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
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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid