Sign The Petition

Healthy Food is Not Just for the Rich: ALL Families Deserve Access to Healthy Food

324,968 Supporters Sign our petition to ask the USDA to let people use their food stamps online and demand healthy food for everyone.

My name is Ashley. I’m 17 and I live in South LA with my parents and two younger siblings. Five years ago my mother was diagnosed with a rare thyroid gland disease. Since then, she’s had to get multiple surgeries, leaving her unable to work.

Losing the main breadwinner of the family overnight was devastating, and left us with no choice but to apply for food stamps to survive. Living on food stamps, we were faced with a hard choice: buy enough food to feed a family of five or buy the kind of healthy food my mom needs to fight her disease and stay alive.

We are not alone. 23 million people in the United States live in places where there is little or no access to healthy food, sometimes for dozens of miles. Why is our country not making sure that ALL families have access to healthy food? We all deserve the opportunity to live healthy lives.

The internet has made everything more accessible, but we still can’t buy healthy food online using our food stamps, and this needs to change.

Luckily, change is possible. Secretary Vilsack of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) can demand that all states implement a system so that families like mine can use their food stamps online to access healthy food.

Join me in urging Secretary Vilsack to allow people like my mom to use our food stamps online so she can see me, my brother and my sister grow up.

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Why should taxpayers pay for food for those who don’t want to work?

Actually, 76 percent of households that receive food stamp (SNAP) benefits include a child, or an elderly or disabled person—people who aren’t even eligible for employment. Further, a third of households on food stamps have at least one person with an earned income.

Is this program making people dependent on the government?

No, the average participant is only in the program for about 10 to 13 months. Although food stamp benefit periods can last up to three years, most healthy adults are limited to a three-month timeframe. From there, they need to submit a renewal application and get re-approved. Most are on the program for about three cycles before they can afford to get off. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, temporary access to food stamp benefits lifted 4.7 million Americans out of poverty in 2014.

Do recipients get hundreds of dollars a month to spend on whatever they want?

The average monthly benefit is $133.85 per person, or less than $1.50 per meal, per person. Benefits barely cover groceries—even with food stamps, one third of households still have to visit food pantries to supplement their food budgets.

Do taxpayers pay a lot to fund the food stamps program?

A person who earns a $50,000 salary actually only pays about $36 a year in taxes to support all food and nutrition assistance programs, including the school lunch program. That’s 10 cents a day.

Why do people on food stamps need to be able to use them online?

We are petitioning the USDA to allow food stamp recipients to use their benefits online so they can access healthy food even if they don’t live near a grocery store. More than 23 million Americans live in areas with little to no access to healthy food, called food deserts. People should be able to use their benefits online to buy healthier food at lower prices. Treating diabetes costs the medical system $245B annually, and the cost associated with heart disease is $444B a year. By enabling people to buy healthy food with their food stamps regardless of where they live, we can help prevent disease and save lives. Join us by signing our petition and asking the USDA to help make a change.