Statement on the Food Stamp Program before Senate Subcommittee on Agricultural Research and General Legislation

April 25, 1967


Washington, D.C.

When I was in Mississippi with the Subcommittee on Employment, Manpower, and Poverty, I saw conditions of extreme hunger. I saw people who eat only one meal a day or one meal every two days. I saw widespread and extreme malnutrition and seriously inadequate diets. Farm workers who in the past have had only a few months of work are now losing even that meager income as mechanization removes their jobs. These problems are not all in Mississippi . . . There are also many who are hungry in my state and throughout the country. This is why the food stamp program is so important, why it should be continued without the 20 percent state requirement imposed by the House Committee, and why consideration should be given soon to ways in which the program can be improved so that more of the poor, including those with no income at all, can maintain an adequate diet. This program is not a system of handouts. It requires the participating family to use some of its own income to purchase food and provides them with the opportunity to purchase more and better food for less money.