The New York Times recently reported about how food stamp programs are improving the lives of those living in poverty in its article entitled, “Food Stamp Program Helping Reduce Poverty.” The Agricultural Department did a study on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and found that the program had reduced the poverty rate by 8 percent in 2009. The study points out that the program’s efforts usually go unnoticed and are underappreciated.
Some key points in the article include:
- Food stamp programs serve 46 million people – one of the largest antipoverty efforts
- The government does not count the extra income this program provides in its poverty measure
- 45 percent increase in program enrollment during the recession (2009-2012)
- Republicans argue that food stamp programs create an entitlement society
The number of people enrolled in SNAP give an idea of how many Americans are facing poverty challenges. The study analyzed nine years of data and concluded that the average poor person’s income increased by 6 percent over the years, depicting an improvement in the conditions while not a complete solution.
To Turn this into a Story:
- Find out the percentage of people enrolled in food stamp programs in your city
- Talk to policy advocates about government decisions related to food stamp programs
- Discuss with locals if programs like SNAP are helpful or provide just enough help to get by
- A sample story angle could be: Positive and negative effects of a food stamp program on an average family of four – how it affects them psychologically, financially, and socially.
Poverty Reporting and Commentary from across the web:
Las Vegas Sun: Poverty, homelessness and a suicide attempt
Duluth News Tribune: Poverty Comes in Layers
Huffington Post: Workers May Trade Health Insurance for Raises