There were 46,670,373 people on food stamps, as of Sept. 3, 2014, according to Statistic Brain. This figure equates to 14 percent of the U.S. population and amounts to a total annual cost of $71.8 billion.Continue Reading
In 1939, Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace created the Food Stamps Plan to help feed families left hungry by the Great Depression. Low-income families purchased booklets of orange stamps that they used to buy food and household necessities, such as soap. For each $1 they spent on orange stamps, they received $0.50 in blue stamps that they could use to buy surplus food items, such as eggs and flour. To ensure that these stamps would not be used on nonfood items, the government required participants to purchase the stamps.
The advent of World War II created an economic boom that made the Food Stamps Plan unnecessary, and it ended in 1943. However, beginning in 1961 with the John F. Kennedy administration, various food stamps programs were reinstituted. In 1964, the Food Stamp Act was passed, a bill designed to help low-income Americans afford nutritious food. The 2008 Farm Bill changed the name of the program to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, placing an even greater emphasis on nutrition.Learn more about Social Services