Community advocates react to proposed change to food stamp program

"America's Harvest Box" would be sent to about 80 percent of people who use food stamps, and would include items such as shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, cereal, pasta, and canned meat, fruit and vegetables. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney compared the package program to meal-delivery companies like Blue Apron.

The USDA has said that the program will save the federal government more than $129 billion in a period of ten years which is set to be driven by the unique purchasing power of the US government.

Chris R. Rediehs, St. Lawrence County's commissioner of social services, said he was concerned the changes would not create the savings that were hoped. The boxes would not include fresh fruits or vegetables.

Consumer advocates, however, questioned whether the federal government could save that much money by purchasing and distributing food on its own. The government can get the food at wholesale prices, he said, and "it also makes sure they're getting nutritious food".

He says SNAP is efficient because it is a "free market model" that lets recipients shop at stores for their benefits.

Which he says could be a health concern with so many food allergies.

"There's websites with recipes, there's nutrition education in the community", she said.

That program helps feed seniors in need in our area. Omilami asked. "And how do you address issues of people that need food but don't have a residence?" About 44 million people participated in SNAP each month in 2016, at an annual cost of $70.9 billion. "The goal of all these programs; SNAP, TEFAP, WIC, and the food pantries is to build people up when they're in a vulnerable state".

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A spokesperson with Florida's Department of Children and Families (DCF) confirmed with Breitbart News that the agency "has not received" any specific information about what the USDA guidelines for things like dietary restrictions would be for state agencies dealing with SNAP. "I keep my food stamp card in my pocket so I can eat everyday", Washington said.

"It's nearly like a prescription", he said.

"It's clear the SNAP program needs to be improved".

"I've been doing this for 20 years, and can probably count on two hands the number of times I've seen or witnessed it", he said. "Removing choice from SNAP flies in the face of encouraging personal responsibility", he said. "They don't want to be on that threshold". Many Democratic lawmakers and anti-hunger groups are blasting the proposal.

The budget, released Monday, simultaneously calls for deep cuts to those programs, significantly shrinking the overall spending for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and slashing funding for food stamps, officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. That 30-percent cut would cause at least 4 million people to lose access to the program, according to a projection by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Jason Kaplan, a spokesman for Sen.

Wilson says that change would impact food banks because they are already providing food to so many families in need.

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