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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid