Working with the Food Bank of Western MA

Resource Economics interns Heather Pekarovich '15, Mark Van Orden '14, and Boris Gluz '14

Mark Van Orden '14, Heather Pekarovich '15 and Boris Gluz '14

Friday, October 4, 2013

Does the formula that determines SNAP benefits accurately reflect the experience of people in Western Massachusetts? 

This was the question that Resource Economics interns Heather Pekarovich '15, Mark Van Orden '14, and Boris Gluz '14 set out to answer in spring 2013 in collaboration with The Food Bank of Western MA. They found that the current formula used by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps) to determine the benefits of participants needs to be updated to capture the experience of people living in Western MA—particularly to reflect food and housing costs that are higher than the national average. 

Mentors for the interns’ work were Andrew Morehouse, executive director of The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, and Professor Julie Caswell (resource economics).