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Thrifty Food Plan Not So Thrifty Anymore

September 16, 2008

In “Coming up short: High food costs outstrip food stamp benefits,” the Children’s Sentinel Nutrition Assessment Program (C-SNAP) at Boston Medical Center found that the maximum food stamp benefit does not buy the items included in the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) in any size food store in Boston and Philadelphia.

The situation in Boston and Philadelphia reflects a nation-wide phenomenon in which Food Stamps benefits no longer cover the cost of basic foods. The USDA uses the “Thrifty Food Plan”as an example of the types and quantities of foods that people could purchase to obtain a nutritious diet at a minimal cost. The USDA uses the cost of this mix of foods to determine the maximum food stamp allotment. The USDA reported that, from July 2007-July 2008, the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan increased 10% while the Consumer Price Index of food overall increased by only 7.1 percent.

The C-SNAP’s report found that families in Boston would have to spend an additional $2250 per year to purchase the TFP. Access was another obstacle to these families obtaining nutritious food: researchers were unable to find 27% of the items that make up the TFP – predominantly the healthier options like whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and low-fat milk and cheese – in the neighborhoods surveyed in the report.

Congress is currently debating a second economic stimulus package that could provide effective, nationwide relief for low-income families. We need to take action now to make sure our elected officials know that anti-hunger and anti-poverty legislation needs to be a priority in the final days of the 110th Congress. Ask to meet with your U.S. House Representative or U.S. Senator (Clinton or Schumer) to urge them to increase funding for nutrition programs in the “Second Stimulus Supplemental Appropriations Bill.” Please contact Alexandra Yannias at (212) 825-0028, ext. 212 for more information about the Bill or about how to effectively lobby your representatives.


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One Comment leave one →
  1. Slice permalink
    September 17, 2008 10:45 pm

    I don’t find it very effective to ask for Clinton to increase funding for “second stimulus supplemental appropriations bill.” Not that she does not care for the city’s well being, but, since she’s still recovering from the loss of the democrat nomination, she might not be able to help us. For maximum effectiveness of our national well being, avoid Clinton; she might decline the funding to instead concentrate on her debt.

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