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The Government Wants To Replace Food Stamps With A "Blue Apron-Type" Delivery Service

Southeast Produce Weekly / Blue Apron

Millions of people across the country could see their monthly food stamps shrink if President Trump's administration gets its way.

As part of their 2019 budget, the government unveiled a surprising plan to replace some benefits with a "Blue Apron-type" home delivery program.

Currently, food stamp recipients can use an electronic benefits card (EBT) to buy food at grocery stores.

If the new program is approved, it would replace some monthly benefits with a box of food delivered to the recipient's door.

Blue Apron delivers boxes of ingredients to its customers at home.Blue Apron

The program, currently named "America's Harvest Box," would include non-perishable foods like rice, pasta, and canned goods.

The program was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the proposal says that all food included in the boxes would be locally grown or sourced.

Sonny Perdue, the Secretary of Agriculture, calls the plan an "innovative approach to providing nutritious food to people who need assistance feeding themselves and their families - and all of it is home grown by American farmers and producers."

Mick Mulvaney, the Office of Management and Budget Director, compared the plan to Blue Apron, a subscription service that mails fresh ingredients to customers each week.

But some people are already skeptical about the new plan.

In 2017, 42.2 million Americans relied on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also called SNAP or food stamps).

The government paid more than $68 billion to cover the program, which gives an average monthly payout of $125.79 per-person.

SNAP's budget is set to be reduced by half in 2019, and the Harvest Box program is just one way the government is hoping to cut costs.

The plan is unveiled as the USDA says it's also considering tougher work requirements which would force 1.4 million people out of the program in 2019.

NBC News

While only families receiving more than $90 in monthly benefits would receive the Harvest Box, SNAP recipients are concerned about what it would mean for their bottom line.

The Harvest Box will make up a part of their monthly payment, which could make it tough for large families to plan their groceries.

People with food allergies also worry that they'll receive foods like peanut butter that they can't eat.

"Under the guise of being "helpful," the Harvest Food Box is a sham that takes away healthy food replacing it with fewer choices," Monica Mills, the director of Food Policy Action, told ABC 7.

The plan also says that individual states will cover the costs of distributing the boxes.

What do you think of the Harvest Box plan?

[H/T: ABC 7, Yahoo Finance]

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