Saturday, August 29, 2009

The politics of food stamps - a great reading list

Maria Niles of PopConsumer just posted her first 2009 Hunger Challenge blog entry (she's getting a big headstart!). Maria comes at the Challenge from her perspective as a political activist, so for a great reading list of blogs and articles related to hunger and food politics, see her posting on BlogHer: How To Use Hunger To Fuel Political Activism.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Some Food Stamp Facts

  • Nearly 34 million people in the U.S. received food stamps in April 2009, up about 20% over April 2008.
  • Approximately 2.5 million Californians (1 million households) receive food stamps each month. That is expected to increase to 2.8 million Californians (1.15 million households) over the next few months.
  • In California, a single person is eligible to receive food stamps, only if their yearly gross income is $14,079 or less. A 2-person household is eligible only if they make $18,941 or less. And a family of 4 can't have more than $28,665 in income. So in San Francisco, where the cost of living is particularly high, there are many people scraping by on extremely low incomes who still aren't eligible for food stamps.
  • Food stamps are officially known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the benefit is now distributed on swipe cards that can be used at the grocery store. Though in California, it's not exactly a "snap" to get food stamps. The state makes it so difficult to get the benefit, that it ranks last in the entire country in the number of eligible people who are actually receiving food stamps.
  • The government estimates that for every $1 of food stamp money spent in California, it generates $1.85 in business for the state's economy. Even more reason to make sure all those eligible receive the benefits.