Nearly one-third of households on SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, still have to visit a food pantry to keep themselves fed, according to USDA data. Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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The federal food stamps program is working to make sure low-income Americans are getting enough calories, but those calories are less nutritious than what everyone else eats, research finds. The USDA is funding programs to try to bridge that gap, such as initiatives that allow food stamp recipients to use their benefits at farmers markets. Allen Breed/AP hide caption

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Several states are considering measures restricting how welfare benefits can be used. In Kansas, a bill on the governor's desk will bar recipients from spending their benefits on movies, swimming or casinos, or from withdrawing more than $25 per day from ATMs. Brownie Harris/Corbis hide caption

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On Welfare? Don't Use The Money For Movies, Say Kansas Lawmakers

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A new budget plan that calls for turning food stamps into a block grant program for states could affect stores that accept food stamps through an Electronic Benefits Transfer, or EBT, system like this one in Memphis. Thomas Hawk/Flickr hide caption

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Both Parties Agree The Food Stamp Program Needs To Change. But How?

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These wooden tokens are handed out to shoppers who use SNAP benefits to purchase fresh produce at the Crossroads Farmers Market near Takoma Park, Md. Customers receive tokens worth twice the amount of money withdrawn from their SNAP benefits card — in other words, they get "double bucks." Dan Charles/NPR hide caption

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How 'Double Bucks' For Food Stamps Conquered Capitol Hill

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Tokens representing $1, which can be used specifically for fresh fruits and vegetables, are displayed at a Electronic Benefits Transfer, or food stamp, station in the GrowNYC Greenmarket in Union Square on September 18, 2013 in New York City. Andrew Burton/Getty Images hide caption

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Cara Russo of Gettysburg, Pa., here with 9-year-old Shayla, one of her two daughters, has found success in a program geared to help struggling families navigate past some of the day-to-day obstacles that keep many poor. Pam Fessler/NPR hide caption

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A 'Circle' Of Support Helps Families Stay Out Of Poverty

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Darlena Cunha says that she wrote her essay about her family's temporary poverty so her twin daughters would learn not to judge people on government assistance. Courtesy of Darlena Cunha hide caption

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A Mother's Essay Challenges Assumptions About Poverty

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A woman and her daughter shop at a Greenmarket in New York City using Electronic Benefits Transfer, or food stamps. Government data show that fewer people were receiving the benefits in February 2014 than at the peak in December 2012. Andrew Burton/Getty Images hide caption

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Economic Upswing Has Fewer Americans Receiving Food Stamps

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States are taking an out provided by Congress to avoid cutting food stamp benefits to families, many of whom already depend on food banks like the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, Calif. Antonio Mena/Courtesy of Alameda County Community Food Bank hide caption

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States' Rebellion Against Food Stamp Cuts Grows

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The farm bill proposes a $1 billion cut to food stamps, which would affect nearly 850,000 struggling families who already depend on food banks like the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, Calif. Antonio Mena/Courtesy of Alameda County Community Food Bank hide caption

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Small Cuts To Food Stamps Add Up To Big Pains For Many Recipients

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The recent cuts in federal food benefits may be felt most in rural areas and the grocery stores that serve them. USDA hide caption

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Food Stamp Cuts Leave Rural Areas, And Their Grocers, Reeling

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