Danielle Brown of Chicago has a one-year-old and a three-year-old. With food prices rising quickly, she is one of many people whose food stamps don't go as far as they used to.
"The consumer price index for food rose 5 percent last year, the highest gain in nearly two decades. It is especially grim news for the poor," according to the Associated Press.
"'Ain't got no food left, the kids are probably hungry,' said Brown, a 23-year-old single mother who relies heavily on her $312 monthly allotment of food stamps — a ration adjusted just once a year, in October," according to the AP.
26.1 million people received food stamps as of February 2007; by February of this year, that number had increased to 27.7 million. The Agriculture Department predicts that the number will reach 28 million by next year.
"For Lynda Wheeler, who receives $281 in food stamps each month, the rhythm of life has been one of shopping for food, running out of food and then turning to churches, food pantries and friends for help. And all the while, she is doing things like cutting milk with water to make it last a bit longer," according to the AP. Wheeler has a two-year-old daughter and a 14-year-old son.
But food banks such as the one Wheeler visits are feeling squeeze by increased costs, too, and many have had to give less food out to individual families. "Higher fuel costs and commodity prices have sliced into private donations" to food banks, according to the AP. For more on how the increasing cost of food has been affecting food banks, see Rising Food Costs Lead More People To Food Banks.
"Between March 2007 and this year, a gallon of milk jumped from just over $3 a gallon to nearly $3.80, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During the same period, eggs climbed from about $1.60 a dozen to $2.20. Bread, chicken and tomatoes are all more expensive than last year," according to the AP.
Many food stamp recipients are purchasing "soda pop, bags of cookies and chips—much of it cheaper than healthier food," according to the AP. They "are doing what they can to stretch their shrinking buying power."
For more on rising food costs, see Global Food Prices Up 40 Percent Since Mid-2007.