In our current political climate, food stamp recipients have been maligned in Right Wing circles as lazy moochers who’d rather collect government benefits than work for a living. But the truth is quite different.
As our nation continues to recover from the economic meltdown of 2009, many working families have turned to food stamps to keep from starving. As a matter of fact, nearly 43 million Americans now use SNAP benefits each year. And of that number, 76 percent of those who use SNAP have at least one child.
While Republican politicians claim food stamp recipients abuse the program, Feeding America reports, “SNAP eligibility is limited to households with gross income of no more than 130% of the federal poverty guideline, but the majority of households have income well below the maximum: 83% of SNAP households have gross income at or below 100% of the poverty guideline ($19,530 for a family of 3 in 2013), and these households receive about 91% of all benefits. 61% of SNAP households have gross income at or below 75% of the poverty guideline ($14,648 for a family of 3 in 2013).”
Because of the negative stigma attached to those who use SNAP benefits, a Colorado-based non-profit armed 15 women who receive food stamps with cameras to document how they really live.
Called “Hunger Through My Lens,” the project follows the women as they chronicle what it’s actually like to live on SNAP benefits. The women—who come from all walks of life—hope the project will help dismantle negative notions about those on food stamps.
“Everyone has this archetype of who’s hungry in America and it’s usually the gentleman on the side of the street with the cardboard sign,” Kathy Underhill, director of Hunger Free Colorado, said. “And the truth is, you’re most likely to live in a hungry household in Colorado if you’re between the ages of 0 and 5. You’re most likely to be hungry if you’re an older adult or a single woman. So it’s incredibly important for folks to understand that hunger can impact anybody.”
Check out some of the images (click to enlarge):