Trump administration proposes overhaul of food stamps - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Trump administration proposes overhaul of food stamps

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WSIL — In a new plan buried in the the White House's 2019 budget, the Trump administration proposed an overhaul of the nation's food stamps system.

It claims the plan will save taxpayers nearly $130 billion over a decade.

The proposal, called America's Harvest Box, would replace about half of the money more than 80 percent of low income families receive from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program with a box of non-perishable food, grown and produced in the United States.

J.R. Russell is the Executive Director for the Marion Ministerial Alliance, where he helps serve about 325 low-income families every month at the organization's soup kitchen and food pantry.

Russell believes the new proposed Harvest Box has several problems, such as a lack of fresh foods available, because everything sent would need to be non-perishable.

“This just looks like government insanity at its worst,” he said. “I'm absolutely floored that they would even consider this as a possible solution to a real problem.”

Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture say the program would be designed to get SNAP recipients healthy food in a cost efficient manner.

But opponents argue the plan does not take into account dietary or religious restrictions on food and that it takes away people's freedom to choose what they eat.

“To tell a family that you can't get this or you can't get that any longer, you have to eat this box of food, it's just wrong,” Russell said.

Business leaders say the plan would also hurt local businesses and grocery stores by significantly by significantly reducing their customer bases.

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