These will comprise 81% of the American citizens who are under a program known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. According to the summary of the proposal that has been issued by the Department of Agriculture suggested that the boxes would replace about 50% of the cash benefits under the current food stamp program.
According to the budget proposal, "households receiving $90 or more per month in SNAP benefits will receive a portion of their benefits in the form of a USDA Foods package, which would include items such as shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit, vegetables, and meat, poultry or fish". The budget line says only that the administration wants to push forward changes "to encourage work and self-sufficiency across its core rental assistance programs" and that the changes "require able-bodied individuals to shoulder more of their housing costs and provide an incentive to increase their earnings, while mitigating rent increases for the elderly and people with disabilities".
A spokeswoman for House agriculture committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said the committee has held 21 hearings and invited 80 experts to speak about SNAP in its preparations of the forthcoming farm bill, and the idea of a food box was not once discussed.
Now recipients use SNAP at grocery stores as if the benefits were cash.
Under the plan, more than 16 million households would have half of their benefits go toward the food box delivery program.
Some rural stores' survival depends on SNAP benefits, Haynes-Maslow said.
"Food stamp recipients would receive at least half of their benefits through a food box and the food box would be non-perishable food items, similar to items we have all around the food bank", said Zack Wilson, the Executive Director of the High Plains Food Bank. "Any proposal to change or reduce the cost of an existing program is portrayed as a vicious assault on the needy recipients by cruel vulgarians taking pleasure in making people suffer". Under the proposal, most SNAP recipients would lose much of their ability to choose the food they buy with their SNAP benefits.More news: South African President Defies ANC's Order to Resign
Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a hunger advocacy group that also helps clients access food-assistance services, said the administration's plan left him baffled. The main reason it does well is that it gives families the autonomy and dignity to pick out SNAP budgets.
More than 15,000 households in NWA use SNAP.
However, he disagreed with media coverage that claimed the SNAP program is being abused by users, which he described as "people from all walks of life". Almost two-thirds were under 18, over 60 or disabled, according to the USDA.
The president's budget still needs to be approved by Congress.
But a leaked draft bill, circulated in recent weeks and reviewed by The Associated Press, outlines what those changes could look like.
"You put another nail in the coffin", he said.