Expansion of the Food-Stamp Plan

January 10, 1940

Report Outline
Growth of the Food-Stamp Experiment
Progress of Stamp Plan Since Initiation
Potentialities in Expansion of Stamp System

Growth of the Food-Stamp Experiment

Initiated in Rochester, New York, May 16, 1939, the J. Department of Agriculture's food-stamp plan for distribution of surplus foodstuffs among W. P. A. workers, relief recipients, and certain other groups had been extended by the end of the year to a score of areas of varied size in different parts of the country. Its early introduction in a dozen additional areas had been announced, and officials of the Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation, which administers the plan, had indicated that the scheme will be in operation in a total of about 100 communities by the end of June, 1940. In the meantime, the cordial reception given to the plan, not only by persons who were thus enabled to expand their food budgets, but by members of the grocery trade and local business interests stirred discussion of its possible eventual application on a national basis.

Aims of Stamp Plan for Distribution of Surpluses

Since its organization as a Delaware corporation in 1933, the Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation has been engaged, among other activities, in distributing to needy persons on relief stocks of foodstuffs acquired in the course of surplus-removal operations. By this program it has sought “to bridge the gap between price-breaking surpluses and human hunger.” The food-stamp plan, which has been accompanied as yet by no curtailment of the volume of purchases of surplus commodities by the F. S. C. C. for direct distribution, aims to accomplish the same purpose but to do so by utilizing the normal channels of trade and commerce. Judging by the experience to date, the plan is more satisfactory, alike to the recipients of surplus foods and to the grocery trade, than the method of direct distribution.

The food-stamp program is not yet a factor of large importance in the removal of price-depressing surpluses. If plans for its continued extension are earned out, however, it may eventually become an influential instrument for the accomplishment of that objective in the case of agricultural products to which the plan can be effectively applied. Reporting, August 8, on the favorable showing already made in Rochester and other cities, Secretary of Agriculture Wallace said: “If further studies continue to show encouraging results, the food-stamp plan may develop into an extremely effective national program through which to move surpluses of those agricultural products for which there is an elastic demand, at the same time providing more food for those of our people who now have inadequate diets.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Aug. 2010  Social Welfare in Europe
Aug. 03, 2001  Welfare Reform
Dec. 06, 1996  Welfare, Work and the States
Sep. 16, 1994  Welfare Experiments
Apr. 10, 1992  Welfare Reform
Oct. 10, 1986  Working on Welfare
Mar. 09, 1984  Social Welfare Under Reagan
Apr. 17, 1981  European Welfare States Under Attack
Dec. 09, 1977  Welfare in America and Europe
Nov. 21, 1975  Future of Welfare
Dec. 20, 1967  Welfare Reform
Jun. 08, 1966  Guaranteed Income Plan
Oct. 04, 1961  Public Welfare Policy
Mar. 09, 1954  Worker Welfare Funds
Jul. 20, 1950  Welfare State
May 07, 1947  Union Welfare Funds
Jan. 10, 1940  Expansion of the Food-Stamp Plan