October 17, 2008 |
In some rare good news for poor and working-poor Pennsylvanians, the food-stamp program is improving, with fewer bureaucratic encumbrances and slightly higher benefits. The changes were highlighted with fanfare and relief yesterday at a food-stamp forum sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. Mayor Nutter opened the proceedings, saying, "All Philadelphians deserve access to affordable healthy food. The thought that some people don't have [such] access may strike some people in the city as unusual.
November 28, 2009 |
Critical of how some states administer food stamps for the hungriest Americans, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has ranked state performance, with Pennsylvania listed among the best and New Jersey among the worst. USDA officials indicated last week that certain states "have not served . . . taxpayers well," according to a letter from the agency to state food-stamp administrators that was first reported on by the Associated Press. The essential criticism is that although many people are eligible for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, they do not receive them, in part because of bureaucratic processing difficulties.
January 17, 2012 |
Oh, the irony of it all. On Monday, I tried to get someone in Harrisburg to explain why, in the name of all that's fair and just, low-income Pennsylvanians who have managed to build up modest savings are slated to have their food stamps - now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - cut off. When I called the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, the office was closed - for the Martin Luther King holiday. Say what? It seems to me that if an agency is poised to put in place a policy that brings down the poor, it sure doesn't deserve to take a day off in recognition of a man who worked his entire life to lift them up. As of May 1, Pennsylvanians under 60 with more than $2,000 will no longer be eligible for food stamps.
September 22, 2011 |
Hard times are compelling 46 million Americans to use food stamps, a number up an astonishing 70 percent from four years ago. Now totaling about $65 billion a year, the recession-swelled food stamp program is drawing attention from some conservatives in Congress who wonder whether such spending should be corralled. Part of the renewed conversation involves questions over the list of items that food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), can and cannot be used to buy. Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, and tobacco are forbidden.
March 29, 2013 |
At a time when people are criticized for accruing government benefits, the federal programs designed to feed the hungry are in fact underused. That's one of the findings of the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger's new report, "State of Hunger: Pennsylvania 2013. " Though participation in the food-stamp program (now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is soaring, there are still nearly a half-million Pennsylvanians eligible for SNAP who do not use the program, the report said.
May 2, 2012 |
I've learned plenty of lessons while taking the weeklong Food Stamp Challenge. Talk about a roller-coaster. A weekly food budget of only $35 had my feelings running the gamut, from hunger to resentment, pressure to determination, and finally just plain ole orneriness. But no matter how hollow and angry I got, the one permanent takeaway I'll have is a profound sense of gratitude. Grateful that I'm able to eat whatever I want. Grateful that I can afford fresh fruits and vegetables.
January 5, 2012 |
In hard times, it seems unthinkable that people would miss out on millions of dollars to which they're entitled. But that's precisely what's been happening with food stamps in Philadelphia. An estimated 180,000 city residents who were eligible for food stamps in 2010 never enrolled in the program, known as the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, according to new calculations by the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. That's up from 150,000 in 2008, according to coalition numbers, the latest available.
August 31, 2012 |
The tomato defied reason. Implausibly large and cartoonishly red, it had grown to stunning maturity in Hunting Park, of all places, risen out of hard urban dirt into the car-polluted sunshine. "Beautiful," declared Steveanna Wynn, the woman whose strong will cut this farm into the city where she's been feeding the hungry for decades. In a profession where people easily burn out, Wynn, 65, burns on, steady and bright. She persists even now, the hardest time in her memory.
October 24, 2012 |
Neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney has said very much during the presidential campaign about helping the poor. There may be a good reason for that: Elections are won by appealing to the middle class, not the impoverished. "Most Americans see themselves as middle class, and that's where the votes are," said Rogers Smith, a University of Pennsylvania political science professor. "Also, the poor don't vote in high numbers. That's why neither candidate is running on what he can do for the poor.
April 22, 2010 |
HOW WELL can a family of four eat on just $68.88 a week? For more than 38 million Americans, it's more than a matter of conjecture. With job growth and the economy still only sputtering along, a record number of Americans have turned to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the formal name for the federal food stamp program. At the end of last year, roughly 1 in 8 Americans received food stamps, the highest rate ever, according to Lisa Pino, the program's deputy administrator.