The American tradition known as Thanksgiving dinner is not only costing families more this year than ever before, but more people are relying upon food stamps and EBT cards to pay for the annual celebration than at any time in history. In a new study by the Sunlight Foundation on Nov 21, over 47 million Americans this year will use EBT programs to pay for, or supplement their costs to put Thanksgiving dinner on the table.
This Thanksgiving, 42.2 million Americans will be on food stamps, according to the Economic Policy Institute. This is roughly the size of the populations of California and Connecticut combined.
Not surprisingly, feeding millions of Americans isn't cheap. The cost of the SNAP program last year reached $72 billion, the highest to date, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Since President Obama took office in 2009, the number of Americans applying for, and receiving food stamps has increased by more than 40%, and the cost to support the program has doubled. Over $82 billion is spent by the USDA for food stamps and EBT annually, with ten year estimates expected to rise to $770 billion. However, these costs do not take into consideration the rising costs of buying food, and the growing price inflation due to monetary policies.
A traditional Thanksgiving dinner is estimated to cost American families just short of $50 in 2012, and is an increase of 12% since 2010. Yet with more families out of work, no longer receiving unemployment, and forced to rely upon food stamps, fewer Americans will be enjoying the traditional dinner experience than ever before.
There are certain holidays that are vital to families and the welfare of being an American, and Thanksgiving easily ranks in the top three. But during difficult economic times, that tradition has meant even more to people as a means of forgetting hardships and economic woes, even if it is just for one day.
With the recession of 2007 never fully recovering, and more people having applied for food stamps than jobs created in that time, reliance upon EBT to purchase and fund this year's Thanksgiving dinner is an absolute necessity for many who simply wish to share in the holiday experience.