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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Starvation in a box

Starvation in a box

President Trump has decided to cut food stamps, and his proposed plan could have a disastrous effect on a lot of poor Americans. But is that a shock to anyone?

Let me take a step back  and shed some light on the government assistance program called “food stamps.”  They are a type of voucher issued by the government to low income homes that are exchangeable for food.

As of 2013, the percentage of Americans that survive on food stamps, or SNAP, were 40.2 percent white, 25.7 percent African American, and 10.3 percent Hispanic of any race. Trump is cutting something that actually helps millions of underprivileged Americans survive.

To have a better understanding of why food stamps are helpful, you need to know the average wage a person on food stamps receives. According to NPR, an average American on food stamps receives $90 or less a month in wages. That is the price of some textbooks required for school.

I originally saw mentions of these “monthly boxes” on Instagram and decided that I needed to do more research. In an article titled “Trump administration wants to decide what food SNAP recipients will get,” NPR states that the “USDA Foods package,” the monthly boxes, would not include any fresh fruits or vegetables. They would, however, receive canned fruits and vegetables.

This proposal is incredibly intrusive. It prevents poorer Americans from having control over one of their basic necessities: food. Also, none of the food proposed to be in these monthly boxes seems to be healthy and nutrient rich. Not only could certain Americans be seemingly belittled and patronized, they could also be prevented from accessing the healthful and nutritious foods that they need. If this passes, I wonder how the government would take into account households with food allergies.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, nine percent of senior citizens, which is 6.3 million people, live below the poverty line as of April 2017. According to the 2015 census, one in five children received food stamps, some of these children having at least one foreign-born parent. Without the help of food stamps, I doubt these children would be able to receive the required amount of nutrients to live a healthy life.

There are many reasons why someone may be on food stamps. I know of a family who benefit from food stamps. The  mother had to leave her career because of her autistic daughter’s violent tantrums, so they became a one income household. Does a family where the parents have to make hard financial decisions to accommodate their autistic child, who is also an extremely picky eater, deserve to lose their choice of food?

What matters the most is that SNAP is why many Americans are surviving. Hopefully, the President’s idea will not pass through Congress.

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