from thestar.com: In what is clearly the country’s most troubled period in modern times, a Food Stamp Nation-within-a-nation is swelling to proportions that seemed unthinkable five years ago. In 2006, there were 26.7 million people on food stamps in America. By September 2011, that number had grown to a record 46.3 million, bigger by far than Canada’s population of 33 million, and equal to that of Spain. In fact, if the Americans using food stamps constituted a country, they would be the 27th largest nation in the world. Nowhere is their urgent need more obvious than in the aisles of America’s best-known retailer. In the first minutes of each month, food stamp purchases at 24-hour Wal-Marts across the country surge as Food Stamp Nation drives through the dark to purchase sorely needed food.