News / USA

In Kentucky Some Fear, Some Cheer Proposed Food Stamp Cuts

In Kentucky Some Fear, Some Cheer Proposed Food Stamp Cutsi
X
September 24, 2013 9:03 PM
Depending on one’s political perspective, the $40 billion cut to the U.S. food stamp assistance program -- recently passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and now under consideration by the Democrat-led Senate -- is either a measure to curb a growing culture of dependency or is cold indifference to those most in need. VOA’s Brian Padden takes a closer look at the debate over food stamps in Kentucky, a southern state with one of the highest poverty rates in the United States.
Brian Padden
Depending on one’s political perspective, the $40 billion cut to the U.S. food stamp assistance program - recently passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and now under consideration by the Democrat-led Senate - is either a measure to curb a growing culture of dependency or is cold indifference to those most in need.  The debate over food stamps continues in Kentucky, a southern state with one of the highest poverty rates in the United States.

The Shively Area Ministries near Louisville, Kentucky, operates a food distribution program in an area where the poverty rate has risen from 11 to 18 percent in the last decade.  Marvin Pogue, a disabled veteran, depends on this private charity to supplement the $34 a month in food stamps he receives.  Cutting his assistance further, he says, would be punitive.

“That’s crazy. I mean we’re not getting enough now to get by through the month," he said. "That is why we are having to go to outside facilities.”

Coordinator Sister Jean Anne Zappa says the program feeds 20,000 families a year.  The ministry was able to increase private contributions after the U.S. Department of Agriculture cut its donations to food banks almost in half last year.  She says it will not be able to fill the gap if the proposed cuts to the food stamp program go through.

“We cannot do it alone. We need to be in partnership with the government because we are our brother’s keeper," she said. "We are our sister’s keeper.  We are one people.”

But many working class people at a Louisville veterans' picnic expressed support for the proposed food stamps cuts, especially the provision that would require adults to find jobs or job training, or lose their benefits.  

Christina Shank, a mother of two, says too many people are too dependent on government hand-outs.

“The people that work deserve a chance to receive food stamps," she said. "And the people who don’t work, I mean, people need to get up and work for what they have.  I think it is a good decision.”

Zappa says most of the people who receive food stamps are working, and many are single mothers taking care of children.  They are just not making enough money in this stagnant economy to support their families.   

“There is a thing called 'food insecurity' that we are looking at," she said. "So you may be a working person and you just don’t have enough food for the end of the month for your family.  That is different than someone who is in dire poverty all of the time.”

She says as the economy improves, the number of people needing food stamps will drop. But critics say pushing people off assistance and into the workforce will lead to economic improvement.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid