There are a number of widely-held misconceptions about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as Food Stamps, and those who receive benefits from the program.  Despite SNAP’s critical role in fighting hunger in America, some in the public health community have unfairly claimed that the government program is subsidizing obesity and should place increased restrictions on what low-income individuals and families can buy with SNAP benefits.

We know these misguided efforts will not address the complex problem of obesity. In fact, they will only create more misconceptions and further stigmatize SNAP recipients.  In an article published in the Washington Post, Jeanine Grant Lister, a writer, mom and former SNAP recipient, speaks out against proposed legislation that attempts to control what foods and beverages can be purchased with SNAP benefits.  From Lister:

“I remember well when we did qualify for a monthly EBT deposit, a whopping $22 — and that was before Congress cut SNAP benefits in November 2013. Like 70 percent of people receiving SNAP benefits, I couldn’t feed my family on that amount. But I remember the comments from middle-class people, the assumptions about me and my disability and what the poor should and shouldn’t be spending money on.”

Lister further notes that:

“In America today, being poor is tantamount to a criminal offense, one that costs you a number of rights and untold dignities, including, apparently, the ability to determine what foods you can put on the dinner table.”

The bottom line is: it’s not the government’s job to grocery shop for our families; it’s ours.  Politicians should focus on what matters most – education, jobs and the economy.  We can decide for ourselves what to put in our shopping carts.

For more information on how to keep politicians out of your grocery cart, visit