Step 1: Recognizing the problem / setting the agenda
Step 2: Formulating the policy
In 1961, the Food Stamp Program was reintroduced by President John F. Kennedy through food stamp pilot programs in several states. Prominent U.S. Senators actively associated with attempts to enact a food stamp program included George Aiken, Robert M. La Follette, Jr., Hubert Humphrey, Estes Kefauver, and Stuart Symington. In 1964 Isabelle Kelley, who was part of the four-person team that designed the new program, became its first director and the first woman in USDA to head an action program.
Step 3: Adopting the policy
Step 4: Implementing the policy
The Food Stamp Program required the purchase of “stamps” or coupons at benefit levels similar to what a household would normally allot to food expenditures. A “bonus” amount, which was determined based on a participant’s income level, was awarded to enable the purchase of a low-cost nutritionally adequate diet as defined by the Economy Food Plan. The federal government funded the program and licensed retailers, while the states authorized applications for food stamps and distributed the benefits. Mr. and Mrs. Alderson Muncy of Paynesville, West Virginia, were the first food stamp recipients on May 29, 1961. They purchased $95 worth of food using food stamps for their 15-person household.
Step 5: Evaluating the policy
Despite the phenomenal growth, the need proved to be greater. In 1968, CBS news aired a documentary titled "Hunger in America" that found severe cases of malnutrition in kids. That program caught the attention of Democratic Sen. George McGovern and Republican Sen. Bob Dole. They got the Senate to form a special committee to study the system. Finally, in 1977, a major revision was pushed through with the support of President Jimmie Carter. The 1977 program finally allowed the poorest of the poor to be given food stamps instead of having to pay for them. The program greatly expanded the number of people who were eligible while still cracking down on fraud. Major revisions were made to the program in the Food Stamp Act of 1977, including the establishment of uniform national standards of eligibility, the expansion of the program to minority communities, more federal support for the implementation of the program at the state level, and restricted access to benefits for students enrolled in a university.