If ever there was an example of solving one problem while creating another, it’s the Food Stamp program in America.
Make no mistake; prior to the creation of the Food Stamp program in the midst of the Great Depression, malnutrition was a serious problem in our country. We were a nation of massive farm surpluses in the countryside, with millions of malnourished people in our cities. The first Food Stamp program put that surplus food into 20 million hungry mouths.
Fast-forward to today and more than the program’s name has changed. Now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), it cost American taxpayers $65 billion in 2010. As of October of 2011, the program fed 46 million Americans.
It has been proposed by our good friends at McDonald's that they be allowed to become a participating restaurant in the "SNAP Restaurant Program." That's right: this program allows SNAP participants who are elderly, disabled or homeless to purchase a low-cost meal at USDA certified restaurants. In 2009 approximately 2.3 million elderly SNAP participants were eligible to participate in RMP. Now McDonalds wants in. What an unhappy meal that would be for America.
Here at Louie's Kids (www.louieskids.org) we know how many of our kids (those struggling with obesity and often times, morbid obesity) are being raised by their grandmothers, grandfathers, or both grandparents. In the most recent Census Bureau statistics, 2.4 million of the nation's families are maintained by grandparents who have one or more of their grandchildren living with them -- an increase of 400,000 (19 percent) since 1990. The average incomes in these homes of grandparents is around $19,750, so, many of these "elderly" citizens are available for SNAP assistance and, yes, you guessed it, to participate in the restaurant program.
If McDonald's muscles in on this program, guess what's going to happen ... the kids will be fed these fast food meals even more often than they already are. The average Title I school child (a school must have at least 80% of the student body taking free or reduced lunch to qualify as Title I) lives 7 minutes from a fast-food restaurant; a kid from the suburbs, 22 minutes on average. We have got to take a stand against the abuse of government funds and go in the opposite direction: force the Department of Agriculture to restrict fast-foods from being a part of any government subsidy. The food stamp program in this country is incredibly broken. It's time to take back the grocery store and force adults to indeed, feed their children better.
Don't let Mcdonald's win! Tell the US Congress to Stop the UnHappy Meal Program Now!
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