The Republican Party: Taking Food Away from the Poor
With a stroke of his pen on May 26, Gov. Rick Scott eliminated the annual distribution of $26 million worth of fresh produce and food products to needy residents throughout Florida. Gov. Scott vetoed the Florida Legislature’s recent appropriation for Farm Share and its statewide network of non-profit distribution affiliates, who deliver food at no charge to all recipients.
To save $750,000, Gov. Scott killed a $26-million-a-year, life-sustaining program, effective July 1.
Established in 1991, Farm Share is Florida’s leader in the recovery, sorting, packing and delivery of nutritious food for people and families in need. Donated fresh produce, combined with USDA commodities, is given away from packing houses located near Homestead, in the heart of Miami-Dade County’s farming area, and at Quincy, in north Florida’s Panhandle.
In the past 12 months, Farm Share distributed 15.2 million pounds of food —10 million pounds of produce and juice, and 5.2 million pounds of USDA frozen, canned and dry goods. The total value: $26 million given away free to 732,629 poor, needy Florida children, women and men.
Rick Scott has already done incredible damage to the state’s educational system, and now he’s setting his sights on taking food away from needy children.
And this isn’t the only example. Richard Metzger pointed out this week that the GOP is also proposing to take away food assistance programs for the poor on the federal level.
There is currently a record number of Americans—14%—relying on federal food stamp assistance programs and that number is probably not going to shrink, but grow, in the near term, as more and more desperate Americans exhaust their unemployment benefit extensions. The number of recipients has risen 11% since last year and over 61% since 2007. At present there are an incredible 45 million people (21 million families) who depend on this assistance to put food in their bellies. So that they and their children do not go to bed hungry. (My parents run a food kitchen for the poor out of their church basement in West Virginia, the stories I’ve heard are sad and pitiful.)
If the evil Republicans get their way, these poor families, school-age children, veterans of foreign wars and disabled people can just… starve… Via ABC News:
The Republicans’ 2012 budget plan proposes changing SNAP [“Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program”] from an entitlement to a block-grant program that would be tailored for each individual state, much like their proposal for Medicaid. States would no longer receive open-ended subsidies and the aid would be contingent on work or job training. It would also limit funding for the program.
“Limit funding”? In certain states (see New Mexico, Florida, Michigan) they’d just eliminate it entirely.
Why should poor people think they have some kind of a right to eat?