CLEVELAND - The Trump administration announced this week it's proposing to replace nearly half of Americans' monthly cash benefits with a 'Blue Apron style' box of food— a move that has food banks in Northeast Ohio raising concerns.
The proposal, which would save nearly $130 billion over 10 years, would affect households that receive at least a month in food stamps or roughly 38 million people. Consumer advocates say families would not know what food they would get in advance nor would they have a choice about what they receive.
The Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank responded to how the proposed cuts could potentially affect the way they help individuals and families.
"The SNAP program is the centerpiece of America’s nutrition safety net. Changes to the program must be weighted against potentially adverse and real effects on struggling citizens. Both the SNAP and CSFP programs are vital resources for many individuals in our community struggling with hunger. At the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, we work with our network of 500 hunger-relief partners to provide food to those in need and we will continue to be committed to supporting hunger-relief efforts in our 8-county service area."
The Greater Cleveland Foodbank said the cuts would cripple the way they would distribute food the families in Northeast Ohio who need it most.
"If these cuts were to go through, at our foodbank, we would have to triple our distribution overnight. It simply would not be possible. Simply to make up for the extent of these cuts," said Kristin Warzocha, president of the Greater Cleveland Foodbank.
The Ohio Association of Foodbanks, the state's largest organization that represents the state's 12 Feeding America foodbanks, said the proposed budget cut would strip away any funding for core programs that help people come out of poverty.
“These proposals reflect a lack of seriousness and a refusal by the Administration to invest in what’s working for American families," said executive director Lisa-Hamler-Fugitt. "These continued attacks on proven programs that help tens of millions of low-income Americans achieve better health, higher productivity and increased financial stability are shameful. We call on Ohio’s congressional delegation to speak loudly and stand firmly against these attempts to punish average American families and widen income inequality in our country."
The administration didn't outline in detail how families would receive the food boxes but said states could distribute them through existing means or directly to the residences through delivery services.