Dominating the headlines is the Trump Administration’s FY2019 budget proposal to dramatically alter the nation’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This proposal removes SNAP benefits for low-income families to purchase groceries and replaces these benefits with a monthly box of prepackaged food chosen by the government. This prepackaged food is known as “America’s Harvest Box”. Despite the myriad of emotions I experienced concerning this proposal, it is this kind of cruelty I have come to expect from the Trump administration. However, I have decided to remain optimistic.
SNAP is one of the most effective programs we have to fight food insecurity and poverty. Below is a chart comparing our current SNAP program to the “America’s Harvest Box” proposal.
I remain optimistic because the proposal makes no sense; some states will not be able to afford it; and for all the reasons in the comparison chart above. However, this ludicrous proposal indicates to me that:
the Trump administration does not care about poverty and programs to support them
it provides insight on why the Republicans gave Michelle Obama a fight for just wanting school lunches to include more vegetables and eliminate food deserts where low-income communities are more than one mile from reliable source of fresh produce and healthy whole foods
the Trump Administration wants us to focus on the “America’s Food Box” rather than their proposed budget to cut SNAP by $213.5 billion over 10 years
it demonstrates the federal government’s desire for state and local governments to have more responsibility in the implementation it’s social programs
Land of Promise remains optimistic because in our minds, this is just a proposal that will not materialize. We encounter special people every day who care about the well-being of our children and people in need. Despite the “America’s Harvest Box” proposal, the best of humanity is the catalyst for our optimism.