Facts About Poverty in America:
FACT: Almost 80% of people receiving SNAP (food stamps) are children, elderly or disabled.
FACT: The rise in SNAP participation has clearly tracked the rise in unemployment and poverty during the Great Recession.
FACT: Families receiving SNAP get about $3 per person per day on which to survive.
FACT: In 2011, 46.2 million people (15.0 percent) were in poverty in the U.S.*
FACT: In 2011, 50.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, 33.5 million adults and 16.7 million children.*
FACT: In 2011, households with children reported food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than those without children, 20.6 percent compared to 12.2 percent.*
*Stats provided by FeedingAmerica.org
Photo courtesy of, NoKidHungry.org
According to the two creators of the powerful documentary, “A Place at the Table” we had the problem of hunger in the United States all but eradicated after an exposé called, “Hunger in America” aired on CBS in 1968. The heartbreaking program, which showed Americans from coast to coast who were food-insecure and suffering, was so upsetting to people that they demanded their lawmakers do something about it and the food stamp solution was born. 10 years later, the hunger in America crisis was re-explored and had been practically wiped out!
Then came Reagan and his bogus “welfare queen” story–which is, was and will always be a lie–and all the progress we made to stop hunger in the U.S. started to quickly erode.
Then came the Tea Party.
TEApublicans are now actively stopping us from making sure EVERY American child goes to bed with a full belly and wakes up to a nutritious breakfast before school. No child should go hungry anywhere, but to sit back and watch it happen in the wealthiest nation on earth is nothing less than a horrific national tragedy.
But they will, thanks to TEApublicans callously cutting a huge chunk of funding from the SNAP (food stamps) program.
The most frustrating, head-bang-inducing part of all this is that SNAP was still a huge success! From The Washington Post:
Can I tell you a real success story? One we should all be proud of? Great, here goes: The program formerly known as food stamps has kept hunger from exploding along with the number of Americans living in poverty.
“That food insecurity hasn’t increased” since the financial meltdown in 2008, said David Beckmann, president of the Christian anti-hunger group Bread for the World, “is a tremendous testament to the power of SNAP,” the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that replaced food stamps.
But government spending has kept the bottom from falling out: “What I see every day is how much food stamp programs mean to people on the edge,” said Monsignor John Enzler, president of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Washington. “I tried to live on what food stamps give you for a week last year and I couldn’t do it, but it does make enough of a difference to allow people to stay in their apartments, and pay medical expenses and take care of their children.”
In a still sluggish economy — and compared to the alternative — isn’t that an outcome we should count as a win? You’d think so. Yet on Thursday, the Republican-controlled House passed a farm bill without the nutrition programs normally funded through that legislation.
Congratulations, GOP! Hungry kids in the richest nation on Earth: YOU built that! And just like Rep. Corrine Brown said, SHAME ON YOU.
Movie Trailer for “A Place at the Table”: