text by By Maya Rhodan
The bipartisan Farm Bill that President Obama signed into law on Feb. 7 will cut $8 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over the next 10 years. The cut is more like a snip when compared to the nearly $40 billion decrease in funding proposed by Republican lawmakers during the four years it took lawmakers to come to an agreement. For the subjects of this LightBox feature, however, and for the millions like them who depend on SNAP, every little bit that gets chipped away hurts. New York-based photographer Jeff Riedel spent days with each subject, capturing a glimpse into the lives of the 47 million people who depend on government assistance for food.
“When you see that these are really beautiful people, good people doing as much as they can to get by and it’s still not enough,” Riedel said, “you realize that it is easy for the government in all of their callousness to look at things as statistics and as numbers. But when you get in and see the real life humans dealing with real life problems . . . it’s a different sort of process.”