Central Texans who would be impacted by a proposed change to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program worry about how this would affect their health.
Under President Donald Trump’s 2019 Budget Blueprint, people who receive $90 per month or more on food stamps, will receive a box with shelf-stable foods, as a portion of their benefits. The box would have shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, pasta, peanut butter, canned meat, poultry or fish and canned fruits and vegetables.
“USDA America’s Harvest Box is a bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food to people who need assistance feeding themselves and their families,” U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “It maintains the same level of food value as SNAP participants currently receive, provides states flexibility in administering the program, and is responsible to the taxpayers.”
Food stamp recipients would still get half of their benefits through the Electronic Benefit Transfer card.
John Smith who said he can't be a painter anymore because of his health has received food stamps for a year and a half.
“One day I had a pain and it developed where I couldn’t work and I’ve developed more and more medical issues,” Smith said.
He uses the $192 in SNAP benefits and food at the Shepherd's Heart food pantry in Waco to put food on the table.
"I have to watch my intake of fat. A lot of money goes for that stuff and then whatever incidentals, I have to go and get. It doesn't go very far," Smith said.
The 62-year-old said he is opposed to the proposal.
“I don’t like it from the beginning,” Smith said. “With my diet, I may not be able to eat certain products.”
Shepherd’s Heart Food Pantry Executive Director Robert Gager said the change would increase the demand at the pantry and devastate SNAP recipients.
He said the nonprofit served more than 29,000 families last year.
“I think what they see in that box, isn’t going to be the nourishing food that they need. They can’t get the fresh produce in that box. We have plenty of fresh produce available here," Gager said
Smith who volunteers at that pantry said the change could impact his health.
“If I don’t have the quality foods intake, then my diabetes is not going to be in control. My high cholesterol is not going to be in control," Smith said.
Helpings: SNAP Outreach Program Director Esther Morales of Caritas of Waco said if approved, the change could also affect the nonprofit’s food pantry.
"I think the impact would be that our numbers would totally rise and that pantries around our nation wouldn't be able to handle the number of people,” Morales said.
This proposal would save $129.2 billion over a ten-year-period between the fiscal year 2019 and fiscal year 2028.
Copyright 2018 KXXV. All rights reserved.