Unfortunately, hyperbole over Food Stamps fraud clouds the importance the program provides to many people in need of food. Moreover, the rhetoric overlooks its effectiveness and efficiency rate among safety net programs.
In the last few months, through twitter, renowned economists such as Richard Florida or Moises Naim pointed out in their tweets the importance of Food Stamps in the economy, quoting publications such as The Wall Street Journal and think tank reports. Naim, selected by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the most influential Latino intellectuals,retweeted Betsey Stevenson regarding a USDA Report, released in April, with the title Alleviating Poverty in the United States: The Critical Role of SNAP Benefits Program by Laura Tiehen, Dean Jolliffe, and Craig Gundersen.
The report highlights the effect of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on poverty in the first decade of the century by adding program benefits to income and calculating how SNAP benefits affected the prevalence, depth, and severity of poverty. As a conclusion, the document states:
SNAP benefits had a particularly strong effect on child poverty, reducing its depth by an average of 15.5 percent and its severity by an average of 21.3 percent from 2000 to 2009. SNAP’s antipoverty effect peaked in 2009, when benefit increases were authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Our analysis shows that SNAP significantly improves the welfare of low-income households.
One program that CAFB has as part of the Department of Public Policy and Community Outreach, is SNAP Outreach. We distribute information in many of our partner agencies, mobile food pantries, community centers and related fairs, within the Washington DC metropolitan area, about SNAP, eligibility, documents required and general information, in coordination with the different social services county offices. For more information, contact the Capital Area Food Bank.