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Record number of Americans are now affected by food insecurity that is only exacerbated by social programs


Food security

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(NaturalNews) Food insecurity describes a lack of certainty for a household's next meal, not enough nutritious food or a lack of stability of household food supplies. In the USA, this issue is debatable somewhat, because what constitutes real nutritious food diverges considerably from the most common perceptions of food.

Nevertheless, food insecurity describes a condition of not having steady access to edibles, whatever they are. Forget the nutritious part for now. That's not part of the standard American diet (SAD). Statistically, there are many households whose steady access to food is unstable, even with one or more working.

One NGO volunteer group, Feeding America, claims that one in five American children live in a household that experiences some level of food insecurity. The focus on children is mostly for their need to grow healthily and not be affected mentally by improper nutrition while in school.

Here's part of a report from Feeding America, a non-profit group with a national network of 200 food banks to distribute food for the needy:

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in 2012, 15.9 million children under 18 in the United States live in this condition -- unable to consistently access nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for a healthy life. According to Map the Meal Gap... 20% or more of the child population in 38 states and D.C. lived in food insecure households in 2011.

Some school programs do have free lunch programs for those who qualify. Then there are the summer months. Some states' school lunch programs automatically cater to immigrants, legal or illegal.

That is an area of righteous concern for many US citizens who are living paycheck to paycheck without any safety net. Many of whom are near the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) but still not eligible for federal or state assistance.

For example, the FPL for a household of three in mainland USA for medicaid is $17,900 annually. The FPL table's figure at 133 percent FPL is $26,321. Though there are some variations from state to state, the gross annual income of 130 percent FPL is used to qualify for SNAP.

Qualifying for federal assistance food programs

Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, the USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has taken it's place. Notice the word nutrition creeping into the title.

One might ask in our society, what does nutrition have to do with it? Better to stick with the word food, which at least includes fast food, processed food and the ubiquitous junk food. That would be more appropriate.

So to qualify for food purchasing assistance regardless of nutritional shortcomings, SNAP requires a family of three to earn at or under $2,116 gross monthly (before taxes) and/or $1,628 net monthly (after taxes).

The guidelines for what constitutes income or ready assets varies between states more than the income levels. Most ignore income from disability programs or short-term income assistance programs.

States have different amounts that they consider as ready cash from a back savings or checking account. Some states count the net value of the only vehicle owned, but most don't. Net value implies the difference between what's owed and the lower Blue Book value.

Maybe some states assume that you'll sell your only mode of transportation in order to get a week's worth of groceries. And what about those who don't quite qualify? They may wind up flirting with food insecurity or forced into buying low-quality food-like materials

Few know or want to bother with buying or cooking low-cost organic bulk grains, dry legumes, fresh organic potatoes and greens to cover a sufficient amount of nutritional foods inexpensively. Most are too busy rushing around to work, taking kids to school and watching TV.

They're feeding themselves cheap processed foods and factory farm meats that will make them fatter while keeping them undernourished. Depending on how a family of three has its liveable income determined, they would be eligible for a maximum of $497 monthly to use with their EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) card.

Actually, the ratio of cheap food consumers to quality food preparers is not much different for non-food stamp recipients. There are some exceptions among SNAP recipients who do manage to get high-quality food.

Sources:

http://www.rti.org

http://www.rti.org [PDF]

http://familiesusa.org

http://www.fns.usda.gov

http://feedingamerica.org

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