The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Coming up short: High food prices outstrip food stamp benefits (C-SNAP report)

Date: 
09/08/2008
Author: 
C-SNAP

Today C-SNAP's latest report, 'Coming up short: High foodcosts outstrip food stamp benefits,' shows that the maximum foodstamp benefit is insufficient to buy the Thrifty Food Plan (the diet upon which food stamp benefits are based) in any size food store in Boston and Philadelphia. Even families receiving the maximum food stamp benefit would have to spend an additional $2250 in Boston and $3165 in Philadelphia annuallyto purchase the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP).

Moreover, it is very difficult for families in the surveyed neighborhoods to find healthy foods - on average 27% of the items that make up the TFP were missing, predominantly the healthier options like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low-fat milk and cheese.

With food and energy costs continuing to rise and an economy in decline,we are very concerned about low-income families' ability to provide enough healthy food for their children over the coming months. C-SNAP's research shows that food insecurity puts young children at risk for poor health, hospitalizations, iron-deficiency anemia, and developmental delays, but young children who receive food stamps are 26% less likelyto be food insecure.

Congress is currently debating a second economic stimulus package tha tcould provide effective, nationwide relief for low-income families. How? By boosting food stamp benefit amounts, which would ease the budget squeeze for families and inject much-needed resources into local economies.

We hope that 'The Real Cost of a Healthy Diet - Coming Up Short' will provide the evidence you need to help convince Congress to make the Food Stamp Program a priority this session. The PDF of the report is attached to this email and the report and more resources can be found on our website.

Please feel free to share these resources and the report with your colleagues/contacts. For more information, please contact Julie Thayer, Project Manager, at617-414-4542 or Karen Jeng, C-SNAP Research & Policy Fellow, at617-414-6364.

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