Rattlers stance on 2019 USDA Food Package Proposal

By|Ke’Neesha Weaver

Donald Trump and his administration wants to cut out food stamp assistance and instead give lower income families food boxes every month. Trump administration would be sending a box of canned goods that has likened to like Blue Apron, a high-end meal kit service.

The proposal was announced Monday February 12th, that low-income Americans who receive at least $90 a month would get about half of their benefits in the form of a USDA Foods package.

The food box proposal, called America’s Harvest Box, would reportedly contain homegrown products sourced from American farmers and producers. Shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, canned fruit and vegetables are among the items that would be included in the box.

The proposal of replacing a portion of the federal food stamp program with actual boxes of food delivered to recipients’ front doors, would be putting the U.S. government directly in charge of what goes on the dinner plates of more than 16 million low-income households.

This proposal is included in the Trump administration budget request for fiscal year 2019. It would require approval from Congress.

Unlike the Trump administration, many people including college students are now worried about the proposal and what would come of it in the years to come. 

“I don’t agree with this. There’s too many variables like if a person owns a stove or not or has a refrigerator to store these meals,” said Brianna McCrea, fourth-year education student. 

Health issues was also brought up about this said proposal. “How can canned meat be healthy and how can people with allergies receive government mandated meals in a box every month? I prefer to use my stamps on the things I know I need and not what the government thinks,” McCrea explained. 

Although subsidized food programs ought to provide exclusively for healthier options such as fresh produce in lieu of high-calorie processed foods, this proposal is not the right way to go about that.

“Instead of a box of food why don’t they just make it like WIC? You can only buy certain things like milk, eggs, cheese cereal and add fresh meat and vegetables,” said Washington.

FAMU alumna Epiphany Washington, only buys healthy foods and utilizes WIC because of her son and believes that an option like WIC would be a better proposal than a mandated food box.

“I think this is a bit extreme. It really is simple. Go back to the days when you could only buy the necessities with food stamps. No name brands, no pop, no junk food, just healthy options to provide a better living,” Washington said.

The limited amount of food stamps provided get you the necessities needed, whether you’re between jobs, working minimum wage or part time. Take away being able to buy processed food rather than the program.

A lot of people live off the system because they don’t have a choice. Many people aren’t able to feed their family without government assistance, but being dictated on what they can buy with those stamps are preposterous. 

Fourth-year health, leisure, and fitness studies student Niketa Forbes, believes that if this proposal goes through she would be dramatically affected. Forbes has a 2-year-old daughter and even with a job and going to school she’s still struggles with feeding her child.

“Last semester I had 7 classes and a job, and still wasn’t making enough to really do much. I was struggling. It was to a point where I was making food and only really having enough to feed my baby. It’s really hard, but food stamps really help out a lot,” said Forbes.

Many think that people on food stamps are sponges, but others like Forbes, is everything but a sponge. People don’t struggle because they don’t work hard enough. They struggle because of the economy and simply because what cards they are dealt.

Programs like food stamps, unemployment insurance, Medicaid, and job retraining help Americans get back on their feet when they are down and out and laid off through no fault of their own. Some people do not exactly have a level playing field, but having their food paid for helps.

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