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Grayson Brown
Grayson Brown

Can You Buy Half A Book Of Stamps

But is this really the smartest move to make? Does it still make sense to find a book of stamps when you know prices of postage are going up in a year or two? How many stamps are you getting in a book and should you pick up a book or two?

can you buy half a book of stamps

When you purchase postage for first-class mail you are going to be purchasing the stamps that all of us are familiar with, the kinds of stamps that you stick at the top right-hand corner of an envelope before you drop something in the post. The stamps come in a variety of different designs, with the USPS constantly releasing new designs, new collections, and new stamp books all the time.

With first-class postage set at $0.60, and with 20 stamps included in every standard first-class stamp book, you can expect to spend $11 on a book of stamps right now. The easiest place to purchase a book of stamps from is your local post office, especially if you want to purchase standard or Forever Stamps that are available in a variety of the designs we mentioned earlier above.

Of course, there are other places that you can purchase stamps from as well. Grocery stores and pharmacies almost always have stamp books available on hand, as do a lot of third-party shipping companies and organizations.

Third-party shipping and delivery locations often have USPS first-class stamps available for sale as well. The UPS Store and FedEx might not have you covered in this department, but organizations and businesses that have modern mailboxes or cover shipping for all of the major organizations regularly have first-class stamp books on hand for you to purchase.

The idea for the first Food Stamp Program (FSP) is credited to various people, most notably Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace and the program's first Administrator Milo Perkins. The program operated by permitting people on relief to buy orange stamps equal to their normal food expenditures. For every $1 worth of orange stamps purchased, 50 cents worth of blue stamps were received. Orange stamps could be used to buy any food. Blue stamps could only be used to buy food determined by the Department to be surplus.

The first recipient was Mabel McFiggin of Rochester, New York on May 16, 1939. The first retailer to redeem the stamps was Joseph Mutolo, and the first retailer caught violating the program was Nick Salzano in October 1939. Over the course of nearly 4 years, the first FSP reached approximately 20 million people at one time or another in nearly half of the counties in the United States, peak participation was 4 million, at a total cost of $262 million. The program ended in the spring of 1943 "since the conditions that brought the program into being--unmarketable food surpluses and widespread unemployment--no longer existed."

The Eisenhower Administration never used the authority. However, in fulfillment of a campaign promise made in West Virginia, President Kennedy's first Executive Order called for expanded food distribution and, on Feb. 2, 1961, he announced the initiation of Food Stamp pilot programs. The pilot programs would retain the requirement that the food stamps be purchased, but eliminated the concept of special stamps for surplus foods. A Department spokesman indicated the emphasis would be on increasing the consumption of perishables. Isabelle Kelley, who was part of the four-person team that designed the new program, became its first director and the first woman in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to head an action program.

Mr. and Mrs. Alderson Muncy of Paynesville, West Virginia, were the first food stamp recipients on May 29, 1961. They purchased $95 in food stamps for their 15-person household. In the first food stamp transaction, they bought a can of pork and beans at Henderson's Supermarket. By January 1964, the pilot programs had expanded from eight areas to 43 (40 counties, Detroit, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh) in 22 states with 380,000 participants.

In April 1965, participation topped half a million. (Actual participation was 561,261 people.) Participation topped 1 million in March 1966, 2 million in October 1967, 3 million in February 1969, 4 million in February 1970, 5 million one month later in March 1970, 6 million two months later in May 1970, 10 million in February 1971, and 15 million in October 1974. Rapid increases in participation during this period were primarily due to geographic expansion.

Recognition of the severe domestic hunger problem in the latter half of the 1980s led to incremental improvements in the FSP in 1985 and 1987, such as elimination of sales tax on food stamp purchases, reinstitution of categorical eligibility, increased resource limit for most households ($2,000), eligibility for the homeless, and expanded nutrition education.

EBT helped cut back on food stamp fraud by creating an electronic record of each food stamp transaction, making it easier to identify violations. The rate of trafficking (primarily the exchange of food stamps for cash) went from nearly 4 percent in the 1990's down to around 1 percent after EBT was fully implemented.

I looked at the crisp new Green Stamps and was immediately awash in nostalgia. My parents collected these. Dutifully. I remember, back in the 1960s, helping my mother fill those flimsy booklets, licking whole evenings away until my tongue was a sticky mass. In my juvenile mind, of course, savings stamps were the ultimate in getting something for nothing. "FREE GREEN STAMPS" read the sign in our local A&P. Free! What more could one ask?

I embarked upon my new venture with an enthusiasm that knew no bounds. Every day I would rush home from school and ask my mother what she needed at the A&P. Sometimes the pickings were good: a full bag of groceries. At other times she had to strain to think of something she needed. But no matter, I was ready to rocket off on my bike to pick up that scallion or packet of yeast - and my Green Stamps, which I carefully applied to the book I kept in the top drawer of my dresser.

When I wasn't shopping or going to school, I spent much of my free time immersed in the Green Stamps catalog, ogling the baseball gloves, snorkeling equipment, roller skates, and yes, new bicycle that could be mine if only my ardor for collecting the stamps didn't flag.

The thing was, I soon learned that it took an awfully long time to fill a book of stamps. I had been shopping like a lunatic for my mother for three months and still had only half a book. So I decided to pick up the pace by offering to shop for neighbors as well, declining their tips in favor of the coveted Green Stamps.

After some eight months, during which I learned the lay of the A&P aisles better than any other 10-year old on earth, I finally managed to save a whopping 1-1/2 books of Green Stamps. It wasn't nearly enough for a bike or a baseball glove; but it was exactly enough to buy a fiberglass Shakespeare spincast fishing rod.

And so, on a warm spring night, my parents drove me to the redemption center where I found that, even with kids, the Green Stamps people were good for their word. I handed them my book-and-a-half of stamps, and they presented me with a brand-new fishing pole. That was in 1964.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- To be worry-free about having enough food is not the norm in the United States, says a Cornell University sociologist."Rather, the need to use food stamps is a common American experience that at least half of all Americans between the ages of 20 and 65 will face," says Thomas A. Hirschl, professor of development sociology at Cornell who has completed a study of food stamp use.Race and education, Hirschl says, have dramatic links to food stamp use: More than 85 percent of African Americans will use food stamps some time between the ages of 20 and 65, compared with 37 percent of white Americans; about 64 percent of adults with less than 12 years of education will use food stamps, compared with 38 percent of adults with 12 or more years of education.The study, co-authored with Mark R. Rank, professor of social work at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, will be published in the December 2004 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior . The findings were presented at the Society for Nutrition Education annual meeting in Philadelphia in July 2003.Looking at the two extremes, the researchers found that about one-quarter of white males with 12 or more years of education will use food stamps, while more than 90 percent of black females with less than 12 years of education will use food stamps some time between ages 20 and 65."We also find that while the use of food stamps is often brief, of those who have used food stamps once, about three-quarters will use them again in a different year," says Hirschl. "These findings are in sharp contrast to the belief that the use of the nation's food nutrition safety net is something that happens to someone else and is atypical of the American experience. Rather, they indicate that Americans have a substantial need and use of food stamps, and they suggest a significant risk of food insecurity across the life course." Food insecurity is defined as the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the acquisition of acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.The researchers merged 30 waves (1968 to 1997) of the nationally representative Panel Study of Income Dynamics data set to analyze 260,000 "person years" of information on food stamp use, defined as an individual in a household receiving food stamps sometime during the year."The patterns that emerged from our analysis are particularly troubling in light of the fact that food insecurity, along with hunger, have been shown to be closely related to various health problems, including an increased risk in the development of chronic diseases, impairment of psychological and cognitive functioning among children and a greater likelihood of self-reporting health status as poor," report Hirschl and Rank. "The fact that at least four out of 10 Americans will experience food insecurity at some point during their adulthood would appear to represent a significant public health cause for concern."The findings show that many Americans rely on food stamps to help them through periods of economic turmoil." Yet ironically, the food nutrition safety net that was designed to help alleviate food insecurity and hunger has been under attack in recent years and is threatened by proposals to reduce and restrict enrollment," says Hirschl.The research was supported by a U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded research development grant administered through the Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.Related World Wide Web sites: The following sites provide additional information on this news release. Some might not be part of the Cornell University community, and Cornell has no control over their content or availability.oThomas A. Hirschl _profile.cfm?FacultyID=46 041b061a72


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