YUEI: Food Stamps

Monday, April 20, 2009

Michael Paone, community organizer and anti-hunger activist, and Joel Berg, executive director of New York City Coalition Against Hunger and the author of All You Can Eat: How Hungry is America? (Seven Stories Press, 2008), talk about the increase of food stamp enrollment in the midst of the economic crisis, and answer questions about the program. Have any questions about the food stamp program here in NY or in the US? Comment below!


Joel Berg and Michael Paone

Comments [28]

Dubai Boy from London - NYC

FOOD STAMPS are a literal American caste system. (you) need to identify people by their "social-economic" status. Its all u have.

Nov. 02 2009 07:57 PM
Lyn from

I am very glad to hear that Russians are bringing their families to NY and are taking advantage of food stamps. Hopefully more White Europeans will do it too.

Apr. 21 2009 02:57 PM

We had one inquiry about where to find the original post about the Teaneck deli. You can see the post and a photo in Your Uncommon Economic Indicators story archive.

Here is the link to paste in your browser:

Apr. 20 2009 03:14 PM
Jon P. from The Garden State

To all that have seen people on food stamps buying junk food, this must be a New York thing and an Illinois thing. In NJ, I have seen someone using food stamps be denied to be able to buy a box of Capt N’ Crunch because of the high sugar content and I saw a person with a Katrina card be dined to buy a box of donuts for the same reason.

Apr. 20 2009 12:35 PM
Former Medicaid Supervisior from Brooklyn

Please tell the gentleman from Harlem that he may have a “back door” into the food stamp program. With his wife being pregnant, if she is eligible for WIC, she is also eligible for Medicaid under expanded eligibility, which also makes her eligible for food stamps under the same expanded eligibility. He or she must remember to tell the eligibility specialist, or their supervisor to check and/or refer the application for food stamps under the expanded eligibility program.

Apr. 20 2009 11:52 AM
Chicago Listener

[[19 See from NJ April 20, 2009 - 11:27AM #7 count me out, I've been grocery shopping for my family for 40 years and I have never seen a person with a cart full of garbage pay with food stamps. American Express, definitely, food stamps, never. This is the "welfare queen" rewritten.]]

no, actually, it's a concern for the correlation between poverty and obesity and a realization that at least some of the people who are trapped in poverty may not have learned good shopping, cooking and eating habits. it's also an attempt to look at the range of issues attached to poverty and hunger and to use each contact with people as an opportunity to address those issues.

Apr. 20 2009 11:46 AM
hjs from 11211

see, 19
not true i worked in a convenience store in the 90's and saw some junkies buy $50 worth of junk, ie twinkies, hohos and other snacky cakes with food stamps.
i just thought HAVE FUN! hope they're better today.

Apr. 20 2009 11:34 AM

Chicago Listener,

All that does increase emergency room visits. And, it will make my health insurance premiums more expensive, which are already high due to the illegals in the emergency room and defensive medicine (due to frivolous lawsuits) Where they will hangout with the illegals who are also overrunning our emergency rooms.

Apr. 20 2009 11:28 AM
hjs from 11211

Jeb 14
let them eat cake!

or no extra food, if they are hungry they won't have the energy to rob me

Apr. 20 2009 11:28 AM
See from NJ

#7 count me out, I've been grocery shopping for my family for 40 years and I have never seen a person with a cart full of garbage pay with food stamps. American Express, definitely, food stamps, never.

This is the "welfare queen" rewritten

Apr. 20 2009 11:27 AM
Laura Rich from New York

Food stamps are touchy topic - who should receive them? We addressed the yuppy-out-of-work question of food stamps from two perspectives:

Glad to see the subject of food stamps getting further attention and exploration.

Apr. 20 2009 11:27 AM

Can I buy ethanol gas with my foodstamps?

Apr. 20 2009 11:24 AM
Chicago Listener

Where does the money for food stamps come from? Is it funded annually, based on demand?

Apr. 20 2009 11:24 AM
Chicago Listener

Are there "term limits" for food stamps, either consecutive months or lifetime?

Apr. 20 2009 11:23 AM

hjs from 11211,

That defeats the purpose. If they expend all of those calories to get the food. They will need more food.

Apr. 20 2009 11:22 AM
Chicago Listener

[[5 - Jeb April 20, 2009 - 11:14AM Can the foodstampers be made to shop at a separate line? I find it annoying to be delayed by people who are living on my tax dollars.]]

Yes! And let's cut off their right hands and make them wear sack cloth! If they should dare gaze upon us, we shall put out their eyes!! Kill the poor!!!

Apr. 20 2009 11:21 AM

What if you have low income but have assets like a house, 401k, equity investments for retirement etc. Can you get food stamps? How destitute do you have to be?

Apr. 20 2009 11:20 AM
hjs from 11211

ya! maybe they should not be allowed in the store at all, they could shop from the loading dockets or better yet they should have to go up to the farms and pick their own food.

Apr. 20 2009 11:19 AM
Leah from Brooklyn, NY

I was wondering if there is any regulation on the types of food that can be purchased with food stamps? For example, I witnessed a woman and her young child buying a lot of unhealthy processed snacks and used food stamps for the purchase.

If the government can add a "sugar tax" to soda should this be regulated too?


Apr. 20 2009 11:19 AM

Can I buy foodstamp cards from people and get there PIN#? I remember a friend of mine in the 1980s who use to buy foodstamps from junkies and whinos when he visited his mother in Brooklyn (when they were paper) at 50 cents on the dollar and fill his fridge for a month.

Apr. 20 2009 11:17 AM
bill from brooklyn

I work as a freelance journalist in the media industry for multiple news organizations. That being the case, I don't have a steady check from an employer, but rather multiple smaller checks (per assignment) from a group of employers. How does one demonstrate a verifiable low-income level given this situation?

Apr. 20 2009 11:16 AM
Chicago Listener

Are there any steps in place to help people make smarter food choices? I think we've all been behind someone in line who has a cart full of chips, soda, hot dogs, frozen pizza and etc, who then pays with government script.

Apr. 20 2009 11:15 AM
j from nyc

so all of the executives taking $1 a year, do their future stock options count as salary or savings? [they're fingerprints are on file if they deal with stocks anyway]
and i knew someone on food stamps who actually needed it. it's not an easy program. You can also use food stamps at the Farmers market, i think I saw signs for it there in the past year.

Apr. 20 2009 11:15 AM

Can the foodstampers be made to shop at a separate line? I find it annoying to be delayed by people who are living on my tax dollars.

Apr. 20 2009 11:14 AM
Hugh from Brookyn

My understanding is that Mayor Bloomberg *opposed* easing eligibility for food stamps.

The Food Bank for New York City has reported that about 1.3 million people in the five boroughs rely on soup kitches and food pantries.

They also report that nearly half of the city's population is "experiencing difficulty affording food for themselves and their families" -- double the number in 2003.


Apr. 20 2009 11:12 AM

I'm wondering: Do store HAVE to accept food stamps?

Apr. 20 2009 11:08 AM

What are the qualifications for food stamps? There are so many recent immigrants in Rego Park, Queens who have these food stamp cards. A lot of Russians bring their parents here. The parents live with the kids in the house (i guess they are able to obtain green cards or something) and the parents get Social Security, Medicaid and Food Stamps.

This doesn't seem right. At least with a young person there is a chance that they can be productive. I fail to see why bringing senior citizens into this country and giving them foodstamps is productive use of the Nation's resources.

If we also give amnesty to the illegals, will this cause a flood to the entitlement office for Welfare, food stamps and medicaid?

Apr. 20 2009 10:38 AM

Don't we have an obesity problem in this country?

Apr. 20 2009 10:33 AM

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