Day 82: Food Stamps

Up Ahead: Food Fight

DAY 82 ACTION: Learn about the history of food stamps, and try to live on food assistance for one day.

Credit: Getty Images. People no longer receive “food stamps” like these; more often, benefits are provided on debit cards.

In 2015, 42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households.

Every 5 years, Congress passes a Farm Bill to fund crop insurance, farm subsidies, conservation, and food assistance. Food assistance is the largest expense; the 2014 Farm Bill allocated $756 billion over 10 years to this category.

Food stamps began as a New Deal idea; for 4 years in the Depression, food stamps fed 20 million Americans. 30 years later, President Kennedy revived the concept as a pilot program. In 1964, President Johnson signed the first permanent food stamp program into law.

In 2008, Congress changed the name to SNAP and expanded the program to meet the needs of a record number of people seeking benefits – 29 million people a month. But in 2014, the House forced a cut of $8 billion from SNAP. And the GOP is gearing up to make deeper cuts this round. 

Here’s what the average American receives in monthly food assistance under SNAP. Look up your state; for instance, in Indiana, that amount is $124.66. Now divide that number by 30. In Indiana, that works out to a daily food budget of $4.15. Today, only spend the daily allowance for a food stamp recipient in your state.

Today’s Action: Learn about the SNAP and try to live on a food stamp budget for one day.


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