The Faces of Food Stamps

For nearly 50 million Americans living in poverty – the highest in more than half a century – getting a meal on the table isn’t easy. One-in-seven now receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (better known as food stamps) but that barely covers the necessities, especially when assistance runs thin at the end of the month. By then, foods like peanut butter and pasta become a main course for those on assistance, half of whom are children.

Some have been chronically poor, but many are the newcomers to federal food assistance — recent veterans, college graduates, once middle-class families in suburbia, and farm workers, who never imagined they would learn what hunger felt like.


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Malia Wollan

About Malia Wollan

Malia Wollan is a contributing writer for The New York Times in the San Francisco bureau. She is also a freelance writer and radio producer. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Magazine, Fast Company, National Public Radio, The Associated Press and PBS's Frontline/WORLD. She is a lecturer at UC Berkeley's Journalism School and an editor of Meatpaper magazine.
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