PBS: Portraits of hunger: Stories of Americans on food stamps

February 17, 2012

By William Brangham

The number jumps out at you: More than 46 million Americans — one in seven of us — gets help from the federal government to feed ourselves and our families.

 

  

The “food stamp” program — they’re not stamps anymore, by the way — has been hailed as a key element of the safety net. But a number of the Republican presidential candidates say the president’s support for food stamps and other social programs only promotes dependency.“We actually think work is good,” Newt Gingrich has said. “We actually think saying to somebody, ‘I’ll help you if you’re willing to help yourself,’ is good.”

If you’re surprised at how many Americans receive help in buying food, you may be even more surprised who they are. As it turns out, millions of Americans with jobs also need the help.

Watch Portraits of Hunger on PBS. See more from Need to Know.