Recommendations From SNAP Participants to Improve Wages and End Stigma

We present views of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) from the perspective of participants.We are SNAP participants and academic researchers who have worked together for 11 years to understand, explain, and address food insecurity. SNAP is ensnared in much larger problems in US society related to the stigmatization of people who are poor and a lack of appreciation for the value and skills of their work. We encourage the public health community to think beyond SNAP, focus more assertively on wages and work supports, and replace our means-tested safety net with a new system of universal income that promotes equity, inclusion, and health for all. Although we offer recommendations to improve SNAP, the goal of most SNAP recipients has always been to move beyond the need for this program. The public health community can take the lead infinding more egalitarian, dignified, and effective ways to address poverty and food insecurity.

Witnesses to Hunger, Center for Hunger-Free Communities, members, Tianna Gaines-Turner and Joanna Cruz Simmons, and Children’s HealthWatch Principal Investigator, Mariana Chilton, are authors of this commentary.