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White House wants to deliver food to the poor, Blue Apron-style
14 February 2018, 06:46 | Colleen Roy
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White House OMB Director Mick Mulvaney calls the boxes a "Blue Apron-type program" in reference to the meal kit boxes that haven't performed well since its debut in 2017.
The Trumpadministration's new proposal would replace the monthly cash benefits many American families depend on with a box of food. It would affect households that receive at least $90 a month in food stamps, or roughly 38 million people.
"It maintains the same level of food value as SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] participants now receive, provides states flexibility in administering the program, and is responsible to the taxpayers". The current SNAPprogram allows recipients to use their benefits at their discretion at any approved food retailer.
The White House said the plan would save the USA almost $130 billion over 10 years, and reduce the potential for EBT fraud.
Instead of fresh fruits and vegetables, the program would prioritize canned goods.
The proposal at hand was tucked deep within the Trump administration's 2019 budget request released Monday.
Instead, BuzzFeed News was referred to this line from a one-page handout about the program: "States will be given substantial flexibility to distribute these foodbenefits to participants". Jennifer Hatcher, the FMI's chief public policy officer, said that grocers, the USDA and Congress had worked for years to "achieve a national system, utilizing existing commercial infrastructure and technology to achieve the greatest efficiency, availability and lowest cost". SNAP is already flexible and provides recipients with healthy food options, he said.
Perdue called the proposal a "bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food to people who need assistance feeding themselves and their families". The nonprofit added that the "mind-boggling hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of cuts and the ill-conceived programmatic distortions, if adopted, will mean much more hunger and poverty, worsened health, decreased ability of children to do well in school, and lower productivity for America". The volunteers were busy, but say they're anxious about proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. On Monday, the Food Marketing Institute, a trade association for grocery stores, condemned the Harvest Box proposal as expensive, inefficient and unlikely to generate any long-term government savings.
Roberts said, "The proposed changes would be absolutely devastating to the approximately 118,000 food insecure people we serve here at Tri-State Food Bank".
Cuts to foodsnaps and other programs like it typically face a tough fight and could be removed by the agriculture committees, who typically take up any changes to the program in the Farm Bill that is reauthorized every five years.
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