Americans Using Food Stamps More Than Ever Before

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Add this to your list of indicators that the recession isn't over yet: There are now more Americans on food stamps than at any time in history. According to a report in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 36 million Americans currently receive food stamps, and 50 percent of American children will have lived in households which receive government food assistance by time they turn 20.

We speak with Mark Rank, professor of social welfare at Washington University in St. Louis and one of the authors of the study. Also with us are Angel Seymore, a home health care aide from the Bronx who receives food stamps; and Joel Berg, executive director of New York City Coalition Against Hunger.


Joel Berg, Mark Rank and Angel Seymore

Comments [2]


I grew up in a neighborhood where practically everyone received food stamps. This was in the '80s where the "welfare queen" myth was being touted about. I never actually saw anyone get rich off getting food stamps and a monthly check. Often times the people who worked at the welfare office treated people as if they were somehow less than human and didn't deserve to be treated with basic respect. I hope this current crisis gives some of those people an ounce of humility. No one wants to go to the gov't for a hand-out. Oh, except for AIG, GM, Exxon,and Bank of America.

Nov. 04 2009 10:05 AM
mike howell

Something often overlooked in the food debate is practical cooking skills (or lack thereof). Our church discovered local Food Stamp users do not know how to prepare the food they receive. They will visit the pantries, throwing away staples like sugar, rice, flour and beans. Volunteers report church trash cans full of these items. They just don't know what to do with them.

My church and our partner churches have created classes to teach people how to use their food more effectively. We try to highlight food knowledge, skills (as opposed to fashionable recipes), health and safety, and improvisation.

Nov. 03 2009 11:17 AM

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