There were 45,188,655 beneficiaries of the food stamp program in December 2015, the latest month for which data is available. The number declined by 265,216 from November to December.
The USDA has been tracking data on participation in the program since1969, when average participation stood at 2,878,000. Since then, participation in the program has increased by more than 1,470 percent.
The number of food stamp recipients first exceeded 45 million in May 2011. Since then, the number has consistently exceeded 45 million, hitting a record high of nearly 47.8 million in December 2012.
Residents of the Hawaiian Islands just breathed a sigh of relief – literally, as the deadline passed for Hawaii’s House Judiciary Committee to hear House Bill 849, relating to Right to Farm, that would force residents to succumb to pesticide spraying without any say. All the while, companies like Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta, and BASF use Hawaii land as a testing ground for GM crops.
Bill 849 amends Hawaii’s Right to Farm Act to ensure that counties cannot enact laws, ordinances, or resolutions to limit the rights of farmers and ranchers to engage in agricultural practices – including spraying with carcinogenic pesticides.
Hundreds of citizens called and wrote letters to state legislators urging them to stop giving Monsanto, one of the largest lobbyists in the Islands, to continue spraying pesticides, especially near their schools, homes, and hospitals.
Lorna Cummings Poe, a Kaua‘i resident whose daughter and granddaughters are impacted by pesticide drift in Kekaha on the island’s west side, said:
“We can no longer put the interests of industrial agriculture before the interests of our keiki [children] and ‘āina [land]. Today’s decision shows that we’re moving in the right direction. I am hopeful for the future.”
Wendee Crofoot lost her job as a fundraiser for a non-profit in 2011. After exhausting her savings and giving up her Mountain View, California, apartment she ended up working part-time as a restaurant cashier.
The low pay qualified her for food stamps,so she signed up. “It wasn’t something I imagined would ever happen,” said Crofoot, 46. “There just weren’t any jobs.”
During the 2007-2009 recession, state and federal governments actively encouraged people like Crofoot to take advantage of the aid. Millions did, and many are still claiming benefits. Enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the formal name for food stamps, remains near record levels, even as the unemployment rate has fallen by half.
“When unemployment was rising people said enrollment would fall sharply when things got better,” said Parke Wilde, an associate professor of nutrition policy at Tufts University in Boston. “That hasn’t happened.”
A teenage boy has allegedly been shot by police while holding a broomstick in Salt Lake City, sparking angry protests.
Witnesses told local media the incident happened at around 8.15pm on Saturday evening (3.15am GMT) near a homeless shelter in the US city’s downtown area.
Selam Mohammad said his friend was 16 and had been shot in the chest and stomach after he got into a fight with another person.