By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Donald Trump’s budget proposal includes a major overhaul of America’s food stamp program.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, gives a food allowance to those in need. But the president wants to cut costs, by delivering government-selected food right to a family’s front door.

It’s called a “Harvest Box”, for needy families who now use food stamps at the grocery store, like a meal-delivery service.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney compared it to the food delivery service Blue Apron.

“We thought it was a tremendous idea,” Mulvaney said, “so what we do is propose that, for folks who are on food stamps — part, not all — part of their benefits come in the actually sort of — and I don’t want to steal somebody’s copyright — but a Blue Apron-type program, where you actually receive the food instead of receive the cash. It lowers the cost to us because we can buy prices at wholesale, whereas they have to buy it at retail. It also makes sure that they’re getting nutritious food.”

Blue Apron is an upscale, fresh-food, single-meal, recipe delivery service targeting young working professional millennials.

That’s not a Harvest Box.

A Harvest Box contains packaged food, like shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, rice, canned fruits and vegetables, canned meat, and dried pasta — nothing fresh. It’s what a family would eat during the month.

And one more thing: a lot of people think families in the SNAP program are on welfare, and that they don’t work. It’s not true.

80 percent of families on food stamps were working the year before they received them, 44 percent of food stamp recipients are poor children, 12 percent are senior citizens, 11 percent are disabled people living in poverty.

Just how poor do you have to be?

A family of three needs to make less than $26,600 a year. They get about $254 dollars of food monthly, or about $1.40 per person, per meal.

SNAP families cannot use the benefits for alcohol, cigarettes, hot food, pet food, soap, paper products or household supplies.

Despite claims of food stamp fraud, there’s very little — only about 1.3 cents on every dollar.

Why upend it?

The White House estimates the “Harvest Box” will slash food stamp spending by $213 billion dollars over 10 years.

——————————————–

Here are some of the sources we used for this reality check:

White House Press Briefing

USDA: SNAP-Eligible Food Items

CNN: Food Stamps, What To Know

Business Insider

The Nation

iSpot.tv

Quora

USDA: A Short History Of SNAP

USDA: SNAP Participation Rates

Missouri Business: SNAP Myths And Reality

NPR

USDA: Report on Trafficking

USDA SNAP

Center On Budget And Policy Priorities: SNAP Basics

Comments (3)
  1. But who is covering the cost of the wages for the drivers, and transportation / delivery of the food boxes.? I think it will cost a lot more with this new plan.

  2. Don Schulz says:

    SNAP households spend 23% of their total food budget on soda, sweetened beverages, candy, sweets, ice cream, and snacks. That is 15% more than non-SNAP households. SNAP households spend 12% of their food budget on fruits and vegetables. That is 25% less than non-SNAP households.

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