A Unique Food Assistance Program Serves American Indians

Food assistance programs contribute to the improvement of the nutritional and economic well-being of low-income Americans. Through general assistance programs, such as the Food Stamp Program, and programs designed to meet the needs of specific target groups, USDA is working to improve diets on Indian reservations by making available more nutritious foods and nutrition education. Although such programs have helped to improve dietary levels of low-income American Indian households, there are persistent indications that hunger, malnutrition, diet-related diseases, and other conditions symptomatic of chronic poverty remain prevalent on many reservations. In 1977, Congress established the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) to provide supplemental food to low-income households living on or near rural American Indian reservations as an acceptable alternative to Food Stamp Program benefits. Because of the remote and geographically dispersed locations of many reservations and other Indian lands, many otherwise eligible American Indian families have been unable to participate in the Food Stamp Program, because access to food stamp offices and grocery stores has been difficult. This article reports some information from a 1988 study commissioned by USDA's Food and Consumer Service (FCS) to assess the operation of the FDPIR and to identify the socioeconomic characteristics of the program's clientele. The results of this study (published in 1990) provide the primary source of data and specific information used in this article.

Issue Date:
Sep 09 1994
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Record Identifier:
Published in:
Food Review: The Magazine of Food Economics, Volume 17, Issue 3
Page range:

 Record created 2017-12-19, last modified 2018-01-22

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