The new food stamp user might look a lot like you

40 million people collecting SNAP food stamps
40 million people collecting SNAP food stamps

This recession may have blown away forever the preconception that food stamps are used only by the chronically indigent. As of March 2010, more than 40 million Americans received help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the new name for the food stamp program. Many of these people are professionals or blue-collar workers used to paying their own way, and some are even college students. Some 6 million of these people, according to The New York Times, have no other source of income.

Among the new recipients is Ed Murrieta, former restaurant critic for the Tacoma News Tribune. When his restaurant review website failed to bring in enough income to support its cost, Murrieta was left with an income of only $200 a month. Ironically, the food and restaurant guy was forced to apply for food stamps.

WalletPop talked via e-mail with three other people who have found themselves using SNAP for the first time; their backgrounds may surprise you.