Trump Plans To Revamp SNAP - To Include No Fresh Foods

One of its cost-saving measures is dubbed "America's Harvest Box", a box of all US-grown food items that will be sent out to anyone who receives more than $90 in SNAP benefits per month, approximately 81% of SNAP recipients. But consumer watchdogs question whether such a program would actually save money and have further doubts about the government picking out food for millions of Americans. Instead of receiving all of the funds on their government-issued preloaded food debit card, recipients would reportedly receive a box of food items like shelf-stable milk, grains, juice, pasta, cereal, beans, peanut-butter, canned meat, canned fruits and veggies and either poultry or fish.

Democratic lawmakers quickly took aim at the budget's SNAP proposal on Tuesday and voiced their concerns. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that it could supply these goods at about half the cost of retail, enabling it to reduce the cost of SNAP while still feeding the needy.

"If (Iowans) are getting less in terms of SNAP, they are going to need more from our pantries and meal sites and our other partners", he said. "So we're pretty excited about that", Mulvaney said during the briefing Monday. According to the administration, it could save the federal government $129 billion over the next decade.

The proposal was part of the Trump budget for the 2019 fiscal year, but will need approval from Congress if it would go into effect, NPR reported.

The White House has proposed a cut to the food stamps program in favor of a packaged food delivery system.

Representatives of grocery stores were also concerned, with the Food Marketing Institute, a trade organization, arguing that the program would be costly and inefficient.

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How they would distribute foods to people with specialized diets, or [to people in] rural areas ...

"So many kids rely on food stamps or SNAP and I can't see changing the program that feeds so many kids without knowing what the impact would be".

In Montana, a push in recent years has made SNAP benefits available at places like farmers markets so recipients could purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

Florida is third - behind California (No. 1) and Texas - in the nation for use of food stamps in 2016, having redeemed $5.1 billion in food stamps that year.

All Faiths Food Bank in Sarasota helps supplement groceries to 65,000 people in Sarasota and DeSoto counties and many of them have food stamps.

The reality of the Harvest Box is dystopian delivery compared to a meal kit, which has become a marker of middle-class luxury.

  • Sonia Alvarado