You'd think the state would be looking to help people get off food stamps. Instead, it's spending millions of dollars on "outreach" aimed at enrolling even more beneficiaries into the program. Among the non-profits receiving grants for food stamp "outreach" are the United Way of New York City, which got $4.5 million, Year Up, Inc., which got $1.5 million, and Project Hospitality, Inc., which got $1.5 million.
Some of the food stamp recipients may be so elderly, ill, or disabled that they have no hope of ever feeding themselves without government assistance. That's sad, and those people, and their children, if they have any, should certainly be reached out to. And some people who are between jobs may do better in their job search if they and their families are not hungry.
That said, there's probably a case for matching every dollar spent on food stamp "outreach" with a dollar, or more, on trying to get people off of food stamps and into jobs that allow them to feed themselves. Some of these nonprofits probably do that too, and maybe even with state grants. But it's certainly possible to encounter state and local officials with the attitude that food stamps are free money from Washington, and the more of it captured by the residents of the given state or local government, the better. It goes to the question of how the government or non-profit antipoverty workers measure their success — by counting how many people they helped sign up for food stamps, or by counting how many people they helped get off food stamps?