Food Stamps or SNAP - Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program


So, first things first. Let’s establish some ground rules and basic premises. I am neither a republican, nor a democrat. Yes, I neglected to capitalize both words; neither political party deserves a capital letter. Right now they don’t deserve much of anything. I am thoroughly disgusted and quite angry about the exceptional ability of both parties to line their own pockets and their friends’ pockets at the expense of regular folks - you and me, to employ ridiculous – inflammatory – wildly inaccurate - hateful rhetoric almost every time they speak, and to base every act, word, and decision on what will get them re-elected in the Future, rather than working together for the good of the country in the Present! Personally, when I vote or pontificate, I support liberal concepts about 45% of the time, republican concepts about 45% of the time, and my own brilliant ideas about 10% of the time. J


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So here we go with the righteous pontification part. I do not think SNAP” (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – which replaced Food Stamp paper coupons) is an unnecessary, wasteful, or misbegotten program. I believe there are people who are doing their best, perhaps disabled, perhaps working, spending carefully, who still need assistance. Compassion and generosity (qualities we strongly support when we are the recipients) suggest that the strong and comfortable extend help to those in need.

However, I do think there is misuse and fraud in SNAP, but what governmental program, what business for that matter, doesn’t struggle with misuse and fraud. That is no reason to rail against the program/business and seek to abolish it; it is simply excellent cause to re-think and tighten regulations, to minimize misuse and fraud. SNAP is an important and necessary program - we do not need to dismantle it, but we should make adjustments, improve it, and we should have a voice, because SNAP money is tax money and comes from you and me.


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SNAP concern of the day: I am appalled and angry at the congressional, federal, and state rules for SNAP, and their lack of oversight and interest in making sure the program is implemented properly. And I am furious at drug store chains! They should all be ashamed and change their SNAP guidelines system immediately. I have written numerous letters to people in high places, who should care about these issues, and who have the authority to make improvements, with no success whatsoever. What is my problem?

Well, in Georgia (not sure about other states) when you walk into any drugstore they prominently display the SNAP POSTER and make certain everyone can see they participate in the program. Not so bad so far, although we all know there is very little "real, nutritious food" in a drugstore and it costs much more that the same item in a grocery store, and “Nutrition” is in the name of the program, and really, should congress have approved the SNAP cards for use in drug stores anyway? We will set that aside for now.


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What I found inside the Walgreens (and four other drugstore chains) infuriated me! Little green SNAP tags were attached to the shelves throughout the store. I counted them and noted their location and placement (very basic math, no real statistics involved). Approximately 15% of the tags were on shelves with actual food (same items can be found in any grocery store for at least 50% less…and grocery stores carry fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain cereals and pasta, lots of cheese and dairy products, and unprocessed – better for you and less expensive - meat). Just thought that should be pointed out.

Howeve, 85% of the tags were on shelves that sold candy, doughnuts, sweet rolls, cookies. As if this were not bad enough – pimping the “poorest quality” virtually non-nutritive items to families with a limited food budget….the majority of the SNAP tags were at eye level for small children, not eye level for the adults in the family. They were almost all placed two to three feet off the floor, to catch the eyes of children, who have no knowledge of nutrition or food value, and simply want what they see placed in front of them in brightly colored packaging, often covered with their favorite cartoon characters. What terrific and extremely profitable marketing techniques for the drug store, but a terrible (I would say immoral) impact this has on children, struggling families, and the American taxpayers.


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Everyone I have spoken to about these destructive marketing techniques passes the buck. Several store clerks said, "Well this is not good and just like you, I am really concerned, but the manager said..." Several store managers said, "Well this is not good and just like you, I am really concerned, but it's a regional policy and I really have no authority." Regional managers told me, "Well, this is not good and just like you, I am really concerned, but its corporate policy."

No one would take responsibility for being eager to increase profits no matter how much damage it might add to children’s lives - almost no one responded to twelve thoughtful, courteous, well-written letters mailed to corporate headquarters. The one response simply stated that the U.S. congress and SNAP guidelines permit this; there was no indication of personal concern or personal responsibility. I became more and more incredulous as I realized that nobody seemed to care if our stores are hawking the worst quality “food” to our children and to disadvantaged families.


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From Outside the Ivory Tower


Now, I am not speaking from an ivory tower. I speak as someone who many years ago needed to use food stamps to in order to feed three small children for 18 months. At that time my husband worked two jobs, we lived in a cheap apartment, had one old car, and still couldn’t cover our bills. So I am not unsympathetic to those who need to utilize SNAP. I am glad it is available for those who need it.

But tax dollars should go for wholesome, nutritious food bought in a real grocery store or at a farmer’s market, not for sweets full of empty calories. Stores should not be authorized by our state of federal government to peddle such nutritionless junk and families using SNAP should not be allowed to purchase it. (There are other problems with SNAP, but this is the most egregious one.)

What is wrong with our country? This is simply common sense and wise use of our tax dollars, not rocket science. I encourage you to pay attention the next time you are in a drug store or grocery store. Talk to the store managers. Write letters to corporations, your local representatives and congress. Send letters to your local newspapers. Make sure you distinguish between disapproval of SNAP and disapproval of how it is administered. See if you can effect positive change at least in your local community. Be a force for good whenever and wherever you can.

The SNAP design is either terribly wrong or terribly abused. We should have a voice in this…it is is our money, and these children are our future. Thank you for reading. Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping.

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Comments 55 comments

Bob Zermop profile image

Bob Zermop 4 years ago from California, USA

I've heard of SNAP and have done some research into it, but I never thought about this problem. I'm very much agreed on disagreeing with these backhanded corporate strategies. Good hub, voted up, interesting, and useful.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Bob. I appreciate your comments. I just did some more reading and apparently several states are trying out programs where SNAP benefits can be used to buy meals at fast food restaurants. I think my heart skipped a beat when I read that.

Someone commented that it would be awfully helpful to be able to stop for fast food for the children when in a hurry rushing to the doctor or hospital. I read it twice because it was so appalling. Who thinks fast food is good for a sick child?

As for being in a time crunch...nothing is faster than a peanut butter or cheese sandwich and a piece of fruit. These are things we should have in our kitchens for our children whether we use SNAP benefits or not. Sorry for ranting - thanks for listening.


John Sarkis profile image

John Sarkis 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Hi Theresa, and what a powerful hub this is.

You know, I think our country has a serious nutrition problem. I feel sorry for young children who are exposed to so much bad food. I remember when I came from Cuba; I was 8 years old and had only tasted natural organic food. One day shortly after my arrival to the USA...my aunt brought me a small bag of food. She said, taste this and see if you like it. ...little did I know I was about to taste a McDonald's hamburger. Well, needless to say I had never tasted anything so delicious as that in my short life. ....problem being, foods like these have little to no nutritional value. True, they are cheap and easy to acquire, but at what cost. Later one you see people having problems with obesity and the likes....

Great article - voted up

John


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you John. I so hoped it would be powerful, catch people's attention, perhaps. And I am sure at eight you did think MacDonlads was delicious. We all did. In fact most of us still do, and in moderation I am sure it isn't ruining anyone's health.

But fast food, as we all know, has become 30, 40, 50% of some people's diet. Children are still growing and developing and that is so bad for them. I guess that is why I am so upset with taxpayer money being spent on sugary treats with no nutritional value at all. I don't mind paying for SNAP, I am happy too. I fiercely mind paying for "food" that is hurting our children.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I hope things are well with you. Take good care. Theresa


arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon

Well, you know how I feel without writing it, but, still I will say this. You paint a picture of the ugly side of free enterprize. It's only aim to maximize, to profit and during it's unbridaled romp across America it has become exceedingly efficicient at eliminating the ethical constraints which once impeded it's uninhibited march. It is the best of systems when in possession of a moral conscious. It is the worst of system when it looses it's guiding light. Great write!


Deni Edwards profile image

Deni Edwards 4 years ago from california

Heart-felt article, but I would have to disagree. Just because someone is poor, this shouldn't mean that they should be banned from drinking a soda. Just because someone is relying on assistance, doesn't mean that they should be restricted to purchase what others are under the impression are "appropriate" items.

Think about it...in all fairness, you would need to include anyone receiving assistance or any sort of tax-payer money--including veterans, military, members of Congress, state workers, city workers, teachers...after all, their paychecks, too, are funded by taxpayer dollars.

Do not just single out the poor. Include all of them. Perhaps if you can grasp this, you would see this idea is ludicrous.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks for your interesting comments. I never suggested we should prevent or ban the poor from drinking sodas - why would you bring that up? If someone is on assistance, including me and my family, I certainly believe the "assistance providers" have a reasonable interest in expecting that their hard earned tax money be spent on healthy and beneficial products which will benefit people.

Your second paragraph is illogical. You are comparing apples and oranges. People who "work" for a paycheck (veterans, military, state and city workers, teachers) with people who are in unfortunate circumstances and receive financial assistance without having to work.

These two are not equivalent and cannot be compared. The people you listed are working for their salaries and also pay taxes themselves; the government may authorize their check, but they are most definitely not getting government assistance.

Hard working middle class families can fall on hard times, so I did not single out the poor. As I said, all people should be able to eat and feed their children, but when you are spending someone else's (taxpayer) money, then that someone has the right to expect the money to be spent on good, healthy food and not on sugar laden items with no nutrition that contribute to illness and tooth decay.

We see this very differently and will just have to agree to disagree.


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

"pimping the “poorest quality” virtually non-nutritive items to families with a limited food budget" - I have always wondered why there are no advertisments on TV for broccoli or carrots? Why do we only get advertismentys on pills and junk food? Much to think about ...

"They were almost all placed two to three feet off the floor, to catch the eyes of children" - I am not sure if I already promoted this title to You but there is a great book which has been written about advertising and children. It's called "Consuming Kids" - http://www.amazon.com/Consuming-Kids-Protecting-On... - I highly recommend it to anyone who has children or cares about children.

"no indication of personal concern or personal responsibility" - I agree with You here and nothing can change if the attitude of carelessness does not go away.

"But tax dollars should go for wholesome, nutritious food bought in a real grocery store or at a farmer’s market, not for sweets full of empty calories" - There is no accountability and junk food is profitable and so are the pills we are given to "fix" the problems that the junk food creates. It's a vicious cycle but one which is profitable.

"What is wrong with our country?" You gave part of the answer already in my opinion: "no indication of personal concern or personal responsibility". And the other part of the answer is that we have been led to think that profit is all that matters. Everyone chases profit and morals, values and such have mostly all gone down the drain. Hence, I think I said to You a while back that it is our mentality that has to change - we cannot keep doing the same things, expecting different results ...

Very good read. I am thankful that You have put this piece of writing together, Mrs. Theresa. I shall share this.

All the best!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

These days I am a closet Republican.. I don't want to be but I am ashamed.. A very well written..hmm rant? Views? Nonetheless, I was and will always be for Foodstamp and/or Snap program.. because it gives back to the neighborhood. I noticed growing up that on the first and sixteen of every month grocery stores were full of people shopping putting that money back into the system because stores had to hire to handle the crowd.. local farmers in Connecticut had to hire to keep the demand flowing swimmingly.. what I'm trying to say is that.. if our voices that represent us have to steal, lie and line their pockets in order for our needy neighbors and friends to get nourishment or to feel the hand up ( instead of handout ) then let it be so. They'll steal, cheat and do it some other way. I know I know.. I given up to the system, but your hub started this roll.. now I can't stop..:) Frank


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Give-up Mr. Frank? What does "give-up" mean? Is it like when wolves play-fight and one goes with the legs up in the air exposing the belly? Are You ready to expose your belly? I'm not. : )


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan

Oh those nutritious donuts mmmm. We pay farmers subsidies not to grow food. How about we pay them subsidies to grow food for a government food stamp store? Or have the government buy food in bulk for a food stamp store. It wouldn't take long before donuts were for sale at that store too though. We have too many corrupt politicians that will access to everything for a big campaign contribution. The best way to fix things is term limits. Throw the bums out.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

An excellent explication of both the best and worst of capitalism. It all comes back, as with so many things, to whether they are situated in and operate out of a moral framework. As always, thank you for reading and commenting.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

White Wolf -

Thanks for the info about "Consuming Kids" I will look into it. Junk food is very profitable and as arb said, capitalism without any moral principals or restraints is a terribly destructive economic system and as you pointed out, there is no accountability and it has become a vicious circle. I dread hoe much worse things may have to get before we once again value morals and decency. You are right, the same behavior and choices will certainly not result in different results. Thank you for the encouraging words and the share. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I am with you Frank, as I will always support and defend the SNAP program, although I was doing it from a moral, compassion, perspective. But you make excellent points; government dollars spent on SNAP do indeed flow into the economy and create jobs, a real tangible good.

So, although I would never close down such a program, you are probably right that there will always be politicians lining their pockets at the public's expense. But it makes me crazy. BTW, thank you for the compliment, "A well-written rant." I can't ask for better words. I hope things are well with you. Theresa


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

Mr Happy it just means go with the flow... because no matter what you do your belly would always be exposed.. the difference-- yours forced... But lets not ruin this wonderful Hub with our nuisances and lets give the author her much deserved respect.. so PHdats7 delete this comment away anytime you want.. and please accept my sincere apologies..:)


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Well, Mr. Frank - I would say this is releveant to the topic at hand. There are many government programs which are innefficient, wasting taxpayers money and resulting in very or no little good at all. There are many things we can do besides giving up.

I am an activist, a Warrior and one who does not give-up. I think it is important for people to Unite, to be active and to try to create a better world, one which we know is possible. I try to raise awareness through my writing, just as Mrs. Theresa did here.

Thus, that is why I took a nibble at your "given-up" comment. I was half playing but do consider that I come from a line of Dacian Warriors which believed in immortality and the only Fear they had, was that the Sky might fall on them. We don't give-up. It is not in our fabric.

All the very best Sir! : )


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks for the read and the comments. And I am totally with you on the need for term limits. There is a whole hub in that topic. Have you already written it by any chance? :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Frank - Thank you for your kind and thoughtful concern and for permission to delete your ongoing responses if I felt the need. So far I do not feel the need. I appreciate your and White Wolf's comments although they are coming from different directions and perhaps focus on different outcomes. So far, still a very good conversation.

I do know what it is like for a hub conversation to be high-jacked by a mean spirited, ill-tempered idiot, I mean hubber. And it if frustrating, embarrassing, even horrifying. It has happened to me twice in the last two months. I have a system.

The first over-the-top, off-topic, crazy rant I respond with great courtesy, try to clarify things and make sense of the comment. For the second rant which ignores my response and repeats the craziness from rant 1, I am less courtous, very direct and make it clear what I will and will not tolerate. When the third rant arrives, and, sigh, sometimes it does, I delete their posts and briefly inform them that all future posts to this topic from them will be immediately deleted.

So far, so good. What has amazed me is that several other-wise sensible hubbers have protested my deletions on the grounds of "freedom of speech." My, how we misunderstand and interpret our freedoms.

The "Rude Ranter" has lost no freedoms at all. He or she can say what ever they want on their own hub, their own phone, or in their own house, but they cannot high-jack my hub and use it to broadcast their own vitriol, and then attempt to guilt trip me into putting up with their nonsense. I carry some genuine guilt for my own wrong doings, but I am impervious to false guilt.

My, that was quite an off topic and intense rant on my part...however, I did it on MY OWN HUB, not someone else's! Life is good. :) Seriously, Frank, White Wolf, I appreciate both your contributions. Take care. Theresa


aethelthryth profile image

aethelthryth 4 years ago from American Southwest

I think this is just good common sense, and your energy and passion may actually get enough people concerned to get something done about it.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Why thank you, aethelthryth. I hope people will get exercised enough about this to talk to the people who have the power to change it. Take care.


Hollis96052 profile image

Hollis96052 4 years ago

This is exactly what we talked about in Western Civ a few times. I agree that the thought is good and that there are people who need it. But I hate that everything is done for a profit. My dad and I have went on a bit of a health kick just to realize that fruit is much cheaper than other "sweets", but we had never really thought about it. As we established in class, you just need to come into a position of power and fix our systems. Until then, I suppose we will live.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Well, hello. What a nice surprise! Welcome to HubPages Great to see you. I hope your summer is going well. :)

It is a paradox. Profit is necessary for our economic system to run, but by focusing on profit to the exclusion of all other values, we have hurt individual families and weakened our economy. Not good for the individual or the nation.

You and your dad are making so good choices. We should ALL be doing that. Looking forward to another visit or reading your first Hub. :) Take good care.


JamiJay profile image

JamiJay 4 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

I also think this is a growing issue (alongsidewith the abuse of EBT and fraudulent claims to get EBT). As someone who regularly depends and EBT (in VT) to be able to keep food in our house and in our bellies, this completely frustrates me as well.

People, including our government, have no idea what real nutrition consists of (most people believe pastas, white rice, and canned soups to be a healthy and nutritious foods, when that's just not the case).

I am pretty well educated on nutrition, and I use my benefits at the supermarket or at our local farmers market, making educated decisions on cheap and nutritionally dense foods. But others make the decision just to buy cheap foods that have long shelf lives.

I do not necessarily think it's terrible to be able to buy sweets and treats with benefits, let's face it, sometimes we needed to get a little sugared up from time to time, but I think it is the responsibility of the individuals and the programs who offer the benefits to these individuals to become educated on nutrition. If people understood proper nutrition better, than families of low income can utilize their benefits and make the right nutritious choices for them and their family.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Jami - I am sure misuse of the program does frustrate you immensely. And I believe most SNAP or EBT recipients are responsible, although as you said it would be good for their family's health if they focused more on Fresh Food and less on Processed Food.

And of course, families should not be denied all sweets, but but then in a grocery store. A sixteen ounce package of cookies in a grocery store is between 2-4dollars. But a 6 ounce pkg of cookies in a drug store is 4-5 dollars. We all need to make better nutritional choices and get the most value for our money.

Thanks so much for your comments.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

Theresa, I have noticed this myself, to some extent, but haven't really thought much about the real impact it is likely to have. That is a gross oversight on my part. I will take your advice and try to do something about this problem. It is a good program, but it could certainly be better starting with better regulation over how and where it can be spent. I think some guidance regarding nutrition should be offered to all recipients as well. Great article, voted up and useful.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good evening dmop. I used to think about either, until it was staring me in the face. And you are right it is a good and necessary program and we do need to help people but I'm hoping some better regulations or guidelines can be developed. Your idea about nutritional guidance is a great one. thank you for your votes and comments and especially for your concern. Hope you're having a great weekend. Theresa


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

This is far from a rant. You've discussed your position, detailed your research with honesty about its comprehensiveness and you've covered reasons that this is important, all with the goal of inspiring people to take action. Good stuff!

Indeed, this "is is our money, and these children are our future" and we do have a voice. The question is, will we use it?

"The SNAP design is either terribly wrong or terribly abused" reminds me of the radio commercials I hear in our area that promote SNAP as if people are stupid not to use it. It boggles the mind.

I was discussing the "benefits" programs with a friend just yesterday. We know of a couple of situations where the government is reaching into the pockets and lives of people who receive their "help." Once people are in these programs they are owned. Most will not know it or feel the grip for a long time, if at all. They think they are "benefiting" but they don't realize the freedoms and assets they are giving up.

You've got a great discussion here. I hope that it will eventually include reports of how your ideas were taken to heart and what the results are.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA

Michigan has clamped down on the program a little bit, but I am sure not enough. They discovered a retired man had won the lottery and had all the money in the bank, but because his income was small he was still collecting food stamps. His answer is that he paid his taxes. They really started checking into fraud in the program. It must be assets don't count, just income.

The problems that you site haven't been dealt with though. I think that Walgreens are terrible and didn't know they did this type of marketing. We don't have a Walgreens here in town. I agree that letters need to be sent to them. I applaud you for getting this out in the public eye. I wonder how many other stores use the same technique.

There are other problems with the program that need to be dealt with. I heard someone complain that they can use the program to buy pizzas and other fast food. Originally that wasn't allowable.


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

Hi Theresa,

Thank you for making me smile with your chastisement of the political parties. Loved it.

It is a shocking state of affairs. These shops are abusing the system and their customers. Endeavoring to entice children, by putting junk at their eye level is so underhanded. The shops should be boycotted.

I know there has been an ongoing issue, with shops cashing in food stamps for cash, but for nowhere near the face value of the stamps.

Maybe they should make it that only wholesome food can be exchanged for these SNAP coupons/vouchers. (Not sure which)

The shops should be monitored. If a shop abuses the situation, throw them in jail along with the bankers.


CR Rookwood profile image

CR Rookwood 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

Excellent hub and excellent comments. In the poorest neighborhood here, there is no grocery store. Every grocery that tries to open a branch there shuts down because of theft and shrinkage. Also, why open a chain of any retail concern in an area where people have no money? I think that is why Walgreen's has SNAP stickers. Often the only place to buy food in a bad area is a drug store or convenience store. I'm not offering that as an excuse, just an observation.

When we corral all the poor people into one area, it causes intractable social problems. But these have gotten worse in recent decades, since as a nation we've pretty much jumped into this 'money rules and its every man for himself' kind of thinking. This has especially hurt us all in terms of our food supply, which is no longer safe and is ruled by profit only.

The poor get the worst of it, and I agree with all your points about SNAP. So well written, thank you. But we need to do so much more than reform SNAP. That's just my 2 cents. Voted up.


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 4 years ago from North Carolina, USA

Good points. I tweeted this article.


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 4 years ago from Sacramento, California

In California we have SNAP and a program called WIC (Women infant children, women in crisis ... not sure what it stands for.) Like in your article, we see the WIC stickers on items, but they are very specific items...Cherrio's but not frosted flakes. The focus seems to be more nutritional choices of food...that is aimed at childrens nutritional health. WIC approved items would be high in food value, Iron, vitamins, etc. and lower in surgars, etc. The food items that have low nutritional values seeem to not be WIC approved. Maybe there is hope!


JamiJay profile image

JamiJay 4 years ago from Somewhere amongst the trees in Vermont.

davenmidtown, WIC stands for women, infants, and children. Which is a great program, with healthy alternatives. The WIC program (here in Vermont) delivers healthier, local foods, and gives families a fruits and veggies card to be able to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at your local supermarket or farmers market (other foods are delivered directly to your doorstep, like cereal, juice, milk, eggs, cheese and peanut butter so families do not have the option in purchasing unhealthy items). The WIC program here in VT is great. Good to point out benefits as such.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

RT - I am so glad you think it is good stuff and not a rant. Oh dear, I haven't even really thought about how SNAP and other programs give the govt an entry point into citizen's lives. It does seem to be a great discussion and I hope it leads to action. I have more letters to write and emails to send. :) Take care. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Barbara - Glad to hear Michigan is clamping down and getting more serious about catching out and out fraud. Next, I want to see if all our local drugstore chains handle SNAP as badly as Walgreens does. Like you. I just recently found out that some states allow people to use their SNAP cards to buy fast foods. I am so appalled I can hardly think straight. Thanks so much for your comments.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Michael - Well if makes you smile, I shall chastise them regularly. :) It is terrible abuse and worst that they have so little regard for the health of children. I think one of the resons the US went to SNAP cards (looks like a debit card) was because of the fraud and people selling their food stamps. But truthfully I am not sure that there isn't a way to sell them as well. :( The stores should be monitored and you should only be able to buy whole foods. That is a great idea and would improve the nutrition and health of tens of thousands of children. I hope you and Linda are having a good week. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello CR - Thank you for your generous comments. You have put your finger on another important piece of the puzzle/problem. People must have reasonably priced grocery stores fairly close to their homes. I am OK with SNAP funds going for regular food, eggs, milk, etc in a drugstore (if there is no other option) but it is the crass promotion of candy and cookies to children that I cannot stand.

You are right, unfortunately now "Profit" is king and family and community values do not count for very much. What a sad state of affairs/ We do need to do a lot more than just reform SNAP. That just happened to be a problem staring me in the face that I could wrap my head around. Thanks again for commenting.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you kschimmel. :) And thank you for tweeting. Have a great Fourth.!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello davenmidtown. We have WIC here as well; I think it is a federal program. I totally support WIC because it is very targeted on the most important and nutritious foods needed for babies and small children. I would love to see something similar, maybe not quite as restrictive done for SNAP.

I know the logistics of labeling thousands of items in a store would be a nightmare and not possible. But what about adding some obvious "Cannot Purchase" categories. For example, among other things you cannot use SNAP money/debit card to purchase paper products. I would add:

No candy (zero nutritional value, negative impact on children's health - taxpayer dollars should not fund items that only contribute to tooth decay and encourage obesity)

No prepared deli items (expensive, not a good value for dollars spent)

No ice cream (fruit yogurt - yes)

No pre-packaged or frozen meals (less nutritious and much more expensive)

There are probably other things to prohibit, but I am drawing a blank. Thanks for your comments and I am glad you mentioned WIC.


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

Phdast

Very interesting and well done hub on SNAP.

My wife does the shopping and she prefers that I don't accompany her to the store. Their have been some talk of mystery items falling into the cart when I did accompany her.

I am neither republic nor democrat, but I agree as a taxpayer that SNAP should be improved to make this program more nutritional. It doesn't mean eating wood chips, but it also doesn't mean junk food. Although, I do like donuts, bad donuts.

There are a lot a fun and good nutritional foods that can be purchased under SNAP. If junk food is to be purchased, it should be with funds outside of the SNAP program, or change the name of the program to eliminate the word nutritional.

It is ironic that a government program can be advertised as a good thing while allowing it to provide bad things with the taxpayers money.

Thanks


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks jamijay. It is a good and important program and I am so glad we have it. But the program in Vermont sounds fabulous. Healthy foods delivered to people's doors - a card for purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables - that is amazing. Vermont should be the poster state for food assistance to families. Thanks so much for sharing with us.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi ib -

Thanks for the read and the comments. I of course agree with your sentiments and suggestions. I like the comparison, "not wood chips, but not junk food"

Admittedly junk food, donuts for example, are something we all like to have every now and then, but you can make them from scratch - not hard to do, very inexpensive, much healthier, and the ingredients - eggs, milk, flour - can be with a SNAP card. Its a win-win.

I am off to spend the rest of the Fourth with my three sons' families. I have three grandchildren under eight. Maybe I will whip up a batch of donuts for them...after they eat their veggies and a piece of fruit. :)

P.S. I feel quite sure that you were not responsible for the "mystery items" that appeared in the grocery cart. Doesn't sound like you, unless of course, they were donuts. :)


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 4 years ago from Southern California

phdast

Happy Fourth of July.

Donuts, the best donuts are the Jelly Donuts in NY right before the beginning of Lent.

... in search of flour and eggs....


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

You are absolutely correct on everything. Yes, there are many people that deserve them and spend them correctly, but a large percentage of them don't. There has been a time or two that I needed them myself. I hate even asking for help. I do know many that sell them for cash or worse. They ride the government hard and have been for years. A few of them have never worked in their life, always living on our hard earned money.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks for the read and your comments lyricwriter. It is a huge problem and congress or that states or somebody needs to address it. Looking forward to reading some of your work. :)


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

Hello Theresa,

There is always going to be some unscrupulous shop owners that will find a way to circumvent any system put in place. Discreet monitoring is a solution that works to a point. At least it may discourage a few of them, from taking advantage of people, in these unfortunate circumstances. Sharing this.

We are both fine thanks. How are you all?


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Michael- There does need to be some sort of monitoring, better guidelines or a better system of some kind. How tragic that they are taking advantage of those most down on their luck.

I am doing well, pretty busy. Teaching three classes, but at least during the summer there are No Administrative Meetings. Hooray! MU HP time has been focused this last three weeks on the collaborative project on aging. There are sixteen chapters, each hubber organized by a different chapter. I posted mine, The Journey - An Essay on Aging -Chapter 12, today, so now I can relax a little. :) Thank you for commenting and sharing. :) Theresa


jman00001 profile image

jman00001 4 years ago from Texas

Good article :)

I agree that those in temporary need should be provided only healthier foods through food stamp (SNAP) tax support programs.

However , the Federal government has never shown itself to be good, fair, or efficient at managing nationwide programs. The failures of social security and voting are two examples of many.

The best "fix" is to improve the population. Make them accountable for themselves, their family, friends and neighbors. How can we do this? Simple - cancel welfare related programs including SNAP.

We are not in a world war.

We don’t not have 25% unemployment / depression -like living conditions.

We have NO legitimate reason to keep a nationwide welfare state going. ( if someone needs temp help- that is what family, friends, neighbors, church and LOCAL charity is for, right?)..

The only reason I think the 1930’s depression era “National” policies are still going is that it is VERY profitable for the elite rich & powerful..and that it keeps the poor down & dependent on the federal government = a powerful form of control..and good way to secure future votes :(


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you jman - Like you I certainly think SNAP funds should be applied toward healthy food. And we do need to do much more so that temporary assistance really is temporary. It would be really interesting to see some history -oriented hubs about why so many of the depression era policies became institutionalized and permanent. That is outside my expertise, but I bet somebody at HP has the background to do it. Thanks again for the detailed comments. :)


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

I agree with you 100%. There is tremendous waste and mismanagement of this program. However, I disagree with the idea that recipients are 'free-loading' off of taxpayers' dollars. At one time, (the majority of) those needing help were also taxpayers, and as such, are merely seeing a return of their own tax payments in a time of need.

As a person who has had to swallow her pride and apply for this very program, due to cuts in income, and disability status of a family member (see my own article on Government Aid Programs)...I can tell you it is already a paperwork nightmare. Some people may have been able to glean inside information on how to game the system, but I sure haven't. The complicated process you must go through, the questions you must answer, the proofs you must submit, are already more than sufficient to prove need.

The insult is in having to do so repeatedly, when no magical increase in income is in sight. No, we don't have money to waste on lottery tickets; no, a rich relative did not die and leave us rolling in dough; no, Social Security and Disability payments did not rise above the level of keeping us below the poverty line. This supposedly "temporary" assistance, in the current economical situation, has become permanent for far more of us than we would like.

Furthermore, the irony is, that the healthier the food, the more it costs. I compare prices and labels regularly, and we shop at a discount large 'warehouse' type market (no, NOT Costco--their prices are not that great!). Winco Foods IS the least expensive store in our area. However, whole wheat pasta does cost more (for a smaller package) than a large package of plain, regular pasta. Their "fresh" produce ends up costing more than canned or frozen because it is not so fresh, and doesn't keep as well at home as does produce from a pricier store (Raley's, in our area, has the best).

Low-fat, low-sugar or fat-free shelf goods all cost more than their more fattening and less nutritious counterparts. We buy house-brand label goods when possible, but it is not always an option.

I strongly believe that "food stamps" should indeed be ONLY for real food, and that candy, gum, chips, cake, ice cream, and other such non-essential items should be disallowed from the program. Not that we don't like to have some of these things ourselves now and then, but still, when I am behind someone in line, and see their cart chock-full of this junk food, and then also note that they are obese, it makes me angry. THAT is the real abuse of the program, not fudging on the paperwork.

Sorry for the rant, but this is a sore spot for me. Instead of allowing junk food, they should expand the program to include things that take a good chunk out of the budget, and that everyone truly NEEDS, such as toilet paper and "female supplies." I know, those are not "food" or "nutrition" items, but they are just as necessary, and can be pricey.

If you really want to save the taxpayers' money, then reign in the government employees and politicians' ability to 'cash in' vacation pay and perks to glean huge raises in their own Social Security income, and eliminate 'golden parachutes.' There's your biggest abuse of all systems. The assistance programs are NOT 'running out of money,' they are being raided and stolen by these other nefarious means by those in charge of administering them.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

MzLizzy -- Very well written and I could not agree with you more. You touched on many important points that I didn''t even cover in my hub. I would support all the kinds of changes and new regulations that you suggest. Thank you for contributing to this conversation and especially for speaking from personal experience. You have done us all a service. I will be happy to read your "rants " (excellent essays) any time. :) ~~~ Blessings.


Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

Pavlo Badovskyy 3 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

You are lucky to have just 2 major parties. We have several of them. Can I say that any is better? NO. Politics always want power and use money to manipulate people. Great Hub!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Pavlo - That is an ezxcellent point. If we had several parties struggling over every issue we would be much worse off. Hope you are having a great week. :) Theresa


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

Well unfortunately, the parents don't always make good decisions for their children and it is safe to say that haven't made great decisions overall, which probably what has put them in the situation they are in. Regardless a lot of individuals need help becoming more and sometimes their choices are going to be rushed and poor in judgment with the food they buy. Let's just hope that they can get their act together and in the mean time maybe this article will promote some healthier choices. Great article very informative and well written.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi joe - You are right about many parents not making the best decisions. It is next to impossible to make sure that parents are making good choices, of course. But if we limit or eliminate most of the "unhealthy choices" families can make with SNAP, maybe we will be halfway there. Thanks for your encouraging comments. Take care. Theresa

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