The news of an increase in Americans struggling to afford food also comes as a number of government programs intended to provide food assistance are facing possible reduction, which Gallup says may mean that "even more Americans may struggle to afford food in the immediate future."
First, the budget cuts known as sequestration limit federal government funding that went toward food banks, Cornia said. Also, automatic cuts to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, informally known as food stamps, are set to go into effect in November, which will cut benefits for all food stamp recipients. Congress is also debating other cuts to food stamps — a proposal led by Eric Cantor, R-Va., would cut the program by $40 billion over 10 years.
"There’s sort of this perfect storm that’s brewing about low-income folks having enough to eat," Cornia said.
Atkinson said that the Congressional effort to cut the food stamp program is driven by a true desire to "weed out the fraud that they see and those using food stamps who are not entitled," but that such efforts might lead to cutting off people who are legitimately deserving.
Americans are generally supportive of food assistance programs that go to those who are truly in need. According to a recent Fox News poll, 94 percent of those surveyed were OK with food stamps going to a "laid-off worker who wants a job and doesn’t have the money to feed his family," but 91 percent had a problem with food stamps going to an "unemployed musician who doesn’t want to take a regular job which will pay him enough to live on."