Swelling Need for Food Stamps Reduces Stigma

The New York Times reports on the growth of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, a/k/a “food stamps”) as more families who may not have thought of themselves as “poor” struggle during the economic recession.  The piece highlights the remarkable diversity of food stamp recipients, ranging from the chronically impoverished to the working poor who are unable to cobble together enough paid hours to keep their pantries full.  Astoundingly, 1 in 4 Philadelphians benefit from food stamps, in addition to their wide distribution in more rural, poverty-stricken locals.

But the real story is the emergence of food stamps as a vital resource for those who were once economically secure, but whose incomes took a downward turn when the recession hit.  Families struggle now to maintain basic living necessities, letting alone the idea of keeping up with their old standards of living.  Those who once would have been embarrassed to receive government handouts now count themselves among those saved by the economic safety net.

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