White House Wants to Deliver Food to the Poor, Blue Apron-Style, in Place of Some Food Stamps

WASHINGTON — Think of it as Blue Apron for food stamp recipients.

That’s how Budget Director Mick Mulvaney described the Trump administration’s proposal to replace nearly half of poor Americans’ monthly cash benefits with a box of food. It would affect households that receive at least $90 a month in food stamps, or roughly 38 million people.

“USDA America’s Harvest Box is a bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food to people who need assistance feeding themselves and their families — and all of it is homegrown by American farmers and producers,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a statement. “It maintains the same level of food value as SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] participants currently receive, provides states flexibility in administering the program, and is responsible to the taxpayers.”

Part of the president’s fiscal 2019 budget blueprint, the idea immediately sparked concerns and questions among consumer advocates and food retailers. They feared it would upend a much-needed benefit for more than 80% of those in the program.

Here’s how it would work:

Instead of receiving all their food stamp funds, households would get a box of food that the government describes as nutritious and 100% grown and produced in the U.S. The “USDA America’s Harvest Box” would contain items such as shelf-stable milk, juice, grains, cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables. The box would be valued at about half of the SNAP recipient’s monthly benefit. The remainder of their benefits would be given to them on electronic benefit cards, as before.

The administration didn’t detail exactly how families would receive the food boxes, saying states could distribute them through existing infrastructure, partnerships or directly to residences through delivery services.

The proposal would save nearly $130 billion over 10 years, as well as improve the nutritional value of the program and reduce the potential for fraud, according to the administration.

Consumer advocates, however, questioned whether the federal government could save that much money by purchasing and distributing food on its own. Also, they were concerned that families would not know what food they would get in advance nor have any choice regarding what they receive. Plus, it could be difficult for families to pick up the box, especially if they don’t have a car.

“It’s a risky scheme that threatens families’ ability to put food on the table,” said Stacy Dean, vice president for food assistance policy at the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

74 comments

  • Penny

    If people are truly “needy”… then they would not mind getting a box of food for their family. But the key words there are “TRULY NEEDY”.

  • Connie

    Fix the guidelines to the SNAP program. They allow far too much. They should cut the soft drinks, packaged cakes, cookies, pies. Eliminate the lobster, shrimp and salmon from the list. Force people to make better choices than pre packaged foods. The Meals on Wheels program wasn’t good enough for our elderly, why should a food delivery box be good enough for the poor. Also, people may have sodium problems, soy and peanut allergies, celiac disease … did anyone take that into consideration? They will give them prepackaged goods that the government gave out as rations during war times …. seems like another way to bring down the poor and low income middle class … this way all the neighbors will know that the individuals are receiving government benefits and for the low income working class this seems degrading to me. I’m also going out of my way to help less fortunate …. I do not get the concept of this idea.

    • Tam

      “Eliminate the lobster, shrimp and salmon from the list” as Connie suggested would not work as fish is very good for you especially if you are diabetic. I do agree that “people may have sodium problems, soy and peanut allergies, celiac disease” which means now we are wasting those items on those that cannot eat them……or are we trying to kill people? I also do not agree that “They should cut the soft drinks, packaged cakes, cookies, pies.” EVERYONE is entitled to a treat from time to time and not everyone on SNAP uses it for junk food. I know this as I am on SNAP and real food has to come before deserts and treats. My kids get very excited for that package of cookies or a cake or pie for desert once a month because they dont get to have those things on a regular basis and once a month is good enough. Not to mention holiday months it does help for stocking stuffer candy even if its just a little as well as the holiday dinner. So you have to consider how you would feel if you couldnt have a treat every so often.
      I dont know how many ppl actually buy sea food on SNAP cause lord knows I cant afford to. My SNAP makes it so I can plan a menu for the month to feed my family and then maybe get a special desert once a month.

  • Frank scavo

    It’s like a box lunch my cheap company used to give to me. Just enough to get you to the airport without being hungry. No more WIC cards for cash. This is a good idea as you get sustenance versus taxpayer dollars. It may only be a ham sandwich now and not Lobster… but if you don’t like it get motivated and get another job

  • ROFLMAO

    You mean I don’t have to watch able bodies non English speaking twenty some things use their access card to fill their cart with food like somebody else is going to pay for it anymore? To good to be true!

  • Vickie Henderson

    I don’t know why my comment keeps getting taken off all im saying is what I see in the real world. The blm in toe picking and pointing out the items for resale at a later time for other purchases. baby mommy in front driving the cart with that special card, what it be!

  • SingleMom81

    I am a single mother. I work a full time job that pays at least $11/hr and benefits at low cost. I still need help from the assistance office for food and heating because rent isn’t cheap anymore. People who ask for assistance actually do work now a days. And if you don’t show some sort of work, they take the benefits away.

    • Guess Work

      I believe the actual quote was, “Let them eat cake”. A very understated take on our current times. Thank you for the laugh.

  • peggy hendricks

    THis reminds me of the salvation army, the food is junk,,Sunburys salvation army is the worst, some of those woman that work there are ignorant, ,and Grace(who works there) only gives the good food to people she likes, if Grace doesnt like you she will fill up your box with bags of macaroni and can spinach and that is all you get,,but Graces friends get cheese and eggs and meat ect all the good stuff, and Grace also keeps some of the good foods for herself,,,And that captain cup or culp ,<(what ever she called herself ,) she was a real ignorant old woman, thank god she is gone,she would yell at people ,because they took too much of the moldy bread

  • mary hollar

    I dont know why people are complaining about people on welfare ,,,THEY have to work for their benefits now, its been that way for a long time people,educate yourselves on this,

  • mary hollar

    Thats not very fair ,people on food stamps have to work for their benefits now a days ,,and they get a box of crappy food that no body likes for their job that their doing to get Food stamps,?,,,thats like going to the salvation army for a box of food that no one likes, the food in those boxes are crap!

  • lori suanne

    You have to do job search and get a job to be on welfare now a days people, educate your selves on a subject before you shoot off your mouth,

  • lori suanne

    people on food stamps do have jobs , ,they have to, the food stamps dont pay the rent or the utilities,,,,,and you cant get cash asst anymore without doing job search and getting a job,,

    • Ginny Anderson

      Baloney. Tell me why so many are receiving benefits who never hold a job. Between section 8, mediaid and food stamps these people make more then a person who goes out every day to work. You know, the ones who have pride and integrity.

      • Tam

        Another ignorant comment. You can only get a raise in benefits up to so many children. They began that to stop people from popping out babies just to get more money. Also they can only get cash benefits for 5 years.

    • Tired Taxpayer

      You’re right, food stamps don’t pay the rent. That’s what free public housing with utilities included, CEO, and Section 8 is for.

    • coach

      the women gets money to pay the rent and bills, the baby’s Daddy might work but they don’t report it but still lives in the home, the mother stays at home to keep having more Baby’s, then at tax time the mother gets thousands for each kid, now that your educated thanks to me, know your facts before writing anything. its called welfare fraud.

  • Tired Taxpayer

    The food stamp system needs to be overhauled to allow only healthy foods to be purchased, like WIC does, and if you want steak, lobster, or junk food and soda, buy it with your own money. I can’t afford to eat steak and lobster every day, and I shouldn’t have to work to provide it for someone on food stamps who sits on their a** all day.

    • Buzz Anderson

      THIS is pure BS. People on food stamps do NOT buy lobster or steak. You and the rest of the Trump supporters LOVE to blame the poor for our financial problems. You want to claim being a tire taxpayer..I got news for you…how about the 78 billion in corporate welfare. The almost FOUR TRILLION hidden overseas so corporations do not have to pay taxes. OR the ONE AND A HALF TRILLION giveaway to the billionaires and Wall Street. BUT lets climb all over the poor people with LIES, innuendo and phony stories about steak and lobster.

      I’ve also found most people who do the most whining are themselves on foodstamps but try to feel superior about it by jumping on the bandwagon of blaming the poor and children. MEAN is barely the description I can add to this baloney of giving them substandard food which the government will say is fine because the suppliers are saying it is fine. This idiot idea is rife with corruption in the long rung.
      Another blame the poor idea from republicans. Anything to take your eyes off the robbery Wall Street and the rich are doing to our Treasury. By the way that tax cut all your Trumpsters are carrying on about…well you are gong to start paying tolls for every road you use now. So much for that tax break, eh?

      • Tired Taxpayer

        I never said anything about substandard food, I said HEALTHY food. I think the food box is a stupid idea. And don’t tell me people on food stamps don’t buy lobster, steak, and junk food. Years ago I worked at a grocery store and I saw WITH MY OWN TWO EYES what some people on food stamps buy, so that is ABSOLUTELY not a phony story. I also wasn’t talking about people with a job who can’t make ends meet and I’m not blaming children who don’t buy their own food, that was a stupid comment. I was talking about the ones who think they deserve a free handout. And by the way, I’m not on food stamps but make barely enough to live on, I am not a republican, and I’m NOT a Trump supporter. I think he’s one of the biggest idiots on the planet, he’s all for the rich and no one else. So thank you for trying to stereotype me, maybe you should go back to the drawing board and try again.

    • Tam

      yes they might be able to get those things but they are not feeding their family for the entire month. I buy steak but only if it is on sale and no more expensive than pork or chicken because pork is actually really bad for you. Fish is good for you esp if you are diabetic. I cant afford fish unless its in a can. If you saw people buy this stuff on food stamps I feel really bad for their family who will starve most of the month because they cannot make the benefits stretch

  • JessicaInWilliamsport

    A surplus idea like back in the past is a good idea, but perhaps due to the concerns raised here it shouldn’t entirely replace food stamps, but complement it. Either have folks pick up the food themselves or if they are homebound, fill out a card that has alternatives for folks allergic to peanut butter or dairy products. I think perhaps classes in home economics need to be taught again. If this idea was truly like a “Blue Apron”, where FRESH food was delivered along with easy to follow instructions on how to cook a nutritious meal, the idea would have a whole lot of merit….but also cost a whole lot more. I would think the solution would be something in between. I mean if WIC can dictate some of what can be bought via vouchers, perhaps go the voucher route to guarantee certain foods are purchased (making sure there are dairy-free, gluten free, peanut free, etc options available). You have to remember the positive impact on the local economy that SNAP has as well, just look it up if you don’t believe me.

  • as opposed to???

    Really? It’s not much different from the garbage I see being bought with food stamps like junk food and cubes of soda!

    • 🤔

      Not everyone shops that way tho. When my family was on food stamps, ( we aren’t anymore) I made sure to get fresh fruits and veggies and only 100% juice for my kids. Never bought soda and things of that nature. Do people waste their food stamps on junk food ? Of course but not everyone does. I also made sure I have money left over for stuff you always need bread, milk, eggs the normal stuff. People need to learn how to shop sensibly.

    • as opposed to???

      You are one of the few! I apologize for generalizing but my fiance and I were shopping on Sunday for our family of 4. With a cart full of groceries for the weeks meals, we were behind a man with several cubes of soda, chips and other rather unhealthy items (he couldn’t have had more than 15 items in his cart). He had $93 in food stamps that he spent and was still over so he ran to his car for the cash. I would have paid the overage if he shopped more wisely and I felt he was in need. I wasn’t paying for his junk. He could have bought food for a few weeks with $93!

  • Jeff Woehrle

    Welfare programs are darlings of democrats, as the programs are rife with fraud and abuse.

    Get food to those who need it. Sounds like a perfect solution.

    God Bless President Trump.

    • 901webstudios

      And corporate welfare is the darling for the Republicans. Is there anybody for the middle class anymore, seriously? Best adage, I’ve come up with is Republicans are for the rich, Democrats are for the poor – so who the hell is for the rest of us? Trust me, it’s not the Orange one – who only cares about lining his pockets. Okay, thanks for reading. Take care and have a good day.

  • 🤔

    Shelf stable milk, canned meat? Are you for real? Tell me how that is considered nutritious food? Look at all the crap that’s in there. Not everyone wastes food stamps. They should actually fix the program where families that actually do work and can’t make it receive the help not the ones that sit at home have a dozen kids and drink, smoke and do drugs.. they should be made to go find a job like everyone else. It sux when both parents work and still struggle but they say you make too much money you’re not eligible. What a crock of poo. But yet they give all of the lazy people everything. I’m not talking about the people on disability I’m talking the ones who refuse to work just to stay on the system. Just doesn’t make sense. The whole system is backwards!!!

    • mopar driver

      You are so wrong , Canned and preserved food doesnt need loaded chemicals or cause health issues, dried milk used to be normal , This is more the opportunity to force healthy and cost effective nutrition on those who are not intelligent enough to do so ( overspend on prepared food and not have food to live out the month ) as they need our welfare they should be limited to proper nutrition no soda pop or chips and such . Fully Drug and Alcohol testing needs required as well as work , be it cleaning the street or county buildings it should benefit taxpayers .
      Now the downside , The beginning of every month all the local thieves would be out stealing food packages off the neighbors porches and half would claim they never got it ( hence get double ) And of course the opportunity for corruption in PA thru local hoodlums in Govt positions.

    • Ginny Anderson

      Thank the democrats for the backwards system. Their plan always was for a certain segment of society to be completely dependant on the government. It ensures blind loyalty and a continuous voting base. Thanks to the democrats we now have a 5th generation that knows nothing but handouts.

  • barb

    WRONG it would not be healthier.Peanut butter plus you have so many allegeric to it,,canned fruits and vegetables.juices are LOADED with sugar or salt. Most of the canned meats are super loaded with grease, so some of these idiotic ideas are worse off for people,but what do you expect for someone to is trying to DICTATE to everyone!\

  • Jane Dose

    Please!! Get rid of welfare!!! It’s killing our country!! Financially and mentally!! My husband and I work full time with a baby in daycare and I hear way too often “Why don’t you quit and go on welfare?” this is the sick mentality today!! People are making this a career choice! And most of the sell their food stamps for drug money! I’ve had women brag to me about how they can’t even spend all the food stamps they get because it’s more than they need. This is wrong!! It used to be that fathers worked to provide and mothers stayed home to raise the family but today both need to work to support the scumbags that stay home!! It’s not fair!! I’m sick of my money paying for them to stay home!! It should belong to MY family!!!

    • Too bad

      Tell that to the homeless Vets that fought for your freedom to whine. What about homeless and hungry vets? You would not have a clue because you already have judged without seeing all the way around, full circle. Ps. Don’t have anymore kids if you are struggling this much. No more.

      • Jane Dose

        1st…my husband and I are not struggling. Still doesn’t mean I want my money paying for anyone who chooses not to work. 2nd…our country gives little to nothing to the homeless vets. It’s disgusting how we throw them away after they serve our country. It’s a bigger shame that we will give money to healthy people who choose to be scumbags.

    • JessicaInWilliamsport

      More of your tax dollars are wasted on the military industrial complex for planes that don’t fly, hammers that are upsold at exorbitant prices and wars we don’t need to be involved in. Oh, and on golf trips to Mar-A-Lago etc that line the pockets of 45 since we pay for the secret service to stay there. The locals have to pay extra for their police to be pulled away from doing their jobs to protect that joker.

    • Jeremy G

      Hey Jane. I don’t have any children and am not looking to have any. Every year by law, you can deduct money from your taxes to pay for your kid. So I guess my point it – hey deadbeat, stop taking my hard earned tax money to pay for your snot nosed child. If you want to procreate, then you should have to foot the entire bill. Every year I pay into the tax system and it stinks. When the money is spent to feed homeless Vets or to fix bridges, then I think that is great. When they go to subsidizing YOUR children, I think its wasteful. Thanks for reading. Take care and have a good day.

      • 901webstudios

        Sadly Plain Jane, you are the one having trouble with comprehending my text. Perhaps the words were too long for your tiny brain. To be crystal clear, we are not in agreement. Specifically where we differ, is I think YOU are the problem (or at the very least people like you). Hopefully your bratty child (which BTW I’m helping you pay for with my tax dollars) can help you with the tough words in this post. I hate how every year fools like you stand on your high horse and complain about people getting money from government; WHILE you are getting money from the government. Cheese and crackers. Bottom line, God Bless the troops. They are the real heroes. All the money our government wastes on the Military Industrial Complex, and our brave men&women can’t get a raise. Gimme me a break? Maybe if we stopped paying for Jane’s dumb child via tax brakes, we could afford to give more money to the troops (or fix the roads). Either way, thanks for reading Jane. I’ll make sure to keep going to work, so you can rest on your laurels. If you hate the welfare state so much, then you should pay back the US Government for your tax relief. Otherwise, you are being a hypocrite. Take care and have a good day.

    • lori suanne

      People tell you to quit and go on welfare?really? DO they know that you have to work for your benefits on welfare now?,,its been that way for a while now,,,you cant just go on cash asst anymore, you have to do job search,

    • JessicaInWilliamsport

      Many if not MOST SNAP recipients do have jobs, it’s just that the wages aren’t enough to keep them afloat. Some have 2-3 jobs (look it up if you don’t believe me) Your comment shows your ignorance.

      • 🤔

        I wouldn’t say many or most because they way they determine if you’re eligible is by family size and income. If you exceed the income limit even by a dollar, you make too much and are denied. To determine your eligibility, you have to submit all kinds of things rent/ mortgage, electric bills etc. Even when you do submit they basically figure at a base level. I think it’s like 800 a month for utilities and a minimal for your rent even tho you submit stiff. They do not count car payments and insurance and stuff like that either.phone bills don’t count either. They’re all considered luxury. Then they deduct all of that and what ever is left over from what your gross earnings is is what determines you snap benefits. So, people who work are pretty much screwed cuz they make too much money. That’s why you have the people just staying on the system and not working.

      • I want my lunch money back

        All these fancy names so we don’t embarrass the recipients. How about GET A REAL JOB and not an entry level job and cry about not getting paid enough. Those parasites were all smoking dope in the bathrooms while I was studying and now I’m supposed to feel bad about it. NO WAY! Got pregnant in high school I don’t CARE. Their parents were scum, they raised scum. End it!

      • JessicaInWilliamsport

        The solution isn’t to find what you deem a *real* job (all jobs/work have value as do the people who do them!) The solution is to pay a living wage at every job. Once upon a time “entry level” jobs could support a family, not anymore. Even professional jobs don’t always do more than just keep you afloat. It’s time to stop the upward income redistribution, take the burden off the middle class and working poor and finally have the money hoarders pay their fair share of taxes again. They haven’t in over 50 years!

    • Rosebush

      That was my question. You have to pay more people to deliver, warehouse etc! Probably won’t work like most of this Presidents scheme’s!

      • Ginny Anderson

        Blue Apron uses the postal service. But hey, here is an idea, use the slobs on welfare to deliver the packages. I am sure arrangements can be made to make it work.

      • Penny

        Or here’s a thought… those that get SNAP cards now, they must somehow get themselves to the grocery store to use the benefits… maybe they would find a way to go to the warehouse to pick up their box of goods instead? It’s a horrible thought that some people have… we do NOT have to parent these “adults”… they are being GIVEN free food… if they are truly hungry and needy, there is a way to get it! SMH!

  • RITA

    This would eliminate a lot of fraud and waste that exists within the system. Recipients would lose their drug money they get by selling their food stamp card. Don’t give them money-send them a box of food

    • 901webstudios

      Rita, have you been selling your food stamps again? We talked about this last month at the retirement home. Knock it off, before Johnny Law comes knocking. Thanks for reading. Take care and have a good day.

  • Dorthy Gibbens

    Welfare reform is coming soon this sounds like a good idea this way the baby momma won’t need the donor in tow to pick out the goods that sell quick it will help motivate people to get a job at least the donor for now!

    • Control

      You are pathetic. People that have jobs still qualify for medical assistance and foodstamps. They fall in a certain bracket but they work. And still qualify. Complain about the cash assistance part. That is where the problem is.

  • Me

    This is a great idea! I know of people who “sell” their food Stamps. They tell someone I’ll buy you so much groceries for so much dope!

    • HERP

      mopar driver, If you earn $50,000 per year you will pay $36 towards all Welfare programs which include funding to the USDA and FDA. You also spend around $6,000 a year on Corporate welfare (subsidized to corporations).
      If you receive a tax return, you don’t spend a cent towards welfare because you’re getting it back.

  • Jodi Lang

    Wasn’t this called surplus food in the 60;s and 70’s? What about food allergies? Just having some foods in contact with items people are highly sensitive to can cause real life emergencies for some people! And not everyone can eat all things simply due to special diets ,as for diabetics.

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