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Regional Food Bank Calls Proposed SNAP Benefit Changes Harmful

ROCHESTER (WXXI) - Changes proposed by the Trump administration would reduce the amount of choice those who use SNAP benefits to buy food would have.

Currently, people who use SNAP benefits get money loaded onto an EBT card, which they can take to a grocery store and shop with, buying items that fall under certain guidelines.

But what the Trump administration is proposing is to take away a majority of that choice, by sending half of their benefits in the form of a "USDA Foods package" and half as money.

Mitch Gruber, Chief Programs Manager at Foodlink says logistics alone, the plan would be difficult to accomplish.

But there’s also the simple fact of dignity, of having the say in what you do and do not consume. And decreasing choice would strip people of that.

Gruber also says they send educators into community to help empower people with the tools to shop healthy on a budget, something this plan would counteract.

“We do not want to get to a point where folks are just eating what is given to them because that is what the USDA found to allegedly be the cheapest and most efficient. That’s not how people are going to take control of their own health, and help to make us into a healthier community."

The box would contain items such as peanut butter, shelf stable milk and canned fruits and vegetables. Fresh food would not be included.

Gruber says the idea of this box of food is wrong even beyond just having the right to choose what you eat.

"The a classic example is that we don’t want to pre box a share of food and give it to folks who have peanut allergies and assume they want peanut butter."

Gruber says nothing about this proposal is efficient although that is what it claims the cuts will achieve.