The President's proposed budget includes a major change to the country's food stamp program. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s (SNAP) cash benefits would be replaced with boxes of food.

The new program is called “America’s Harvest Box”. It would take care of more than 16 million Americans, about 81% of current food stamp recipients. The would no longer get SNAP card benefits, but would be given boxes of non-perishable food items grown or made in the U.S. Items that might be included in a the food box are grains, peanut butter, canned meats, canned fruits and vegetables, juice and other shelf-stable products.

Grocery store

The goal of this proposal is to save more than $100 billion dollars over the next 10 years.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement. The program would provide food-stamp recipients with "the same level of food value" as the current system, Perdue added. The food stamp program helped 42.2 million people and nearly 21 million households last year. The average household benefit was $254.

The big question is how would these boxes be distributed. The Ag Department issued this statement: "States can distribute these boxes through existing infrastructure, partnerships, and/or directly to residences through commercial and/or retail delivery services,"

Right now, SNAP recipients can spend their benefits on food items of their choice.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney compared the proposal to a “Blue Apron-type program,” which is a meal kit delivery service that provides members with ingredients to cook their own meals.

The President's budget calls for cutting the SNAP program by 25%, or $193 billion, over the course of 10 years. It would also shift part of the cost of the program onto states.

KEEL News contacted the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and we were told staffers are evaluating the proposal and it is too early to comment.

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