Trump proposes dramatic changes to food stamp program


Instead of a debit card style system the President wants to deliver food boxes to recipients similar to commercial services like blue apron.

The administration says the proposed budget for 2019 would cut the SNAP program by $17 billion.

The box, coined as "USDA America's Harvest Box", would include food grown by American farmers including milk, juice, cereals, pasta, canned produce, and more, according to the administration's proposal.

The proposed transformation of the nation's food stamp program brings up logistical questions about distribution and transportation; recordkeeping and security.

The plan is said to save the government money and provide families with more nutritious options than what the food stamps now provide.

According to information released by the USDA, it would work like this: Those who take part in SNAP and receive $90 a month or more in benefits would get a box filled with shelf-stable items, like soup or peanut butter. The proposal puts the United States government directly in charge of what kind of food ends up on the dinner tables of SNAP recipients, and it's causing some controversy.

The Food Marketing Institute, which has grocery stores and pharmacies as members, challenged the idea that food boxes would save money.

There are many who are concerned about how fruit and vegetables will remain fresh in these boxes and how people with dietary needs will receive what they need.

Gruber also says they send educators into community to help empower people with the tools to shop healthy on a budget, something this plan would counteract.

The food bank distributed more than 48 million pounds of food to more than 450,000 people a year ago.

In the proposal, the Trump administration said they plan to share relevant data with states while also holding them accountable.

"Overall I think we need to look at an individuals situation. They're going to feel the preset boxes, the limited options".

"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", the institute said on its blog. "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".