The Thanksgiving feast left most of us stuffed. For one in four American kids, though, just getting food on the table every day is enough of a struggle that the government is stepping in to help.
The New York Times ran an article this weekend looking at food stamp use. They found food stamps currently feeding one in four kids, and one in eight Americans overall. This is just a few weeks after a different report showed that half of America’s kids will rely on food stamps at some point during their childhoods.
Since the recession began, families have been falling back on food stamps in ever greater numbers. Right now, the program is adding about 20,000 people a day to its rolls.
Even today, food stamps are only going to about two thirds of those who are eligible for the program.
Layoffs and spiralling housing prices have made food stamps commonplace in once affluent suburbs. Areas hit by the foreclosure crisis and factory closures have seen the biggest spike in demand.
With so many families relying on the aid, the social stigma attached to accepting it is falling away. I remember the horrors of being a “free lunch kid” in elementary school. For the sake of all the school kids getting federal food aid, I’m glad to hear it’s become more socially acceptable. In the past, some families have gone hungry rather than take the help.
Has your family needed food stamps this year? Have you noticed them being used in your supermarket? What do you think can be done about the surge in need?
Photo: Clementine Gallot