Some SNAP benefits could be replaced with food boxes

President proposes box of food to partially replace food stamps

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"I think that it's fraught with a number of problems and issues", said Jennifer L. Jones, Lewis County's commissioner of social services.

The Trump Administration announced proposed changes to the SNAP program on Monday, which included some of the recipients' benefits being used in the form of a food package, instead of a dollar amount being loaded onto a debit card. The program calls for delivering boxes of shelf-stable food like cereal, peanut butter, beans and canned vegetables in lieu of half the electronic benefits for most households that depend on federal assistance. Milk Mulvaney who now serves as the White House Budget director said that the program will be similar to the meal-kit delivery service which has for years proven to be very dominant. The USDA's budget proposal says that the agency plans for 1.4 million fewer people to receive benefits in 2019. The White House said the plan would save the US almost $130 billion over 10 years, and reduce the potential for EBT fraud. People gotta eat. It definitely helps me. The boxes would not include fresh fruits or vegetables.

"My oldest child is a type one diabetic, so are y'all considering her needs for that?"

The supplying of the SNAP boxes also raised questions for Mrs. Jones, given the rural nature of the north country.

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"This is MS, we have a lot of people with high blood pressure and diabetes, a lot of canned food is high in sodium and not the healthiest, unfortunately", McCullen said. But there are still a lot of questions about whether the idea would work.

Cuts to food snaps 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.

"Many people are concerned about how this idea could be implemented", Waide said.

"There's websites with recipes, there's nutrition education in the community", she said. Families in the program who receive about $90 a month would receive a package of US grown and produced food. "If you work the night shift and your only time to get the food is in the middle of the night, our grocery stores are open for you". About 44 million people participated in SNAP each month in 2016, at an annual cost of $70.9 billion.

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"If it went through, of course it's going to have an impact", he said. People getting that aid would lose much of their ability to choose the food they buy.

Smaller convenience stores in the Wilmington area, who wished to remain anonymous, said the change would reduce their sales, but to a lesser degree than food stores.

"When you get a job, that's not the end of the story, that's often where the story begins", said Heather Hahn, senior fellow in the Center for Labor, Human Services and Population at the Urban Institute.

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