MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Under a new budget proposal, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could see a major overhaul. The Trump administration proposes replacing food stamps with food boxes. Millions of low-income households around the country would be affected.
“This proposal is really a step back in time,” said Marcus Schmit of Second Harvest Heartland. “It doesn’t match with reality and it doesn’t match with our values.”
Schmit says that massive cuts to SNAP would overwhelm the state’s network of food banks and food shelves.
“It would put way too much pressure on a system that is already maxed out,” he said.
Last year, SNAP served more than 500,000 Minnesotans. To put it into perspective, one in six children don’t have enough food to eat in the state and one in 10 adults faces hunger.
“Right now we really can’t afford produce,” said Renée Kinzer, a SNAP recipient in Minneapolis. “We can’t really afford fruits and veggies, we have to eat canned foods.”
Injuries from multiple accidents forced Kinzer to quit her full-time job in 2004. For her, any reduction in SNAP benefits could be devastating.
“We need that safety net,” said Kinzer. “We do get in car accidents, we do get cancer, we do have problems and we do need that safety net.”
The proposed budget would cut SNAP benefits by more than $17 billion next year. It would come at a savings for the government, but Schmit says in Minnesota thousands of families have a lot to lose.
“We’re hopeful that members of the Minnesota’s congressional delegation will dismiss this,” said Schmit. “It’s not a solution. It’s a proposal that would really undermine the work that we’ve done to serve more Minnesotan’s who need food assistance.”
“We are the richest country in the world and we should be providing to our most vulnerable citizens,” said Kinzer.