According to statistics released by the Economic Policy Institute, about 42.2 million Americans used food stamps this Thanksgiving. This is a new record high, according to nonprofit government watchdog group, The Sunlight Foundation.
According to the USNews.com, participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has increased by 70 percent on the average since 2007 and food stamp use hit a new record high in June.
The International Business Times reports that the number of people collecting benefits from SNAP rose by 15 million since the start of the recession in December 2007, bringing the total number of people receiving benefits from the program to 42.2 million this Thanksgiving.
According to IB Times, the Economic Policy Institute report attributes the increase in number of people participating in SNAP to “widened eligibility for this program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009,” which means that more adults without dependents are qualifying to receive food stamps.
The Huffington Post reports that the statistics for food stamp use is an indication of how many American families are struggling with poverty and how many did not have a good Thanksgiving meal this year.
Rising food stamps usage is an indicator of rising poverty rate and unemployment.
According to Foodstamped.com, the Food Stamp Challenge, which challenges higher income Americans to live as if they were on food stamps shows that the average American on food stamps has a budget per meal of just $1 or $1.25, grossly inadequate for a healthy balanced meal. According to USNews.com, a budget of $1.25 per meal means that a family on food stamps must buy a meal per person for less than the cost of a cup of coffee.
“The average price of a Thanksgiving meal is now nearly $50, with a dinner costing up to $80 if purchased at a Whole Foods in Manhattan, New York…,” The Huffington Post reports.
Last summer’s drought in the US has drastically cut supplies and contributed to rising prices.