Don Anderson, an elder at Grace Presbyterian Church and a Harvard-educated MBA, manages the CalFresh program at the Saturday farmers’ market in the East parking lot of Country Club Plaza . The CalFresh program, also called SNAP or the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is affiliated with the Department of Agriculture and helps millions of U.S. citizens to purchase grocery items. Most recently, as the United States pulls away from the “great recession” following the disastrous consequences of the world-wide secondary mortgage market, some states, including New York, have been withholding food stamps from some recipients, 18 to 49, who are unemployed for longer than three months and who are not raising minor children.
Anderson, however, feels that governmental entities willing to restrict food stamps should be very careful. While some states may feel that the burdens of recession might be over, this might not be the case for some regions and for some individuals. In his experience, moreover, there are still many people in the Sacramento area who are dependent upon food stamp and who are indeed very grateful for the bit of support provided by the SNAP program.
In addition, many jobs don’t pay a living wage. These workers, even if technically ineligible for CalFresh or SNAP benefits, may continue to need nutritional assistance of some kind.
In general, a wide consensus exists that promoting food insecurity by selectively eliminating the universal benefit of nutritious meals is NOT the right way to encourage people to look for work.