Hunger Challenge | Can you eat for $4.72 a day? | September 11–17, 2011
San Francisco Food Bank | Maring Food Bank
- Food stamps are meant to be a supplemental program, but now many recipients rely primarily on food stamps to put food on their tables. With the recession's impact, this is even more of a challenge.
- There are now more than 44.6 million people on food stamps in the US — the largest number ever. That's up 10% from last year and up 60% from before the recession starting in April 2008.
- About 6 million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, according to an analysis of state data collected by The New York Times.
- In 2008, the average amount a California food stamp recipient received was $3 per person per day — so Hunger Challenge participants were allowed $3 a day. In 2009, additional food stamp funds were provided in the government's economic stimulus package, upping the average to $4 per day. Unfortunately this increase to food stamp recipients is only temporary — it will expire at the end of October, 2013. Recent increases in benefits are the result of dramatic increases in food prices, which trigger more benefits in the program.
- According to the California Budget Project, it takes $59,808 a year for a San Francisco family of four — with one working parent — to make ends meet. It takes $84,015 if both parents work. In Marin County, those figures jump to $61,943 and $89,815, respectively. But a family of four is eligible for food stamps only if its gross annual income doesn't exceed $29,055.
- 5.1 million Californians are living below the Federal Poverty Line ($22,350 for a family of four).
- The San Francisco Food Bank currently serves 31,000 households each week through our pantry program — an 11% increase over last year.
- San Francisco Food Bank distributed more than 44 million pounds of food in the past year — a 11.4% increase over the previous year. That figure includes over 22 million pounds of fresh produce. For this year, our goal is 45.6 million pounds of nutritious food.
- The food stamp program is now called CalFresh in California but nationally, it's known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The benefit is distributed on swipe cards that can be used at the grocery store. However, in California it's not exactly a "snap" to get food stamps. Our state makes it so difficult to get the benefit, that it ranks second to last in the entire country in the number of eligible people who are actually receiving food stamps.
- The government estimates that every $1 of food stamp money spent in California generates $1.84 in business for the state's economy. Even more reason to make sure all those eligible receive the benefits.