How well can a family of four eat on just $68.88 a week? For more than 38 million Americans, it’s more than a matter of conjecture. With job growth and the economy still only sputtering along, a record number of Americans have turned to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the formal name for federal food stamp program. The national average for a family of four at the end of 2009 was $275.53 a month, or about $68.88 a week.



Joshua Morrison: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @


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33 Responses to “$68.88 a week: How to eat well on a food stamp budget”


    I dont mind people using assistance as needed for a period of time, BUT how bout a drug test before you get the assistance?? People need a drug test before employement so why not before getting assistance!!

  2. hazeleyes

    You never know what is lurking around the corner! Obama is just getting started! Watch closely! Stop judging everyone! He is bad news!

  3. John Q. Public

    There are many things that people do like paying taxes for. However, in a society, we sometimes must help whose at a time in their life when they need help. Why else life in a society? It’s not to the point yet that it’s everyboby for themselves, I hope anyway. Should we just do away with government and live in a society where only the strong survies? I don’t complain about paying taxes in order for other people’s children to attend school, nor for buying a hoveround wheelchair for the disabled, so why do some want to deny people the right to eat? Does not GOD provide the sunshine and rain for us to grow crops for us to eat?

  4. mom

    Sadly, I used to share your opinion on welfare recipients. Also sadly, we were reduced to receiving welfare assistance years ago when my husband lost his job. We both worked, but minimum wage jobs can not support a family, a rent payment, utilities and food not to mention medical.

    I hope you never have to experience being homelessness as we did for six weeks with three young children. I hope you never have a serious medical condition that takes years to pay off. I hope you never have to work for literally nothing because everything you earn is eaten up by the enormous debt to the hospital and doctors and because you are working you fall through the cracks and their is no help for you.

    The problem is not welfare. The problem is no decent paying jobs. And don’t tell me a college education is the answer. I know plenty of college grads who are working at the same minimum rate as the high school drop out! Instead of spending all our energy complaining about people who are going through a rough time, how about some concrete solutions to the unemployment disaster we are facing in this country?

  5. Lauudi

    family of 4:
    meal 1, 2, and 3, b, l, and s (breakfast, lunch, super)
    monday thru sunday
    day 1 – b.oatmeal & toast, l.soup, crackers and applesauce, s.hamburger helper, green beans, with rolls
    day 2 – b.eggs & toast, soup, p & j, s. dried beef gravy on toast, salad
    day 3 – b. cherios, applesauce, l. p & j with yogurt, s. hamburg gravy on rolls, corn, fresh strawberries
    day 4- b. your choice from above, l. bologna sandwich & peaches, s. tuna salad on bread and corn
    day 5- b. cherios & toast, l. soup and pears bread & butter, hamburgers and mac and cheese
    day 6 – b. oatmeal & toast, p & j with soup, s. pancake, eggs, and sausage
    day 7 – cherios & applesauce, p & j with soup, s. baked whole chicken, mashed potatos, gravy, green beans and rolls

    snacks – corn chips, ice cream, popcorn, cheese and crackers
    options- add more potatos, add more salads, light a candle, plan your even snack ahead of time
    make your grocery list…share your total
    it worked for my family of 5 for years

  6. Lauudi

    i thank God everyday for my job and ability to work, but I also get in line behind government assisted people buying steaks and pop. i would like to fuss, but too tired. hundreds of thousands of us are a heartbeat from losing a job or bad health…but abuse of our government assisted programs is unacceptable. lets help the people who need it. and shame on the ones that take and shouldn’t. and shame on the people who let them.

  7. Rayne

    To Ted, a lot of people receiving food stamps ARE working. Please check the stats with the department of job and family services. I agree many items should be restricted but who is going to moniter that, which requires money to have someone do that. So what do we save?. And those working and receiving are also paying taxes. Unfortunately jobs do NOT pay a livable wage. I have two associate degrees and have yet been able to find a job in my field. I am not lazy and my husband works. We have received food stamps and I have sent resumes to almost every place in town that is in line with my degrees. I recently took a minimum wage job because it is all I could find while I am still in school full-time working on my bachelor’s degree. I got this job through a friend. I lost my last job in February when my dad died. Not everyone receiving benefits is a lazy bum trying to live off the system. Maybe when Obama and the rest of our great governmental bodies decide that creating jobs is more important that the junk they are messing with, perhaps people can get back to work and in doing so reduce the welfare/assistance rolls.

  8. Ted Nugent

    The free food deal (stamps/credit card) should be limited to basic commodities. People out of work have enough
    spare time to scratch cook & bake meals. Limit the purchases to whole grains, beans, milk, whole chicken,
    etc. This gets momma off the couch and a chance to be creative and get some exercise, kids can learn too.
    The populace is therefore more prepared to survive when faced with extreme upheavals, be it a serious depression, enemy attack, earthquake or weather related calamity. That sack of grain you spent a pittance for
    will feed you for a month! With the present situation, the only alternative is to loot the supermarkets or die….
    as a society….we can do much better! Ted

  9. Don't hate the player hate the game

    I lost my job while I was pregnant no one wants to hire a pregnant woman and I haven’t been able to find a job since. Some people can’t travel out of town. I have been looking for a job and went back and got an stna license and still haven’t found work. So being on welfare is not just about being lazy it’s just not being lucky enough to find a job. So u shouldn’t be calling people trash because one of these days you might be unlucky too!

  10. just parent

    I agree some people could be only one step away from that very senario.
    yes there are people who do not rise above their circumstances and will always want a hand out. But until you walk a mile in others moccasins you need not judge so harshly, Some use the system as a stepping stone not a stone around their necks to keep them dragged down. And I agree that to get a really good job with good benefits you have to go outside of Mount Vernon to work. Lets bring some of that industry here to help our local people

  11. Susie

    Did you know food stamps can be used for “nutritional?” items such as Red Bull & ice cream? I don’t feel sorry for anyone trying to live on food stamps. I feel for the people still working, paying taxes to keep the baby mamas, and their no good, lazy baby daddys. There are a lot more of that going on than peope will admit. It’s a shame there are WORKING people worrying about keeping a roof over their familys head and food in their bellies, while the welfare trash do not have a care in the world.

  12. Miriam St. Jean

    EDK – that’s nice – you hired 40 people (out of what 3,000 plus looking for work) at a temp job with temp pay that offers no benefits and in a few weeks they’ll be looking for more work. To you people saying “get a job” – please list all the available job opportunities in this area, and show that all those “available” jobs will ensure the employment of everyone looking for work. That the wages will support a family.

    Oh, also, many people who work receive food stamps because the jobs in this community offer neither a living wage nor benefits.

    Get over yourselves naysayers. Your self-righteous “I’ve never been there, but I think I’ll judge you anyways” is annoying – to say the least

    Live in someone else’s shoes – just for a week…………..

  13. Knoxcat

    Right on JQ and 2 small! I know that about 800 people applied for about 50-60 jobs when Dairy Queen opened. Most people want to work and will do it even if it’s for less money than they got from assistance. That’s not to say there are a few bad apples in the barrel but I think we hear about them mostly from politicians who want to make a (negative) point. I don’t think anybody has yet found Ronald Regan’s “welfare mother” who drove around to 8 different welfare offices in her cadillac!!!!!

  14. sunshine

    “There but for the grace of God I go”. I hope none of you skeptics ever have to endure a job loss os serios illness. Anyone can be cut down due to things out of our control. Who ever thought GM in Mansfield would close shop?

  15. mom

    There are public internet access points at Libraries, Community Knox and other places. Don’t be so condemning of people using the internet. Most jobs now require you to apply on line.

  16. Joshua Morrison

    The story is on the website because it has video and other interactive elements. To try and answer your second question, the feature isn’t a “how-to” guide. It’s showing you how an Iron Chef, a gourmet chef and a food magazine editor would approach meals while on a “food stamp” budget.

  17. for real?

    $68.88 a week? wow I guess those of us that work and pay taxes should be upset over that one. We are a family of 4 and do not get public assistance we are the working poor! We can only wish we could spend that much a week on food! But then again we would spend it on food not Coke, chips and junk! That is the difference. Some people need a hand up up but when it is going on 4 and 5 generations that is plain lazy and working the system!

  18. EDK

    Looking for a job? Try a temp agency! My company has hired more than 40 people in the past 4 months. There are jobs out there, you just have to want to fill them.

    Why was this feature only on the net, and what does someone on welfare need the net when they can’t pay for food?

  19. Rayne

    Just because someone is receiving food stamps does not mean they are lazy and not working. A minimum wage job is not enough to support one person and two people working for minimum wage in a family of four cannot live on their wages alone. Actually, most people who are receiving food stamps do work. And only a few people who know the system very well and avail themselves of all available social services can live on welfare decently. The real problem is that the cost of living outweighs the wages someone can earn in my humble opinion. And just another tidbit, most people on social security is considered welfare as most people use up their benefits they paid in within two years. And the reason the government picked age 65 in 1935 is because most people did not live long enough to collect their benefits. And anyone receiving financial aid to educate themselves so they can become self-sufficient could also be considered welfare becuase it is funded by the government as is welfare and their programs. So when you are bashing the welfare system and the people on it, are you referring to the elderly and students as well?

  20. John Q. Public

    I have worked as a dairy farm worker for 18 years. During this time I worked 60 to 70 hours per week and during planting and harvest time we work about 110 hours per week. There is no overtime pay, only $8.00 per hour…also, no health care benefits. So, for people to complain about some people recieving food stamp benefits when if fact these people complaining make $50,000,00. a year sitting on their butts, therefore producing nothing but paperwork, have little to complain about others trying to survive on food assistance. How mean and inhuman can our fellow citizens allow themselves to decend to? Shame on you! You do not believe in GOD, and therefore, you shall be judged by HIM according to your own standards set by yourself.

  21. 2 Small

    I agree with knoxcat, I work for the city of Mt.Vernon from April to November,Last year over 700
    people applied for a 7.50 job. There are counties in Ohio with over 20 %unemployment rate.With the jobless rate growing in Ohio. Please tell where we might be able to find a job EDK ???

  22. Joshua Morrison

    This is an internet feature, it wasn’t published in the paper. It was a special report that I felt would be interesting to our readers. And it certainly has provided a forum on a lot of issues.

  23. Joshua Morrison

    This feature was posted yesterday and no, it wasn’t to put a thumb in the eye of those paying taxes.

  24. okillbite

    Get off welfare!!! Bad day to put this out thier for all of us who are sending in our tax payments.

  25. upset

    Why is this article in the paper at all? Some people withOUT food stamps have to make a budget work on less than this. Why is eveyone focused and feeling sorry for those on food stamps? For many on food stamps it is a way of life and a CHOICE. It is much easier to stay on assistance than get a job and support your family like you SHOULD! I am so tired of my money going to help those that are lazy and not worth helping in the first place.

  26. Alumni

    Well folks, just remember all this while you fund the Afganistan Union Oil Company pipeline. Yes, Omama will save you. “Hope—-change—-yes we can—-yes we did”

  27. Knoxcat

    It’s easy to get off welfare. Go get a job. Oh yeah, that’s also the hard part.

  28. Sandy Tanner says:

    Where do they get there figures.I know a family of four and there is no way they can live on 68 a week.And still have any left over.A family of two now days only get a 100 a month,dont they firgure that some people have to pay car ins and some even have car payments and other expansives,but no they dont concered that when appling for food stamps.Its all a big racket id say.And some people even have to pay for their meds too.

  29. EDK

    Maybe the paper should run an article on how to get OFF welfare. I don’t mind helping people but there has to be a limit. It is assistance not a lifestyle!

  30. ginnagirl

    would love to have that much just to eat on….it is better than nothing and I have nothing. Count your blessings.

  31. Miriam St. Jean

    One gallon of milk; one dozen eggs; 1/2 lb. of butter; one loaf of bread; one can of orange juice a week for a family of four? Yeah, those welfare people really are “livin” it up” Am hoping some who whine and moan and groan about how easy welfare recipients have it actually read the menus………………..

  32. hazeleyes

    With today’s food prices going up, one has to wonder how anyone can manage. If you are lucky enough to be able to have a garden, you can freeze all kinds of produce, also can. This helps with the family budget. Beef prices have gone out the window! I hear there is going to be an overall tax increase. People will not be able to afford much when this happens!