Federal food assistance, also known as Food Stamps, began as a temporary program in the 1930’s as part of the federal government’s response to the Great Depression. In the 1960’s federal food assistance became a permanent government service when President Lyndon Johnson signed the Food Stamp Act as part of the “War on Poverty.”
In October of 2008, the Food Stamp program was officially renamed as “SNAP” (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Many people, however, still refer to the program as Food Stamps, despite the fact that actual stamps are no longer involved. Recipients now receive an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card, which functions just like a credit or debit card at most grocery stores.
For a more detailed history of the Food Stamp program, please visit the USDA SNAP Website.