News & Events

Some old solutions still work: helping people buy food with SNAP


Excerpt from original article by Anne Hillman, Alaska Public Media:

Researchers say one of the most effective ways to fight hunger in every state is also one of the oldest: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“Any conversation about eradicating food insecurity in the United States, in my opinion, really has to begin and end with SNAP,” Craig Gunderson said. Gunderson is a professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics from the University of Illinois. He has been studying food insecurity and SNAP, also called food stamps, for more than two decades. Food security experts in Alaska say the same thing.

Food insecurity is when people don’t have enough to eat – they skip meals or forego other necessities to buy food. It affects about one in seven Alaskans and can cause chronic diseases, depression, anemia and obesity.

SNAP efficiently helps solves the problem. “Again and again SNAP has been proven to lead to reductions in food insecurity,” Gunderson said. Which leads to a “reduction in negative health outcomes.”

A version of SNAP first started during the Great Depression. It resurfaced again in the 1960s when the Kennedy administration saw that some Americans were desperately hungry. In the years since the program has evolved significantly, but it’s constantly under threat because people think it’s riddled with fraud. It’s not.

The idea is simple: give money to people who need it so they can buy food.


Read full article here.