Food Stamps: Not Just for “The Poor”

photo credit: MapScience

photo credit: MapScience

It’s safe to say that in my recent years as a student at Boston University — specifically as a sociology major — I’ve learned the meaning of privilege. I go to a private university, live in a great apartment with two roommates, and I buy my food at the local Trader Joe’s.

And while I know that last one is, of course, one major aspect of a privileged lifestyle, I did not realize that alternative meal plans, aside from the dining hall or other supermarkets, existed for university students. More specifically, I did not know that students were using food stamps or Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Programs (SNAP), which help low-income individuals buy food.

After reading someone’s personal struggle on the matter, I couldn’t help but wonder about the large proportion of people using food stamps, ranging from the homeless to students graduating from prominent American universities.

In other words, I realized that food stamps are not simply limited to those whom we very mistakenly perceive as “poor,” or “lazy,” but rather average individuals with everyday issues, like simply buying food.

As Andy Fitzgerald aptly confessed in The Guardian, “I have long been an advocate for a strong safety net, but I never thought I would be ‘one of those people’ on it. Too often, we talk about people in poverty in the abstract, rather than as Americans with ordinary problems.

With this in mind, I’m quite nervous about the recent vote of House Republicans cutting $40 billion in food stamps, a move that would take at least 4 million people off the much-needed program, while reinforcing the misguided notion that everyday individuals are not going hungry.

Therefore, we at the True Food Movement hope to shed light on this issue and spread awareness on the importance of food assistance. If you have any comments or questions on the matter, we would love to hear your thoughts!


  1. Aly says

    I just want to say that I appreciate you posting this article. My job is to screen people and issue them SNAP benefits, and I have to say that you are absolutely right on this. I’m so sick of hearing about how everyone is lazy and using the system. That does happen, but not as often as some believe.

  2. Tiffany says

    I want to say thank you, our family has 2 incomes and we work hard everyday and my husband sometimes doesn’t even have a day off and we still need the help of food stamps. We weren’t always on food stamps, but a change in the economy left my husbands work as a construction worker to a slow halt. It has its good times and bad times and in construction, but our family of 7 is hard to stretch the money we work hard for each month. Without SNAP benefits we would be behind on most of our bills and would be resorting to a very poor diet. I am grateful for the help and to help the little we receive I coupon and budget each meal to ensure my family is eating healthy foods and we stretch our money to the maximum. Thank you for showing others that we are not all using the system, because it took a lot for us to even ask for help, then there was the embarrassment of using the benefits in the store. I was so embarrassed that I didn’t even want to use the card at first, now I feel like we made the right choice for the health of our family to use them . I can buy the fruit and veggies I know my family will eat instead of buying the cheapest stuff and forcing them to eat them.

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