Let’s have another talk about food stamps.

I’ve done a lot of talking in a lot of other places about hunger related causes. I have been fired up and emotional. I have jumped out of my chair in panels and cried with people who have pulled me into hallways to share their own personal stories of survival and poverty.

I just haven’t been as fired up HERE. I don’t know why there are these congruent Dresdens because I am both a woman who loves writing about the adventures of single parenting as WELL as a women who cares deeply about writing and speaking about causes. I don’t feel a need to make this a shiny happy space of perfection because I often let all the emotions come tumbling out like a sink that has finally been unclogged. So really, this not talking about ALL of the things that matter to me, is my fault.

When it comes to food stamps, or SNAP benefits, I am, if nothing else, emotional. There are politics involved, there is my history involved, there are people and opinions involved. It’s actually harder to talk about food stamps than it is to talk about religion. As far as I am concerned a person’s religion is personal and has nothing to do with me or my family. However, their beliefs about food stamps VERY MUCH impact other families.

I also accept that there are many factors, mostly political, involved with food stamps that I just do not understand. That fact is most likely what prevents me from doing a lot of writing about the subject because I come from a place of heart and not a place of knowing all the whys.

To me it seems so simple, so basic. If someone is hungry I want them fed. I don’t just want to give them the heel of bread either, I want them fed the same way I am fed with a complete meal.

Today the House will finish its “tweaks” to the Farm Bill. These tweaks will include many changes to SNAP benefits (the food stamp program). I already do not understand many of the changes that have been bantered about in the news.

But I DO understand hunger. I understand it well. I have no idea if the men and women who are elbow deep in deciding these cuts to SNAP have any concept of it.

While we wait for news from the House I wanted to share with you some updated news from Feeding America. Updates to the data for their “Map the Meal Gap” were released while I was at BlogHer Food and sadly it shows very little has changed in our hunger crisis in America. Click on the map to be taken to the interactive site where you can see EXACT numbers about the hunger crisis in your state and county. This puts information in your hands and lets you know that no town, no state is immune to hunger.
Map the Gap: no state is immune to hunger

I also want to share Theresa’s story with you. She is a single mom with two daughters who both have special needs. She simply needs a little help now with public assistance. Just like my family did. These are the families who depend on SNAP.


  1. Thank you for encouraging me to learn more about this bill. I – like you – know what it is like to depend on food stamps so I can eat. (I was a kid). And yes, this is a very emotional issue and no I don’t understand it very well. But I want to try.

    Another thing is, I don’t understand is Feeding America’s definition of “Food insecurity.” Like, how is it that people do NOT have access to 3 meals a day? Growing up we were really poor and yet with foodstamps and food pantries we still ate 3 meals…but some of those were boxed mac and cheese. But even then we had canned veggies and powdered milk. Not the healthiest thing ever….but my mom worked at it. So what is food insecurity? Are there people that honestly do not have access to food pantries that hand out free canned foods? (this question comes for a lack of knowledge and a desire to understand)

    Thank you for sharing, Dresden :)

  2. OOOH! Ok Feeding America has EXCELLENT info on their site. I’m learning a lot. Just had to update the comments section LOL :) Seriously though – it is when people make too much for WIC but still don’t make enough money to properly feed their kids that Feeding America and other organizations step in to help with good food. Yup. Been there as a kid too. My mom actually had to decide whether to accept a job raise because it would not be enough to feed us when the raise made her ineligible for govt aid.

  3. Hi Annie,

    Food insecurity is an official term defined by the USDA (not Feeding America), but we use the term frequently. Food insecurity, by definition, is the USDA’s measure of lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members; limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods. I hope this helps!

    Shannon Traeger
    Communication Manager
    Feeding America

  4. Thanks for this post, Dresden, and for continuing to educate people on what hunger really is and why it’s ALL of our business.

  5. I have a friend who falls into that section of people who make just a little too much for any kind of assistance, but not enough for benefits.

    Your not knowing all the whys is something that keeps me from having strong opinions on a lot of things. So I am glad that you share what you know here to help my knowledge.

  6. You said, “I also accept that there are many factors, mostly political, involved with food stamps that I just do not understand. That fact is most likely what prevents me from doing a lot of writing about the subject because I come from a place of heart and not a place of knowing all the whys”

    I think that’s precisely why people like you do need to speak up. Too often the political is about winning votes and adhering to rigid dogmas when in reality, these issues are about so much more.

    My personal stories are about depression and anxiety rather than food stamps, but regardless of the story we were given, I think those of us with a voice have the responsibility to tell it. I used to teach a lot of lower income adults and they didn’t have the capacity to be heard.

    You do good work on here – keep it up!

  7. Tonya Cinnamon says:

    Sadly I am still on food stamps for my kids and I . I own a small little business that doesn’t make enough to survive on all the way. (1 year down and its starting to look up )
    Yet I still have to look for a part time or full time 2nd job per food stamp requirements. which is for 2 months I apply for 48 jobs
    (Which takes away from making my business worthwhile and making monies)
    I am not complaining but it seems like the more I try to make my business worthwhile the more I get punished. I would LOVE to get off food stamps and be able to feed my family with my own money.

    Now I see they are gonna add more things we have to jump through to keep them.
    How I long for the day I can get off them for good.

  8. Just found your blog when searching for a place to donate my unused air miles to Feeding America
    Thanks for the comments.

  9. A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you need
    to write more on this subject matter, it may not be a taboo matter but generally folks don’t speak about these
    topics. To the next! Cheers!!


  1. […] And it makes me die a little inside to think about someone I love in this situation. With the changes to the Farm Bill  and the SNAP Benifit (food stamps) she covers on her blog, I’m more than a little concerned the gap is going to close to a 1 in 5 or 1 in 4 […]

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