From America the beautiful :
SNAP/Food Stamp (*) participation leapt to 31.5 million Americans in September 2008, according to figures released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture yesterday.
That means that over 10 % of the American population depends on food help !
The September 2008 increase was driven by economic factors, as well as by the impact of hrricanes Gustav and Ike. While huricanes Gustav and Ike propelled rapid increases in Louisiana and Texas, the core SNAP/Food Stamp participation rate continued to grow rapidly, at a pace that was similar to previous months, because of the recession. Forty-one states recorded increases over the prior month, and 48 states saw an increase in participation over the past twelve months.
Read : http://frac.org/html/news/fsp/2008.09_FSP.htm.
(*) SNAP is the acronym for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the new federal name of the Food Stamp Program.