Collect stories of people who are on SNAP and who feel strongly about the program. Present them to your local media and ask the media outlets to feature the positive force that the program is including personal stories from recipients.

- When people come to you for food, connect them to local organizations that can sign them up for SNAP or give them the number of the National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3-HUNGRY.

-There is a most effective program operating in several states called the Benefit Bank that signs people up for a whole range of federal benefits including SNAP.

Politicians will try to tell you that we cannot afford SNAP and many other programs that help poor and middle class folks. The truth is that we cannot afford not to fund them unless we want severe hunger in the streets and homes of our country.

Related Stories:

Food Stamp Use Rises As Employers Refuse To Pay Living Wages

Obama as a Food Stamp President

Food Costs Go Up, Food Stamp Funding to Go Down

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115 comments

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5:53AM PST on Jan 17, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

8:02PM PST on Jan 16, 2013

Isn't this the richest country in the world?

4:27AM PST on Dec 23, 2012

i work in a food pantry 2 days a week-we stock on tues. and give out on thurs. grown from a few years ago from 30 to as high as 120--from 8 am to 2pm--many have had food stamps lowered and need all the help they can--we sit out several times a year to ask for donations to be able to buy food for the pantry--wal-mart in our small town has been a blessing to allow us to do this--many do not know how very hard it is to get food to bring in--we do give some choices --mostly on can goods as not everyone can eat the same foods--a church here lets us use 3 rooms to keep this going---i'm 74 and love to hand the food out and get to know, share things and pray for all--should not be a problem in a country as blessed as we have been--no need for children to go to bed hungry-their family watching this happen--pray for them and for a change in this country

4:26AM PST on Dec 23, 2012

i work in a food pantry 2 days a week-we stock on tues. and give out on thurs. grown from a few years ago from 30 to as high as 120--from 8 am to 2pm--many have had food stamps lowered and need all the help they can--we sit out several times a year to ask for donations to be able to buy food for the pantry--wal-mart in our small town has been a blessing to allow us to do this--many do not know how very hard it is to get food to bring in--we do give some choices --mostly on can goods as not everyone can eat the same foods--a church here lets us use 3 rooms to keep this going---i'm 74 and love to hand the food out and get to know, share things and pray for all--should not be a problem in a country as blessed as we have been--no need for children to go to bed hungry-their family watching this happen--pray for them and for a change in this country

11:38PM PDT on Aug 25, 2012

It is ridiculous to claim that junk food is cheaper than real food. If you look at the foods with WIC approved labels you'll find that a bag of dried white beans is $1.19, rice is $1.49, $2 for a canister of 5 minute oatmeal that will last the month, plus onions, carrots, apples, for about $10 at Aldi's. You have enough to make healthy meals for a week, presuming you have some leftover sugar, salt, pepper, and oil from previous shopping trips. Not the indulgent kind of shopping some of us are used to, but it's not far off from the kind of subsistence diet that many would have been grateful for during the Great Depression. This is, after all, the Great Recession.

3:40AM PDT on Jul 9, 2012

I am disable on SSI and get food stamps. it went from $150.00, to $113.00 then to $100.00. I don't know how low they are go to go next month. I go to the food pantries and walk out with one can of green beans because I have food allergies and can't eat most of their food. Now the disabled and Elderly have to beg for food, and children's lunches were cancelled also. I think our Governor and Senators in PA are trying to kill us.

8:01PM PDT on Jul 7, 2012

Elizabeth M. you have a great idea,and I and some others agree,put peoplke pictures on there food stamp cards.

1:43PM PDT on Mar 31, 2012

THe critics of this program have this ludicrous assumption that people get get food stamps are getting rich off of their backs. The amount of food stamps given is paltry. Even one person would have a hard time living on 30 a month. all you can afford to do is buy junk food, Its cheaper than REAL food.

8:54AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

This is such an important project and should not be cut, There are always some who abuse, unfortunately. Putting a person's picture on the card I think would help do away with the abuse.
So many people are now struggling trying to keep food on the table, which should not be happening in North America. I hope the President and his party learned from the disasterous fall out of the Mortgage Co's and Wall Street, that regulations should be in place to not let this happen again! These and other happenings started the collapse of the economy which affected everyone, except of course the rich (who don't want to share anything).

6:56AM PDT on Mar 28, 2012

The eligibility details vary at the state and, sometimes, local level. People with too high of a mortgage (even if going into foreclosure) also might be deemed ineligible until they lost their home. These days too many in Congress are irresponsible and do not represent the needs of their constituents compared to in the past--otherwise such travesties proposed by those purporting to be Christians could not occur.

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