Food Stamp Participation High in Washington, D.C.
City Reached 82 Percent of Eligible Individuals with Food Stamps in 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CONTACT: Jen Adach
PHONE: 202-986-2200 x3018
Washington, D.C. – September 11, 2009 – The District of Columbia reached 82 percent of eligible individuals with food stamps in 2007, according to a national report released this week by the Food Research and Action Center. Alexandra Ashbrook, director of D.C. Hunger Solutions, commented: “We are encouraged to see that the District of Columbia reached a large majority of eligible individuals with food stamps in 2007, but during these tumultuous times, the District must do even more to connect people to the vital nutrition and income support food stamps provide.”
The report, SNAP Access in Urban America: A City-by-City Snapshot by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), looked at 2007 food stamp participation in the nation’s largest cities. Washington, D.C. ranked seventh out of 24 cities in the proportion of eligible people it actually reached with food stamps in 2007. The city missed out on $10.3 million in food stamp benefits that would have come into the District if all people had been served. Participation was lowest in San Diego, (Calif.), with only 35 percent participating, and highest in Philadelphia (Pa.), with 93 percent of eligible individuals participating.
The report documents participation right before the start of the recession. Since 2007, food stamp participation has experienced record growth, with the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showing that more than 105,000 District residents participated in June 2009. D.C. Hunger Solutions estimates that food stamp benefits, which were boosted temporarily by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, generated more than $20 million of activity in the District’s economy in this one month alone. “Given the recession, skyrocketing unemployment, and the growing need and increasing numbers of eligible people, the District should continue its work to make the program accessible.” she said. “Food stamps help struggling households and pump millions of dollars into the local economy.”
Higher participation also can help achieve President Barack Obama’s goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015. “The Food Stamp Program is the nation’s most important direct defense against hunger, and the nutrition program that can do the most to meet the President’s goal of eliminating childhood hunger,” said Jim Weill, FRAC President.
D.C. Hunger Solutions, a project of the Food Research and Action Center, is dedicated to fighting hunger and obesity and improving the nutrition, health and well-being of children, youth and families in the District of Columbia.
The Food Research and Action Center (www.frac.org) is the leading national organization working for more effective public and private policies to eradicate domestic hunger and undernutrition.