Food Stamps

U.S. Department of Agriculture

A house committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would restrict where the state’s low-income residents can use EBT cards.

The bill would ban people from using EBT cash benefits at businesses that primarily engage in tattooing and body piercing. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Charles McMahon (R-Rockingham), says the ban would also extend to smoke shops and future medical marijuana dispensaries.

Seacoast Family Food Pantry of New Hampshire

The Seacoast Family Food Pantry began as the Ladies Humane Society in 1816 to assist families of fishermen. Now, it is still serving those in the community who need help. The pantry aids many families with children—and many elders. Jane is a widow living on a fixed income.

“There are a lot of things you can’t buy with food stamps, but down at the pantry, they cover just about everything that you would need in your household,” Jane said.

Wendy Longo photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Behind the numbers are the experiences of America's poor, which, more often than not, go unheard. This divide is the problem that N.H. writer and activist Dan Weeks addressed in the project he undertook last year, to travel around some of the poorest areas of the country by bus and see poverty close up, as well as the ways that it intertwines with a lack of political voice. Today we'll talk with him about the series of articles he wrote for The Atlantic on his trip and what he saw.

GUESTS:

Food Stamp Cuts Hit State Recipients

Nov 1, 2013

Food stamp benefits to 54,000 New Hampshire households are being cut, as a temporary boost from the 2009 stimulus bill expires. 

During the recession, the federal government added more than $45 billion to the program nationally. But with that money spent, the nutrition assistance program now called SNAP is being scaled back.

New Hampshire families will receive up to $65 less each month. Terry Smith with the Department of Health and Human Services says that will have broader impact.

Food Pantry Provides What Food Stamps Can't

Jul 27, 2013
Seacoast Family Food Pantry of New Hampshire

The Seacoast Family Food Pantry began as the Ladies Humane Society in 1816 to assist families of fishermen. Now, it is still serving those in the community who need help. The pantry aids many families with children—and many elders. Jane is a widow living on a fixed income.

“There are a lot of things you can’t buy with food stamps, but down at the pantry, they cover just about everything that you would need in your household,” Jane said.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

The New Hampshire Food Bank has been struggling to keep up with the demand of a growing number of residents. And these challenges might be compounded by budget cuts proposed by Congress.

WiscDeptNatlResources / Flickr/Creative Commons

The idea for doubling the value of food stamps at farmer’s markets came to Gus Schumacher in 1980. He was in Boston helping his brother, a farmer, clean up at the end of the day.

"I was packing up a box of pears at the Dorchester Fields Corner Farmer’s Market. And the box fell apart, and all the pears went into the gutter."

Schumacher figured he’d have to throw away the pears.

With more than 46 million recipients, the food stamp program has become one of the government's biggest benefit programs.

It has also become one of the biggest targets for those who think the federal government isn't doing enough to prevent fraud.