Editor's note: Stacy Dean is the vice president for food assistance policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank that focuses on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income people.
In their attacks on the food stamp program, some Republican presidential candidates are leaving a deeply misleading impression of the nation's leading anti-hunger program. No one aspires to enroll, but for those who must, it is an essential lifeline that addresses one of the harshest impacts of poverty and unemployment - hunger.
The food stamp program, now officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provides about 46 million Americans in about 22 million low-income households with debit cards to buy food each month. Participants include families with adults who work in low-wage jobs, unemployed workers and people on fixed incomes, such as Social Security. About three-fourths of SNAP recipients live in households with children; more than one-quarter live in households with seniors or people with disabilities.
Read the full story on CNN Opinion: "Food stamp program a necessary lifeline"
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