The old gray lady takes on food stamps
On Sunday, the New York Times featured a wonderful frontpage article on a program very near and dear to our hearts here at UWKC: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known colloquially as food stamps.
We’ve written a good deal about food stamps on this blog, especially with regard to our new Bridge to Basics program (which incidentally has just wrapped a highly successful pilot run). But I thought it worth highlighting this article for several reasons, as it chronicles national trends we’ve been seeing in Seattle since the recession hit in 2007.
For data geeks like myself, it also has this sweet infographic, which is a handy tool not only for avoiding your Outlook inbox but also for comparing King County food stamp usage to other major metropolitan counties across the country.
Perhaps the most important stat to remember is this one: 90% of food stamp recipients have incomes below the federal poverty line. For a family of four, that’s only $22,050.
The families and children utilizing SNAP truly need the help, and thankfully the stigma attached to the program is succumbing to the harsh reality of the recession. It’s not a positive sign that people who were once financially self-sufficient are now on food stamps. However, it is important to remember that the program is working, and that without it our goal of alleviating hunger in King County would be nearly impossible to reach.