"You actually receive the food instead of receive the cash", Mulvaney said.
According to the Food Research and Action Center, the harvest box is "a Rube-Goldberg designed system" that would replace the EBT cards that SNAP recipients use at supermarkets, grocery stores, farmers markets and elsewhere, and would be "costly, inefficient, stigmatizing, and prone to failure". The rest of their benefits would be provided on electronic benefit cards as they are now. It would give all households receiving more than $90 a month in cash a food-aid package that would include items such as shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, cereal and meat.
"They have managed to propose almost the impossible, taking over $200 billion worth of food from low-income Americans while increasing bureaucracy and reducing choices", Berg says.
"We know that taste is something that is hard to dictate, and I think you may end up providing a lot of food to people that they won't eat", says Bruce Meyer, the McCormick Foundation Professor of Public Policy at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Business. It also makes sure that they're getting nutritious food.
Mulvaney told reporters that the program would serve "nutritious" food and save the United States an estimated $129 billion over ten years.More news: Zuma will exit in orderly fashion - Ramaphosa
Though the proposal is already out of date as Congress struck a budget deal last week that Trump signed Friday, the document is being billed as the administration's message and vision for future spending. According to CNN, the change would affect about 38 million people. The food would be ordered by the government and delivered directly to participating consumers. The Trump administration's proposal, he said, "is a far more intrusive, Big Government answer".
Critics of the proposal said distributing that much food presents a logistical nightmare. "It would require the government to select and purchase nonperishable food items, pack food boxes for millions of American homes, and then somehow deliver those food boxes across the country", Burhop said.
The New Hanover County Department of Social Services said it is aware of the proposal and is looking to the state for guidance about what this change could mean for people locally.
A memo on the "Harvest Box" program says it will be up to states to figure out how to distribute the boxes through existing partnerships or "directly to residences through commercial and/or retail delivery sources".
The proposal also looks to change the work requirements for recipients.