Everything You Need to Know About America’s Largest Anti-Hunger Program

child in grocery cart
February 7, 2017

Why do we need SNAP?

SNAP and other anti-hunger programs are vital to ending hunger in America.

Eighty years ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt found “one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.” In response, the first food-stamp program was created in 1939. Decades later, food stamps have become the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We’ve made strides in feeding our neighbors since the Great Depression, but 1 in 9 Americans still struggle with hunger.

SNAP and other anti-hunger programs play a critical role in improving the health and well-being of hungry Americans. These programs are efficient and effective. Feeding America is the largest anti-hunger charity in the United States, but all of our good work is only a fraction of what the federal anti-hunger programs accomplish.

Who does SNAP help?

SNAP is designed to help two kinds of people, those who can’t protect themselves and those who need a helping hand to pull themselves up. 64% of SNAP recipients are either children, the elderly or disabled adults. Two-thirds of the remaining recipients either work full-time, are caretakers of others, or are participating in a training program.

How does SNAP work?

SNAP is available only to low-income Americans. Those who qualify for SNAP receive Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards, loaded with benefits that are timely, targeted and temporary. Benefits are about $1.40 per meal or around $126 per person per month. SNAP benefits can only be spent on food and nothing else.

How does SNAP help the economy?

SNAP is a targeted investment, not only in our human potential but also in our economy. A study from USDA found that for every $1 billion dollars increase in SNAP, between 8,900 and 17,900 jobs were created. The benefits are especially valuable for the agriculture and retail sectors of our economy, with money spent at local stores finding its way back into America’s farms.

What happens if SNAP gets cut?

If SNAP gets cut low-income folks will lose access to meals. Repercussions wouldn’t be contained to SNAP recipients, one study found that proposed SNAP cuts would result in the destruction of 286,000 jobs.

If we want to end hunger, support our children’s education and protect our jobs, we must protect SNAP.

SNAP needs our support in Congress. We know that when people contact their lawmakers, they listen. You could make the difference in funding for these critical programs: Tell Congress to not take food from struggling families »