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

Photogallery Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid