May 25, 2018
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Food stamps statistics

For millions of Americans and thousands of our Maine neighbors, regularly having enough to eat is not always possible. The end of the 2009 Recovery Act in November resulted in a decrease in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, also known as food stamps, for all families and individuals on the program. A bill in Congress is proposing to cut between $4 billion (Senate version) and nearly $40 billion (House version) more from the program over the next 10 years. In Maine, roughly 60,000 households would lose some or all of their SNAP benefits under the House proposal.

• Maine ranks third in the nation (first in New England) for very low food security (hunger), according to recent U.S. Department of Agriculture reports.

• As of January 2013, one in five people in Maine received SNAP benefits: Two-thirds of these households had one working adult; 64 percent were families with children; 17 percent were households that included a senior; and 27 percent included a person with a disability.

• Current maximums of $31 per week per person plummeted to $22 per week in November. The 29 percent cut equates to a current allocation of about $1.40 per meal.

• The Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates this reduction means the loss of about one meal per day for a family of four. For families already not eating enough regularly, this will be devastating. At present, 15 percent of Maine households struggle to afford a nutritionally adequate diet.

• Food pantries, a lifeline for thousands in the state and millions in the country, are pushed to the limit. Preble Street in Portland reports a 60 percent rise in the number of meals served over the past three years. Since the Nov. 1 cuts, they report a record 500 dinners served per night.

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