President Trump's administration announces proposal to replace p - FOX Carolina 21

President Trump's administration announces proposal to replace part of SNAP with food boxes

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GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

President Trump's administration is announcing a new idea to replace part of the current federal food stamp program with actual boxes of food to participants.

The federal food stamp program, or SNAP, is run by the USDA, which says the idea for the new Harvest Boxes would save billions of dollars and support American farmers.  But there are still a lot of questions about whether the idea would work.

We stopped by the Emergency Food Pantry at Harvest Hope Food Bank in Greenville.  They directly help those in need of food assistance, and some of those clients also receive food stamp benefits.  Right now, those benefits come in the form of an EBT card that they can use to buy food at participating stores.

But that could change, if the USDA proposal, America's Harvest Box, is passed.

According to information released by the USDA, it would work like this: Those who take part in SNAP and receive $90 a month or more in benefits would get a box filled with shelf-stable items, like soup or peanut butter.  Over 16 million households would be impacted.

A portion of the benefits would still be on the EBT card, but concern has been raised about how much fresh produce participants would have access to.  Amy Bell is the manager at the emergency food pantry. 

"There could be (some concern) if what they're getting in a food box is mostly dry, but it could also open up whatever SNAP they're receiving to be used on fresh produce," said Bell.

The USDA said in a statement that states will be given flexibility to distribute the food. 

States will be given substantial flexibility to distribute these food benefits to participants. States can distribute these boxes through existing infrastructure, partnerships, and/or directly to residences through commercial and/or retail delivery services. 

The USDA also said the Harvest Box idea would save $129 billion over the next ten years, and all the food in the boxes would be grown in the U.S.

Here is a statement from USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.

"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 home grown by American farmers and producers. 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."

-Secretary Sonny Perdue 

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