Food Stamps

Food consumption by needy households may be increased by providing cash transfers or by issuing certain quantities of food. These households usually consume at a price lower than the market`s. At the extreme, such quantities may be issued free of charge, as rice was during 1978/79. Cash transfers may be related to food, in the form of food stamps, for example. In Sri Lanka, and other countries in the world, regulations governing the food stamp scheme allow recipients to deposit unused food stamps in Post Office savings accounts (Work in America 2003). On the other hand, until January 1979, the food stamp scheme in the United States required that certain purchases be made from the recipient`s own funds before food stamps could be used. Nevertheless, at no time were encashment permitted. Conceptually, if the value of the transfer received is less than what the recipients spend on food, the proportion of an additional rupee spent on food, the marginal propensity to consume, should be the same whether the additional rupee is received from the subsidy transfer or from cash earnings. Thus, in respect to food stamps, this paper will explore the impacts that food stamps cut back have on low-income mothers in rural areas. The paper will also give a literature review on the cut back of food stamp with rural low-income mothers or women. Besides, the paper will discuss how the cut back affects single mothers in rural areas. The paper will conclude by giving a definition of rural low-income mothers, SNAP proposed cuts on low-income communities and poor individuals.
There are various impacts that food stamps cut back have on low-income mothers in rural areas. Rural areas are the areas that are not exposed to developments such as urbanization or industrialization. Most of the women in rural areas live in poverty and they survive on less than a dollar a day. One impact of food stamps cut back on low-income mothers in rural areas is that it makes it hard for them to maintain or manage their large households. Food stamp eligibility is determined primarily by size of income and number of people in the household. Thus, the greater the proportion of large households within the area, the larger will be the expected number of food stamp participants, and the larger will be the expected average ratio of trading area food stamp redemptions to total food sales. Therefore, most of the low-income mothers are barred by poverty and have an uphill task in managing or maintaining large households. This is even made worse by the large households found in the rural areas. Some households have eight to ten members and this is hard to manage if there is insufficient income (Fujiwara, 2008).
The other impact of food stamps cut back on low-income mothers in rural areas is that it interferes with the level of education and literacy among them. Education is linked to employability and level of earnings. Areas where many households` heads have no more than eight years of education are likely to have more food stamp households than other areas. However, a sufficiently high inter correlation with the income variables was found to preclude the use of both the educational and income variables (Schuldes, 2011).
Literature review
Several people have done on the cut back of food stamp with rural low-income mothers or women. Researchers have long examined the nutritional knowledge, behaviors, and habits of low-income mothers of young children. The findings have varied depending on the variables assessed, sample, region and methodology used. One of the studies by Almond (2011) and colleagues assessed the impact of food stamp program, which provided $13 billion to 13 million American households in 2007. Their study on the beneficiary households recovered a 7% reduction in low birth weight among whites, 5% among Hispanics and 11% among African American.
One of the researchers who have done research on the cut back of food stamp with rural low-income mothers or women is Katharine Ann Ball (2010). Her research indicates that parental attitudes particularly maternal attitudes, towards nutrition affect children`s exposure to foods, their habits, their portion sizes, the variety and amount of fruits, vegetables and meat eaten, and their preferences. Ball (2010) goes ahead by saying that this has been greatly affected by the cutback of food stamps. These effects have been seen to have the strongest influence during early childhood when the mothers act as the provider, enforcers, and role models. Additionally, the more maternal knowledge, positive attitudes, and motivation about nutrition and health, the better the child`s diet which suggests that a mother`s motivation can affect what she feeds her children.
Furthermore, mothers who are most knowledgeable about nutrition demonstrate the most positive child feeding practices such as offering balanced meals and nutritious snacks. Importantly, as a mother`s nutritional knowledge and attitude improve so does her child`s diet in that the fat intake decreases and fiber intake increases. Besides, gaps in maternal nutrition knowledge also widen. Adults are primarily responsible for food choices for young children yet, many mothers do not fully understand the foods and nutrients their children consume. Ball (2010) research also suggests that mothers underestimate energy intake in school-aged children by 7%. She also adds that data also show only 65% agreement in food items between observed (by an outside party) and recalled data (a 24-hour recall by the mother).This suggests that mothers do not know exactly what their school-aged children actually eat, which may also be true of younger children. This has been contributed to by the cut back of food stamp.
The cut back on food stamps has also affected single mothers in rural areas in several ways. Most of the single women in rural areas live below the poverty line. To begin with, cut back on food stamps has made it hard for single mothers in rural areas to manage or maintain their families. As said previously, food stamp eligibility is determined by the size of income and the number of people in a particular household (Mitchell 2008). For single mothers, their income is low. Besides, some single mothers have large households. Therefore, the cut back on food stamps has greatly affected the single mothers in rural areas. Secondly, the cut back on food stamps has affected single mothers in rural areas because it has led to an increase in unemployment. The increase in unemployment has in turn raised the living standards for the single mothers. For instance, white collar workers are less prone to unemployment, and historically tend to experience shorter periods of unemployment when they are furloughed. Vartanian, Houser and Harkness (2011) however, dispels these fears expressed by other researchers and indicates that 35-year data on 3848 young mothers shows that such fears are unfounded and that the young mothers who depend on food stamps are not any more dependent on the state than poor mothers who do not use food stamps.
Thirdly, the other impact of the cut back on food stamps on single mothers in rural areas is that there is regular inaccessibility to transport and communication systems. The fewer the cars available for regular use by households in rural areas, the more likely the households will shop within walking distance. The lack of a car is also an index of low income. Consequently, the higher the proportion of households in a trading area without access to a car, the higher the ratios of food stamps redemption to food sales for stores in that trading area likely to be. This in turn has great effects on single mothers in areas such as rural areas because the living standards rise drastically. The other impact of cut backs on food stamps on single mothers in rural areas is that it causes a significant decrease in the average food sales. Since most of the single mothers get their daily meals from trade, this will affect them significantly. This is because the income they receive from the sale of goods will decrease due to the cut backs on food stamps (Winne, 2009).
So as to clearly understand the impacts of cut backs on mothers and single mums in rural areas, a definition of low-income mothers would be vital. These are the mothers that have a relatively small income and are not able to sustain or maintain their children and families (Mitchell, 2008). The other key word to understand is SNAP. This is a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that was proposed in order to help salvage low-income communities.
In conclusion, cut back on food stamps have several impacts on low-income mothers in rural areas. Several researchers have also come up with researchers indicating that the cut back on food stamps has greatly affected lives of people in rural areas. The cut back on food stamps has also had a great impact on single mothers as discussed in the paper.
Almond, D., Hoynes, H., Schanzenbach, D. (2011). Inside the war on poverty: the impact of food
stamps on birth outcomes. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 43(2) 387-403.
Ball, K. (2010). Rural Low-Income Mothers` Perspectives On Children`s Feeding Practices. A
Dissertation presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Fujiwara, L. (2008). Mothers without citizenship: Asian immigrant families and the
consequences of welfare reform. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Mitchell, L. (2008). Corporal punishment and low-income mothers: The role of family structure,
race, and class in America. Amherst, N.Y: Cambria Press.
Schuldes, M. (2011). Retrenchment in the American welfare state: The Reagan and Clinton
administrations in comparative perspective. Berlin: Lit.
Vartanian, T., Houser, L. & Harkness, J. (2011). Food stamps and dependency: disentangling the
the short-term and long-term economic effects of food stamp receipt and low income for young mothers. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare 38(4) 101-121.
Winne, M. (2009). Closing the food gap: Resetting the table in the land of plenty. Boston:
Beacon Press.