Key programs like food stamps softened the Great Recession’s deep blow
The NC Justice Center’s Budget and Tax Center just released a new policy brief that highlights the rise of hunger and the continued importance of programs like food stamps. Here are some findings from the brief:
- North Carolina has the sixth‐highest rate of food hardship in the 50 states, up from thirteenth highest in 2008. Research has shown that the cost of hunger in North Carolina was $5.44 billion in 2010, in terms of lowered educational, health care, and productivity outcomes.
- The state’s food stamp program provides vital support to families and individuals facing food hardship, and participation has surged since the start of the recession, with the equivalent of the population of Charlotte added to the program.
- Policymakers should resist calls to create barriers to food stamps and instead focus on job creation via investment in education, health care, and infrastructure.
In addition, the report states:
While the Great Recession technically ended in mid-2009, its effects on North Carolina’s workers and families have dragged on. High unemployment and underemployment have led to increases in numerous measures of economic hardship, including hunger. More than two million North Carolinians faced food hardship in 2010.
For more than a million individuals in North Carolina facing hunger, the state’s food stamps program provided a vital lifeline. Participation in the program has surged since the start of the recession, with the equivalent of the population of Charlotte being added to the program.
This holiday season, please remember those who don’t have enough to eat. Here are a few simple things that you can do to help:
- Donate to a local food bank.
- Talk about hunger – most people don’t realize how important this issue is. We have free worship resources about hunger available here.
- Ask your elected officials to continue to support food stamps and other social safety nets that provide a lifeline for those in need.
-Chris Liu-Beers, Program Associate