Contradictory Food Assistance Trends Suggest Eligible Persons Not Being Served

Between October 1994 and October 1998 food stamp participation in the greater Washington area declined 25.1 percent overall with declines recorded in all jurisdictions. Given the generally strong economy and welfare reform, some, but not all, of the decrease in food stamp participation was expected and might be taken to reflect a decreasing need for food assistance in the area. In contrast, however, participation in the free and reduced price lunch component of the National School Lunch Program increased 9.9 percent over the same period of time, suggesting increasing food needs among children from low-income families.