Food banks worried about proposed food program plan

PHOENIX - Local food banks are wondering how so-called 'harvest boxes' are going to replace food stamps in the country. 

The Trump Administration announced last week that they planned on cutting more than $210 billion dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP

The administration said too much money was being spent with the program and there was too much fraud in the system.

Instead, the White House is planning on passing out pre-packaged boxes of food that would be delivered to the homes of those in the program. 

However, food banks like St. Mary's in the Phoenix area are not behind this idea. They are afraid that they will have to pick up the slack for hungry families. 

"It's a very intricate puzzle, what they have to do," explained St. Mary's spokesperson Jerry Brown. "They have a certain amount of food stamps...they have a certain amount of times that they have to come to the food bank and when one or the other is cut down, people have to find another way. "

Brown showed ABC15 how St. Mary's has food boxes that they already pass out that are similar to the President's harvest boxes.

"Right now, our emergency food boxes, which is a two to three day supply of food...it's already missing things like canned vegetables and pasta," Brown explained. "It's only February and we're already out of those items." 

The other concern is who will pay for home delivery. Brown said that they can only give out the boxes to people who come to the food bank because they rely on donations and volunteers. 

There is also a worry that the most vulnerable people in our community will be forgotten.

"We need to make sure we have a stopgap in there for the elderly and the disabled," United Food Bank CEO Dave Richins said.

However, the White House has already pledged to do so. 

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