White House proposes box deliveries to replace food stamps | KOB 4
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White House proposes box deliveries to replace food stamps

Joy Wang
February 13, 2018 06:32 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- What if instead of using food stamps to buy groceries, food was delivered in a box at the front door? That's what the White House has proposed, saying it's expected to save $127 billion over the next decade.

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The plan is called America's Harvest Box. The White House says states would have flexibility to tailor the details to families' needs. Think of it like the food delivery services such as Blue Apron, Plated and Hello Fresh. The plan would work in a similar way, except with non-perishables like canned meats, juice, and beans delivered monthly.

Right now, about 500,000 New Mexicans are on food stamps. However, some can't eat those items. Kathleen Chavez and her 10-year-old son both use food stamps. They have an illness that gets worse when they eat processed foods.

"I can't force myself to eat those foods because it'll cause my health to decline even further, and that's not what I’m trying to do," Chavez said. "I'm trying to continue working and living my life and doing the best I can to be healthy."

But if they have to get boxed food from the government instead, that choice could go away for the hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans who receive more than $90 in food benefits every month.

"One-fourth of New Mexicans participate in SNAP," said Sovereign Hager with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. "Forty percent of our children are using this program to eat. The vast majority of those folks are going to be impacted."

If big companies supply the food, small operators like farmers think they'll be squeezed out.

"What's going to happen is regional food systems are going to die. Small farms are no longer going to have access to those people who really need the food," said Joseluis Ortiz.

Some people are already spending very little. Right now, the average family gets about $270 in food stamps. That comes down to less than $2 per meal.

"They're just going to cut my legs off in the process, going to restrict me to a point where it's not feasible," Chavez said.

Credits

Joy Wang

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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