Jacquelyn Hurtado/ Staff Writer
Oh SNAP! I never wanted to see the day when our government started picking out our food. Turns out, it came faster than I thought.
On Feb. 12, the Trump Administration proposed cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. Over the next decade, the government is predicted to cut more than $213 billion, according to Washington Post.
SNAP will be replaced by “America’s Harvest Box,” a high-end delivery meal-kit that is being compared to Blue Apron. The government will buy non-perishable, nutritious foods in bulk and send them out to low income families.
On paper, this plan sounds loving and considerate, until you discover that this new, innovative proposal is pretty much setting itself up for failure. The government doesn’t seem to be considering some obvious factors that will make this plan logistically impossible.
One factor would be allergies and special accommodations. If the government buys food in bulk and sends them out, then the food won’t be tailored to the specific needs of each household. Some households have elderly people, people with disabilities and people with allergies who need specific foods. With SNAP, families were given money to go to the stores and buy the food they need. The Harvest Box, however, takes away that choice.
Another factor is waste. If families can’t eat or don’t like the food they are given, it will be thrown away. Even though President Trump hopes to reduce waste and costs with this plan, it will probably do the opposite.
For being such an innovative plan, it seems to be creating more problems than solutions. Not to mention that the plan is a bit deceiving when they compare the Harvest Box to Blue Apron. Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, stated that sending out boxes “makes sure [families are] getting nutritious food,” according to Kansas City Star.
Apparently to them, nutritious means powdered milk, canned meat and various other non-perishable items. Looks like Blue Apron and America’s Harvest Box are as identical as designer heels and a pair of flip flops. One delivers farm-fresh seasonal produce with meat that has no added hormones, while the other gives us non-perishables. I can taste the freshness already.
Besides the issue of nutrition, the government is also responsible for sending these meal kits on time. But with millions of households living off SNAP, I find it very unlikely that all the boxes will be delivered on time. This Blue Apron impersonator will create more instability for families, especially if the arrival of their next meal is in question.
After some careful examination, this plan just looks like the perfect excuse to shift budget spending from SNAP to other “more important” matters. It fills up a cardboard box with canned goods and whatever’s left of people’s freedom of choice and sends it off in hopes of solving everyone’s problems.
Unfortunately, if this plan becomes law without considering all these inevitable factors, low-income families will have to say goodbye to freedom of choice, security and a nice fresh meal.
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Photo by Bethany Legg on Unsplash.