Trump wants to replace some SNAP benefits with food box

USDA Eyeing Changes To Federal Food Benefit Program That Would Give States More Control | Harvest Public Media

The Trump administration is proposing replacing a portion of the federal food stamp program with actual boxes of food delivered to recipients' front doors, putting the US government directly in charge of what goes on the dinner plates of more than 16 million low-income households.

Under the USDA America's Harvest Box proposal, all households that receive $90 per month or more in benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also known as food stamps) would receive a package of "nutritious, 100-percent U.S. grown and produced food", the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced.

People who get what used to be called food stamps would lose the ability to choose some of the food they buy, but proponents say it would be a healthier program and save billions of dollars.

It was announced Monday the the new budget proposal from the Trump administration included drastic changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, (better known as SNAP, or the old term food stamps) dropping numerous items beneficiaries receive in an effort to reduce costs. Our grocery list included shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables. The remainder of their benefits would be given to them on electronic benefit cards. That document shows the SNAP program will be cut by $5.26 billion in the 2019 budget compared to the 2017 cost.

"What they're trying to do is demean these people", said U.S. Rep. David Scott, D-Atlanta, a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee who served with Perdue in the Georgia Senate in the 1990s.

Brooklyn residents receive free food as part of a Bowery Mission outreach program on December 5, 2013.




It's being called America's Harvest Box.

Mitch Gruber, Chief Programs Manager at Foodlink says logistics alone, the plan would be hard to accomplish.

"Millions of Americans are in a tragic state of dependency on a welfare system that does not reward work, and in many cases, pays people not to work. The proposal to cut SNAP is deeply troubling", said Kate Maehr, executive director of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, on Tuesday.

Consumer advocates, however, questioned whether the federal government could save that much money by purchasing and distributing food on its own.

She continued: "Perhaps this proposal would save money in one account, but based on our decades of experience in the program, it would increase costs in other areas that would negate any savings".

Knott also said that the program is created to help vulnerable populations like veterans returning from combat or seasonal workers who would lose benefits if they aren't working for several months.

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