News / USA

US Holiday Celebrating Bounty Comes as Government Cuts Food Program for Poor

US Holiday Celebrating Bounty Comes as Government Cuts Food Program for Poori
X
November 23, 2013 12:24 AM
The American holiday of Thanksgiving celebrates bountiful harvests with traditional family feasts. This year it comes just as the government assistance food stamps program is reducing benefits to millions of people. VOA’s Brian Padden reports that volunteer organizations are increasing donations in the short term, but advocates warn that philanthropy alone cannot feed all who are in need.
US Holiday Celebrating Bounty Comes as Government Cuts Food Program for Poor
Brian Padden
The American holiday of Thanksgiving celebrates bountiful harvests with traditional family feasts. This year it comes  just as the government assistance food stamps program is reducing benefits to millions of people. Volunteer organizations are increasing donations in the short term, but advocates warn that philanthropy alone cannot feed all who are in need.

At the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C., volunteers are preparing to distribute 50 percent more food this month than last, in part to compensate for the recent $5-billion cut to the food stamp program.

While increased private donations may help poor families make it through Thanksgiving, Brian Banks, the organization’s policy director, said they cannot sustain a major increase in giving over the long term.

“The Capital Area Food Bank cannot reach enough donations to fulfill that cut. The food banks across the nation cannot reach enough donations to fill the cut. What we can do is make sure we are purchasing food, that we are taking donations and we are getting out to the community as fast as possible,” said Banks.

The food stamps cut is technically not a cut, but an end to a temporary stimulus increase passed during the economic recession.  

While the U.S. economy has improved, unemployment remains high and the number of people receiving food stamps has risen to more than 47 million.

Still the U.S. Congress is considering cutting up to $40 billion more in nutrition aid over 10 years to reduce the government deficit.

Conservatives like Rachel Sheffield, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, say more must be done to reduce fraud and abuse, and decrease the growing dependency on government handouts.

“It should be reformed to promote work so that able-bodied adults work, prepare for work, to at least look for work in exchange for receiving assistance. That’s fair to the taxpayers and it is also in the best interest of the recipients,” said Sheffield.

Advocates for the poor say most people on food stamps do work, but their wages are not enough to provide for their families. The large department store Walmart came under criticism recently for holding a Thanksgiving food donation drive for its own employees in need.  

Banks says it is not surprising that many working families still need food stamps, which are provided under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program called SNAP.

“The majority of people who use the SNAP program, they work nine to five [o’clock] every single day. They’re working families. They’re the working poor. They need help and assistance. For some this is their last step to getting back on their feet,” said Banks.

This year as Americans gather for traditional Thanksgiving feasts, there may be less food on the table for millions of working poor.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid