Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Real stories from those who use SNAP (food stamps)

With the political season in full swing, there has been much talk of food stamps (which, of course, is a misnomer, as the program is now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) - virtually all of it disparaging and negative.

I'm glad to see some recent stories in the media with real people telling their own stories about why they need this assistance.

In an NPR story titled Food Stamp Families to Critics:  Walk in Our Shoes, an Army veteran who was laid off from her teaching job said, "Food stamps are essential, especially with the economy in the shape it's in.  I pay taxes. I don't steal anything from the government. I paid my dues to society; I'm a veteran. You took something from me by taking away my job. I wouldn't need food stamps if you hadn't taken my job."

And in a Reuter's story titled, "Gingrich's tough talk on food stamps may backfire," a blonde, blue-eyed mother of grown children named Susie said, "I am a Republican and a conservative ... and I had to swallow my pride today and come in and apply for benefits for the first time because I'm losing weight."  She said she has suffered a triple whammy since the recession began in 2007 - losing her house, business and marriage.  Susie said the only work she has been able to find was as a part-time cashier at a discount store.

And has recently released information identifying much of the bad information being bandied about regarding SNAP, including that more people were added to the SNAP roles during President Bush term than during President Obama's. also provided the following information about SNAP recipients, which is quite different than how some of the candidates are portraying recipients:

The most recent Department of Agriculture report on the general characteristics of the SNAP program’s beneficiaries says that in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2010:
  • 47 percent of beneficiaries were children under age 18.
  • 8 percent were age 60 or older.
  • 41 percent lived in a household with earnings from a job — the so-called “working poor.”
  • The average household received a monthly benefit of $287.
  • 36 percent were white (non-Hispanic), 22 percent were African American (non-Hispanic) and 10 percent were Hispanic

1 comment:

  1. An article on Forbes website that gives you some real numbers about who uses SNAP: