Last week’s Food Stamps Challenge: Some final thoughts

November 1, 2010 § 1 Comment

I first thought about naming this post: “Over, but not forgotten.”

It’s true for me, fortunately.  I went grocery shopping this weekend with an expanded budget, and didn’t forget my family’s experience living on $4.50 per person per day last week.  I began to understand the difficult choices SNAP recipients make at the grocery store.  I say “began to understand” because right now, I don’t live with ongoing anxiety accompanying food insecurity.

There are ways to make healthy, nutritious choices using SNAP benefits.  The choices are hard when you have to purchase something SNAP benefits don’t cover, like diapers.  They’re hard when you work two low-wage jobs and don’t have the time or physical energy to hit three grocery stores to maximize your benefits, or prepare home-cooked meals from scratch.

“Over but not forgotten” wouldn’t have worked on any level because the food stamp challenge isn’t over for millions of people.  Not by a long shot.

Things didn’t just slow down in 2007 – they broke down.  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, specifically designed to help people at risk of hunger get through tough economic times, caught 3.6 million Texans and more than 40 million Americans.  Now, the program itself is at risk.

Our country’s premier nutrition safety net must be protected and not forgotten.

On the other hand, we should forget some things, like Newt Gingrich’s ludicrous statement about a political party of food stamps.  He clearly doesn’t understand SNAP’s economic multiplier effect – every $5 of SNAP benefits spent generates more than $9 for the economy and can figure into those paychecks!  Cynicism is a term that doesn’t apply to SNAP.

These terms do:

Anxiety. Choices. Difficult.Security. Decisions. Dignity.

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§ One Response to Last week’s Food Stamps Challenge: Some final thoughts

  • Kayla says:

    Hearing about your family’s experience with the Food Stamp Challenge has been eye-opening for me.
    I’m hoping to write about the proposed SNAP cuts as part of my journalism studies at UT and perhaps take the challenge myself!

    How big of a difference do you think that extra $0.80 per person/day made?

    Do you think Republican victories in yesterday’s elections put SNAP benefits at risk?

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