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As SNAP Benefits Decrease, Food Gatherers Ramp up for the Holiday Season

Food Gatherers

WEMU's Bob Eccles talks with Food Gatherers CEO, Eileen Spring about the greater need for food assistance in the region and their plans moving forward into 2014.

For more information on how you can help this holiday (or year-round) visit http://www.foodgatherers.org


Food Gatherers is a member of Feeding America–the nation's food bank network. Feeding America provides food for 37 million people a year including nearly 14 million children and nearly 3 million seniors. They also collect and report on local and national trends affecting our hunger relief network.

  • 1 in 7 people struggle with food insecurity or hunger in Washtenaw County (Map The Meal Gap, 2011). 
  • Families with children have dramatic rates of food insecurity (92%) with parents frequently saying they skip meals and make portions smaller to make food last longer (Food Security Plan, 2009).
  • In 2011, 57.2 percent of food-insecure households participated in at least one of the three major Federal food assistance programs –Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamp Program), The National School Lunch Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
  • 47 million low-income Americans participate in SNAP to help purchase food.

    76 percent of SNAP households include a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person. These vulnerable households receive 83 percent of all SNAP benefits.

  • 83 percent of SNAP households have incomes at or below 100 percent of the poverty guideline ($19,530 for a family of 3 in 2013). These households receive 91 percent of all SNAP benefits.
  • Program eligibility is limited to households with gross income of no more than 130 percent of the federal poverty level and no more than $2000 in assets. Participants must also meet work and citizenship requirements.
  • The average SNAP household has about 2 people, with a gross monthly income of$744 and countable assets of just $331.
  • The average monthly SNAP benefit per person was $133.41 in FY2012, or less than$1.50 per person per meal.
  • 90 percent of SNAP benefits are redeemed by day 21 of the benefit period – meaning most SNAP benefits are not enough to last recipients all month.
  • All SNAP participants will see a drop in their benefits on November 1, 2013 – the average decrease will be $36 for a family of four.. 
    Feeding America, 2013

Food Insecurity rate, overall (Map the Meal Gap, 2011):
Michigan: 17.9%

United States: 16.4%