Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why We Shouldn't Cut Food Stamps to Pay for School Lunch

The food stamp program is officially called SNAP—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In March 2009 the average monthly SNAP benefit per recipient was $115. After the stimulus money began to flow in April 2009, it rose to between $133 and $134 (PDF). This may sound paltry, but for households on the poverty line, it's vital. A food secure household spends $200 a month on food for each household member. A food insecure household spends on average $55 less than that per person per month. In helping to bridge that gap, the food stamp boost made an immense difference. And it was an example of stimulus funding that was universally acclaimed—it led directly to higher productivity, jobs, and community multiplier effects. (Every dollar spent on food stamps leads to $1.73 in economic growth, compared to, say, $0.32 for making the Bush-era income tax cuts permanent.) 
Today, the poorest Americans are being threatened with a one-two punch. First, congress has failed to extend unemployment benefits for the 99ers—those who have run out of the 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, meaning that there are going to be many more families depending on food stamps in the future. Yet it is precisely these entitlements that the Senate has put on the block. Although many groups and large parts of the food industry think it's worth pushing for the Child Nutrition Bill this way, a few groups, such as the Food Research and Action Center, think it's short-sighted to let congress get away with robbing families' entitlements to feed their children. FRAC is right. 

Read the full posting on the website of The Atlantic

The Franklin Food Pantry website is

Franklin, MA

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