Today, food assistance for low-income individuals & families is under constant criticism, and budget cuts constantly threaten the Food and Drug Administration--the agency that works to protect our food from contamination and poor handling.
Meanwhile, the unemployed are punished in a variety of ways, and stereotyped as lazy good-for-nothings. Even as private sector job creation is weak, the unemployed face insults from political commentators, diminished unemployment benefits, reduced assistance for job re-training, coerced drug-testing, and employment discrimination.
However, there was a time where the humiliation of the needy was put on a back burner, and more productive & compassionate public policies were utilized. One of these policies was called the Works Progress Administration (WPA, 1935-43). The WPA hired the jobless, and provided food assistance to the needy (and Americans generally) in a number of ways:
1. The WPA created jobs for the unemployed, which meant the unemployed could finally earn money to feed their families. Jane Yoder, a woman who grew up during the Great Depression, said: "...my father immediately got employed in this WPA. This was a godsend. This was the greatest thing. It meant food, you know. Survival, just survival."
3. WPA artists created posters promoting nutritious foods:
10. The WPA created subsistence gardens in communities, so low-income residents could grow their own food:
(Jane Yoder quote from "Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression," by Studs Terkel, 1970. FDR quote from "American-Made," by Nick Taylor, 2008. Ronald Reagan quote from "Ronald Reagan: An American Life," by Ronald Reagan, 1990)