The United States’ food supply is so abundant that even after agricultural exports, it provides enough food to sustain everyone in the country twice over. Despite this impressive surplus, however, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that almost 15% of U.S. households were “food insecure” during 2008, meaning that approximately 17 million U.S. households were unable to afford enough food at some point during the year.
The United States currently funds close to seventy federal programs approved to provide domestic food assistance, the largest of which is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, SNAP offers a monthly benefit to low-income households with which to buy food. The program seeks to increase utilization of the country’s agricultural abundance by providing those in need of food assistance with aid to achieve adequate levels of nutrition. Although the USDA administers SNAP through its Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), actual benefits are distributed by individual states.