Food Stamps Are So 2008 - Capital Area Food Bank
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Food Stamps Are So 2008

By Chris von Spiegelfeld January 19, 2012

Evidently, some presidential candidates need to update their lexicon. Even though the federal Food Stamp program changed its name to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2008, the program is still referred to by its old moniker by a lot of folks, one of whom recently referred to President Obama as the “Food Stamp President.” We’re sympathetic. It hasn’t been the smoothest brand transition. Even some state agencies still refer to SNAP as Food Stamps.
Nonetheless, the hyperbole over Food Stamps, er SNAP benefits, has reached epic proportions in recent weeks. Thus when asked, we feel compelled to set the record straight and dispel some SNAP misconceptions.

When Capital Area Food Bank President Lynn Brantley was questioned by NPR regarding increases in Food Stamp recipients, she explained some of the complexities.

The result of the increase in those applying for Food Stamps is not Obama wanting to make it happen. But it’s the need that’s happening out here in the community because of lost jobs, lost wages, and welfare reform.

Also, our SNAP Outreach Coordinator Amy Menzel, went into great detail with Patch over popular myths that have created barriers to SNAP participation and thrust SNAP in a negative light.

On possible deportation:

Immigrants will not be penalized for applying for SNAP benefits. Most adults are eligible if they are legal permanent residents of the U.S. for five years or U.S. citizens. However, often their children are eligible if their parents are not.

On fraud:

Not the case at all. SNAP’s accuracy rate is 96 percent… Fraudulent use in the community has dropped to one cent on the dollar.

At the food bank, we certainly welcome discourse to promote issues of hunger as well as solutions. However, negative rhetoric regarding food assistance is often disparaging to people who receive it. Furthermore, political subterfuge impacts our ability to inform hungry people that assistance is even available.

We encourage you to learn more about the SNAP program and its recipients through these interviews or through our outreach work.