Food-stamp tally nears 40 million, sets record

WASHINGTON Fri May 7, 2010 1:28pm EDT

A lunch meal portion waits at the Part of the Solution (POTS) soup kitchen and food pantry in the Bronx borough of New York, in this file image from December 13, 2006. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/Files

A lunch meal portion waits at the Part of the Solution (POTS) soup kitchen and food pantry in the Bronx borough of New York, in this file image from December 13, 2006.

Credit: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton/Files

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 40 million Americans received food stamps -- the latest in an ever-higher string of record enrollment that dates from December 2008 and the U.S. recession, according to a government update.

Food stamps are the primary federal anti-hunger program, helping poor people buy food. Enrollment is highest during times of economic distress. The jobless rate was 9.9 percent, the government said on Friday.

The Agriculture Department said 39.68 million people, or 1 in 8 Americans, were enrolled for food stamps during February, an increase of 260,000 from January. USDA updated its figures on Wednesday.

"This is the highest share of the U.S. population on SNAP/food stamps," said the anti-hunger group Food Research and Action Center, using the new name for food stamps, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). "Research suggests that one in three eligible people are not receiving ... benefits."

Enrollment has set a record each month since reaching 31.78 million in December 2008. USDA estimates enrollment will average 40.5 million people this fiscal year, which ends Sept 30, at a cost of up to $59 billion. For fiscal 2011, average enrollment is forecast for 43.3 million people.

(Reporting by Charles Abbott; Editing by John Picinich)

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Comments (22)
chrisvb wrote:
as soon as we have 300 million on food stamps we can cancell the constitution and rename u.s.a. —– “obama land”—-

May 11, 2010 9:55am EDT  --  Report as abuse
The amazing thing to me is that there are people in the USA who really have no clue about what Obama and the Democrats are doing to the USA. The public education system in the USA has really dumbed down the citizens and this fact works out just great for Obama and the Democrats. I’m thinking the Democrat Party needs to change its name to the Socialist Party or maybe even the Fascist Party because that is where Obama and the Dems are leading us.

May 11, 2010 10:03am EDT  --  Report as abuse
wyo777 wrote:
The amazing thing to me are the right wingers who regurgitate what ever Faux Noise tells them is fact and believe it. The Republicans who have become more and more right wing over the last 31 years have controlled government completely for 21 of those years. Obama has been trying to fix the mess they have left for one year and you think all that is wrong is his fault. You wouldn’t know socialism if it jumped up and smacked you in the face. The source of most of our problems are American corporations that control the government almost completely and they are smart enough to get you right wingers cheering them on.

May 11, 2010 10:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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