Almost 47 million people across the United States received food stamps in 2014 according to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). The number did decrease slightly but not much from 2013. The Food and Nutrition Act passed in 2008 says users may not buy tobacco or alcohol with the SNAP program. Also non-food items, and luxurious meals at a restaurant. This is all according to Food and Nutrition services. Nothing in The Food and Nutrition Act states users can not buy “junk food”.
Most people or families on food stamps tend to buy more fatty unhealthy types of food, known as ‘junk food’. This is because those foods tend to be cheaper and easier to obtain. All a person has to do is go to the local gas station or mini mart to get some ‘junk food’. The issue is not that food stamp users should not be allowed the freedom to choose healthy or unhealthy foods. Instead, its the taxpayers money that helps fund SNAP should be tied into ways SNAP users can buy more healthy foods such as vegetables, fruit, and lean meats. Healthier foods can hopefully lead to healthier lifestyles and a SNAP recipient who is more able to get a job so they can begin the trail on the way back to supporting themselves.
Limiting what people can eat goes against what our country is run off: “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness ” from the Constitution. That is there to prevent the government from gaining too much power. The government does not have the right to say what people can and can’t eat. Even if the government could say what these people are allowed to eat how would they get to these grocery stores? Most users of SNAP don’t have car to drive to a grocery store and buses do not always go to these stores, according to Thinkprogress. Not allowing people to buy whatever they choose with SNAP is just like if the government saying no jogging or running on the sidewalks or roads because they used their money to build them.
The government should have a say on what food stamp recipients are allowed to get- not because the government needs to keep an eye on more people, not because people are getting overweight, and not because the people that use SNAP can not be trusted with hundreds dollars everyday. For the fact that it’s not their money, for the fact that taxpayers pay 5 cents for every dollar for taxes going towards food stamps every paycheck according to Money and Company. The government is helping those people put food on the table every day so there should be so type of restriction or deal they make on what foods are allowed. If there is not a restriction people won’t be motivated to get a job to earn their own money. So they will remain satisfied with staying on SNAP because they know they can have whatever food they want for free everyday. This defeats the purpose of this SNAP program, which is meant to assist people until they get back on their feet.
In 2011, the U.S. Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), gave SNAP recipients a 30 percent discount on healthy food. HIP participants ended up eating 25 percent more vegetables with their benefits, and a staggering 95 percent of beneficiaries said they wanted to program to continue this is according to Thinkprogress. So if we can raise the percentage off food this will help the participation rate. People will be a lot more willing to walk a mile to an actual grocery store if they are get 35% off healthy food items. This can also be beneficial to the companies willing to participate in this program. They will get good publicity for helping out people in the SNAP program. With this they will get more shoppers in their stores and the outcome will be good for everyone.
I work at a mini mart and i first hand can tell you that this mini mart has very little nutritious foods. We get dozens of customers everyday who come in and buy food with food stamps. These are the same people day in and day out everyday purchasing candy bars, icecream, soda, potato chips,etc. I really makes me wonder if they actually have a nutritious dinner every night or if they only shop at that mini mart. Also it is absolutely sickening to see the amount of money these people have on their EBT cards and they spend it on “junk food”. 250$, 320$ are someone these peoples balances on these food stamps. All just to spend on food that will give very little nutritive value and will only last a meal or two. They could be buying nutritious food that will last a lot longer and that is obviously healthier.
We can make a change to this problem right now if we can just get people to spread the word on this matter. what i want you all to do is visit this website:
http://www.homefacts.com/politics/Pennsylvania/Allegheny-County/Pittsburgh/15237.html. Once you get on the website you can call or email a politician about this problem. We need to get the people in power to listen to what we have to say and they need to make a change.