Who was excluded from the Food Stamp Program?
While the Food Stamp Program was widely popular, its true impact was limited. Eligibility was limited to those already enrolled in existing relief programs, including the elderly, family caregivers, and unemployed workers. Local governments could impose additional restrictions, including discriminating based on an applicant’s racial identity or denying someone from joining the program at all. The program required that already-struggling participants spend what little money they had to purchase orange stamps in order to receive additional blue stamps — a barrier to entry to many of those in need. At its peak, the program assisted 4 million Americans — had it been extended to all low-income families at the time, it could have reached up to 25 million.
“Analysis of Food Stamp Plans: a Supplemental Report Developed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pursuant to Public Law 540, Eighty-Fourth Congress, Transmitted to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, January 3, 1957.” Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.
Galleries & Exhibits
- 11865-1925: Hunger in the Industrial City
- 21929-1940: America in Crisis and Recovery
- 31945-1965: WWII and the Paradoxes of the Postwar Era
- 41955-1980: The Fight for the Right to Food
- 51975-1996: The Unmaking of the Great Society
- 61997-Present: How It Is — And How It Should Be