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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs