Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Food Stamps: The Full Picture

The Daily News recently published an editorial looking into the facts about food stamps and how it impacts Philadelphia. Right now Congress is considering the reauthorization of the Farm Bill, which includes fund for the food stamp, or SNAP, program. The House Agricultural Committee passed a bill out of Committee that cuts $16 billion from the program. If that bill becomes law 2 to 3 million people would lose their food assistance and 280 million children would no longer qualify for free school lunches. In the United States 1 out of every 7 and in Philadelphia 1 out of every 4 people are struggling with hunger.

While Congress is looking at cutting a program that ensures children and families have food on the table below are some facts about the program and the people who use it to survive:
Cutting food stamps not only impacts the people on the program, but it will remove billions of dollars from local and state economies. People who use food stamps do so in their communities bringing business to local corner and grocery shops. In Philadelphia, $61 million in food stamps per month spent by recipients adds $106 million to the local economy.

The participation levels in the food stamps program has increased over the last few years.  The program was built in a way that it could grow when the economy was weak. Participation levels are expected to drop as the economy improves, meaning the program will shrink with the need. Congress making substantial cuts will only increase the level of food insecurity meaning more children and families will be going hungry.

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