Sodexo Foundation
Government Stimulus Boosts Food Stamp Benefits

Government Stimulus Boosts Food Stamp Benefits

Anyone following the soaring rate of Food Stamp use in this country over the last year wasn’t surprised to learn that the U.S. was in a recession. As of January 2009, more than 30 million Americans were receiving Food Stamps (now known as SNAP -- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)—near record numbers not seen since post-Katrina in 2005.

In Michigan, one in eight residents receives Food Stamps, a doubling of the caseload since 2000. In Arizona, which ranks third in the country in the number of jobs lost since 2007, requests for Food Stamps is rising at twice the national rate.

With so many Americans out of work and seeking food assistance, the Obama administration allocated $20 billion for increased SNAP spending as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, popularly known as the stimulus plan. Beginning in April, the value of the Thrifty Food Plan will increase an initial 13.6 percent (the increase phases out over time.) Here’s how the increase in benefits will affect individuals and families:

People in Household Increase
1   +$24
3 +$63
4 +$80
5 +$95
6 +$104

See complete USDA Chart

With $1.73 generated throughout the economy for every dollar spent on SNAP, boosting Food Stamp benefits was deemed a smart financial move by economists. Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody’s Economy.Com, observed, “The most effective proposals included in the House stimulus plan are extending unemployment insurance benefits, expanding the Food Stamp program, and increasing aid to state and local governments.” (The Economic Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, January 21, 2009) "If someone who is literally living paycheck to paycheck gets an extra dollar, it's very likely that they will spend that dollar immediately on whatever they need - groceries, to pay the telephone bill, to pay the electric bill," Zandi said..

back to top

April is a Month of Service with Sodexo Servathon

Sodexo ServathonWhen Sodexo launched its first Servathon in 1996 as part of the company’s STOP Hunger initiative, America was enjoying a period of relative economic vitality.  Unemployment was 5.4%, the housing market was booming, and, while more than 10 million Americans were deemed “food insecure”, the issue was low on most people’s radar screens.1 


That first year, thousands of Sodexo employees nationwide devoted a single day to community service, volunteering at food banks, shelters, and other hunger-relief organizations.

Fast forward to 2009 and hunger—in the U.S. and around the world—is an all too familiar concern for close to a billion at risk people.  And the Sodexo Servathon has never been more relevant or vital. Now in its 13th year, the Servathon has expanded far beyond its one-day length and domestic focus. The entire month of April is devoted to Servathon at Sodexo accounts worldwide. (Watch our video on Sodexo USA’s Servathon efforts)

Last year, more than 35,000 employees joined forces to donate more than 198,000 pounds of food to hunger relief organizations and serve 50,000 meals to hungry men, women and children. In 2009, employees from Sydney to Bucharest to Toronto will partner with NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) to serve food, raise funds, and participate in a wide variety of other hunger-relief activities.

With more than 36 million people now at risk for hunger in the United States, food stamp rolls at record numbers, and food banks struggling to keep up with demand, Sodexo USA employees are gearing up for an eventful Servathon month. In addition to the critical can drives, food donations, and meal preparation activities, employees will go the extra mile—in some cases literally—to raise money and awareness.

In Simsbury, CT, T.J. Alibrio, District Manager for Sodexo’s Senior Services division, is putting the final touches on a 2nd annual Walk Against Hunger to raise money for the Sodexo Foundation. This year, T.J.’s planning four walks for May 2 in East Hartford, CT, Utica, NY, Yonkers, NY, and Albany, NY.  T.J. said he’s inviting Sodexo employees, family members, clients and the general public to participate in the walks. “Sodexo is a member of these communities, and when our community is in need, we do everything we can to help out.”

Take Action
To participate in the Sodexo Servathon, visit
To donate to the Sodexo Foundation, visit

1 Measuring Food Security in the United States Prevalence of Food Insecurity and Hunger, by State, 1996-1998 Food and Rural Economics Division, Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Report No. 2

back to top

Fighting the Recession one Row at a Time

As the cold, hard ground softens and tender seedlings make their first tentative appearance, gardeners everywhere rejoice in the coming of spring. Americans have a long tradition of digging in the dirt, and a small backyard garden is a source of pride for millions of us. But with the economy in recession and the cost of food a daily concern, gardening is also a source of healthy and inexpensive food. According to the National Gardening Association, the number of homes growing vegetables will jump more than 40% this year compared with just two years ago. "As the economy goes down, food gardening goes up," says Bruce Butterfield, the group's research director. "We haven't seen this kind of spike in 30 years."2

For some gardeners, planting a garden is a way to fight hunger no matter what the state of the economy. Last year more than 25,000 gardeners donated over 1.4 million pounds of food to feed the hungry as part of the Plant A Row (PAR) for the Hungry campaign.  

PAR was launched nationally in 1995 by the Garden Writers Association of America to encourage donations of excess food to local food banks. The campaign has grown exponentially thanks to the writers’ media savvy, food bank activism, and gardeners’ hard work and compassion. 

Some gardeners plant a row for the hungry. And then there’s Michael Miller. Since 2004, he’s planted a 2,500 square foot fruit and vegetable garden and donated all the proceeds—2,500 pounds in 2008—to Food Gatherers, an Ann Arbor, MI food rescue program. Michael is District Manager for Sodexo School Services, in Saline, MI and was recognized by the Sodexo Foundation as a Hero of Everyday Life for his extraordinary commitment to hunger relief. Michael is already planning for his 2009 garden, which he hopes to expand to meet the growing demand in Michigan. “In some area school districts we’ve seen a 25% increase in the number of approved applications for free and reduced meals,” Michael noted. “Our state has been hit hard by the recession and anything I can do to help, I’ll do.”

Take Action
Participate in Plant A Row
Start a community garden

2 USA Today, February 20, 2009

back to top

Sodexo Foundation Impact Report 2008

The Sodexo Foundation was established in 1999 with a mission to be a driving and creative force that contributes to a hunger-free nation. Since our founding we have provided $11 million in grants to organizations and initiatives that fight hunger and its root causes.

With the United States in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the Foundation worked hard to maintain and even expand funding to grant recipients and our own initiatives. In 2008, thanks to the contributions of many individuals and companies, the Sodexo Foundation provided more than $1.85M in grants to 127 hunger-related organizations. Sodexo, Inc. continues to cover all administrative expenses of the Foundation, empowering us to utilize 100% of donated funds directly for grants to have the greatest impact on those in need.

Sodexo Foundation Funding

Grants by Initiative

As we prepare for a month of Servathon activities, a summer of Feeding Our Future, and a year of working with non-profit organizations to fight hunger and the conditions that contribut to it, we thank our donors, friends, and fellow Sodexo employees for their continuing support and commitment.

Take Action
To learn more about our 2008 grants and programs, download the Sodexo Foundation 2008 Impact Report (PDF)
To learn about all of the initiatives we develop and support visit
To make a donation in support of our mission visit

back to top

Article Archives

STOP Hunger eZine
The Sodexo Foundation issues an electronic newsletter designed to provide updates on the issue of hunger in the United States and to promote the mission and the work of the Sodexo Foundation. The newsletter offers informative summaries of research and news related to breaking the cycle of poverty in the United States in an effort to make this information more widely known and used.


Vol. 4 Issue 1: STOP Hunger eZine - March 2009

Special Edition: $5,000 scholarships for community service
Special Edition: Apply for a $5,000 scholarship for community service

Vol. 3 Issue 6: STOP Hunger eZine - November 2008
Vol. 3 Issue 5: STOP Hunger eZine - September 2008
Vol. 3 Issue 4: STOP Hunger eZine - July 2008
Vol. 3 Issue 3: STOP Hunger eZine - May 2008
Vol. 3 Issue 2: STOP Hunger eZine - March 2008
Vol. 3 Issue 1: STOP Hunger eZine - January 2008

Vol. 2 Issue 2: STOP Hunger eZine - November 2007
Vol. 2 Issue 1: STOP Hunger eZine - February 2007

Vol. 1 Issue 1: STOP Hunger eZine - November 2006