Food Banks, Families & Fiscal Assistance: The Faces of America's Hungry

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A client of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger food pantry fills up a box with food on July 24, 2013 in New York City. The food pantry assists thousands of qualifying New York residents. (Spencer Platt/Getty)

Tax cuts get debated in America, so do debt limits, but the largest cut for the food stamp program in its nearly 50-year history happens without a whimper or a protest.

On November 1 SNAP allocations under President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill ended, trimming food stamp allocations by as much as $36 a month for a family of four. The number of Americans enrolled in food stamps has soared by 70 percent since the economic crisis began in 2008, leaving many to wonder what impact this will have on the 47 million Americans who use food stamps—many of them children.

Though the market rebounded long ago and job numbers are up, for many low income Americans not much has changed since the recession.

Joining The Takeaway is Rafaela Rivera, a 35-year-old home health aid who recently lost her job and experienced cuts to her food stamps on November 1. Rivera has two children and takes care of her disabled husband who is unable to work.

Christopher Bean, the director of Part of the Solution food pantry in the Bronx, New York, explains what impact this will have on his local organization.


Christopher Bean and Rafaela Rivera


T.J. Raphael

Comments [8]


This is such a big problem. After volunteering at a food bank, and seeing the unending problems - I feel defeated. All sides have correct observations to a point. Once the farm is left behind for all the possibilities and promise of city-life much knowledge about providing supplemental food from seeds and earth, is lost.

If any of the people who believe food stamps should be cut,could spend the last two days of the month with a family experiencing poverty, they'd change their minds. If you had to see a child (your child) going to bed with pain in their stomach . . . maybe you'd feel compassion. People often need help managing their money, prioritizing spending. Tha's a given, but how many middle-class people, and those considered wealthy are running credit card balances that they can't pay off immediately?

Nov. 18 2013 01:20 PM

I agree with Phil. When I heard the woman's comment on buying $7 a box cereal my first thought was that there are some other issues here.

Nov. 12 2013 11:48 PM
Kim from Alaska

Seriously, going off food stamps limited your choice of cereals? Food stamps are a good thing for people who do need the extra assistance, but this report did not leave me with the impression that the gal being interviewed is truly food impoverished.

Nov. 12 2013 10:17 PM
Andrew from Connecticut

Agreed, absurdly biased coverage.

This isn't a cut at all (let alone a large cut). The increase was *explicitly* temporary in nature, related to the recession and related to the *2009 stimulus* bill introduced in January 2009. The recession *ended* in June 2009 according to those who study the facts:

Nov. 12 2013 04:06 PM

Where is this woman buying 7$ a box cereal? I can buy organic whole grain cereals for half that at Whole Foods. Seems like her shopping choices need some serious review.

Nov. 12 2013 03:47 PM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

you can take away people's shelters, but watch out if you start leaving them roaming around the streets hungry

Nov. 12 2013 02:15 PM
Joe from Seattle, WA

This coverage was so absurdly biased.

The stimulus was always supposed to be temporary. This isn't a cut -- it's the end of the stimulus.

Perhaps your guests should have prepared for the end of the stimulus funds.

And if you can't afford to feed your children, don't have children!

Nov. 12 2013 12:48 PM
Jessica Blatt from Brooklyn

I find it curious that your show equates being on food stamps with "food insecurity," Food stamps represent quite the opposite. Food stamps represent food security, and a commitment to an adequately funded food stamp program is a commitment to food security for all.

Nov. 12 2013 09:26 AM

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