WWL>Topics>>11:10am Think Tank: child hunger

11:10am Think Tank: child hunger

Nov 11, 2013|

Garland talks to the Director of Communications with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana Mike Kantor about child hunger and the result of food stamp cuts.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Food stamps it's a subject that I don't know a lot about but not here we have an expert here in the suit you'd help me. What -- ma was the revolution that food stamps have been cut and think there's a good chance to -- cut more. In I've picked this up a couple of nights ago when I was reading notes subject -- to become acquainted with the this is. It is as something called in -- wars which I think is. Or rather. And extreme liberal liberal word extremely conservative think -- 12. And today. Whenever you read anything if you through like I am appear. Moderate injury in intimately independent. Yep a look at this sort of Soviet see whether or not believable. But he quotes a number of experts from around country here's what does say. Food banks across the country. Warren there are going to be on able to meet demands. Of these cuts and boots and screwed through. Or increased in more than they are not more in our. Demand is gonna increase the letting the -- and much more. They cut more. Impacting not just low income residents -- local businesses. But acceptance. These people are saying expecting nightmare -- -- that. What do -- local businesses will extend outward to the entire community. Prompting millions of Americans who grew hungry even -- the state for domestic on route. Minute food bank was simply. Beyond able to meet the demands. Here's a scene Euro -- a food bank in New York City considered view look across the world. Riots always begin typically dissimilar and people cannot look forward to eat. These cuts so far as an average loss of 36 dollars a week. -- really gonna buy it in the final week in November. Which is among them was open and improved since usually enough credit. Illustrating just soaring demand approved for the 2007. Recession. Five food banks then from the association. Of -- food banks. Where handing out an average of 69000. Emergency boom boxes per month. Last month 108300. Boxes. -- -- If all of this is -- Apparently for. Will have 21 meals per month less to me. To better understand this. We called Mike cantor director of communications. Second harvest food bank greater New Orleans and Acadia and in my book and show -- shouldn't go thanks very much. Educate me -- the current status approached him and what has been cut want me. So beginning November 1 food stamps were cut for all households across the country. Here in Louisiana that means that we've lost 41 million meals per year. I'm just give your sense that the scale of that cut that's more in the total charitable distribution of all the food banks in this state so when you know. The article the you referenced said that food bank simply can't fill the gap on certainly here to echoed that statement there's no possible way that we could fill the gap. That's left in the nutrition assistance safety net as a result of these cuts. Photographers recoup and come back my -- -- with the second harvest food bank. And a Gibbs called to procedure 187. Troll free it's it's exceeded 907. What do you think we've all heard disorders. Also that we've seen things that local food stores were. People of lower incomes are buying junk food and things and indeed. On the other side of the court and I hear a lot of counter arguments to that concern. -- that impression. What are your thoughts to its eggs are 170 double rubio coming right back. Are welcome back we're we're talking about ironically something that battery contours you're so good. Wednesday. They've been cut to things over bloopers and that looks like they're going to be cut again. And and I would bet if you. We did a poll. Bet that said you the listeners. Should we cut its. Would -- money that the majority of its yeah. If we say how much. You get in the number. But basically. Cut him enough to where they came by red balloon dictatorships something on the line. But it seems like it's a little bit more complicated than that. And talk about a we have -- cantor director of communications second harvest bank rate in Orleans and Acadia and give me the financial so you guys get money from where India and you buy food in them what you do. Well we get 66%. Of our operating 66% of our operating revenue comes from private philanthropy so. When it comes down to it there's no way that we could operate without the generous. Part no unfortunately private fallen debris is that corporations getting together making food drivers that just individual. The combination of individuals and corporate philanthropy. We have a lot of folks that give us money we -- a lot of folks that donate food because of the relationships that we have with producers and distributors. And the wholesale relationships that we have in their grocery industry. It's actually a lot more efficient for us to take somebody's financial donation and turn that into foods so for example we can take a ten dollar donation. And turn it into 28 meals for families in need. -- do the good news from -- because of -- Correct we buy a certain percentage of our food we also got a lot of food donations most of the food that we buy we actually turn into hot meals for children and seniors in need. Through our community kitchen so we have a kitchen produces. Roughly 6000 meals a day and the serve those -- astute to children in after school programs to summer feeding programs. And also to seniors and congregate care centers. Mature -- doing to yours yours on there if you will bring him over listeners. Let's go to -- an avenue Gilani appreciated the call your -- with my account. -- and as the number of things that are unknown need to be known. Years ago and I got assistance. I've found doubt that you could use coupons. In addition to the food stamps now -- state of Louisiana think Georgia's two or three -- What each group on or something like that it's an animal chill it. Does indeed they are normally. More than two Dallas -- the coupons and it. And you can -- them all line if you have access to a computer oral library. You can -- knock -- coupons. I'd hate you -- apparently the story now without food stamps. I'm going to point 500 that they -- thousand dollars a year using group off. I think it's important to recognize that. Snap benefits are are very very minimal at this point after the November 1 cuts. We're looking at an average benefit of a dollar forty per person per meal. So the match and trying to go to the grocery store and picking out a meal for your family for that small amounts of money unfortunately when we look at what folks can buy. We're looking at a lot of junk calories a lot. You know crackers in and soda and and chips. And these are obviously not the healthy choices and we like to see see people making healthier choices and I would argue it's the best way to do that is to you. Increased the benefit amount so that folks have a little bit more flexibility in terms of the amount of food -- taken by an equality of that if who do they can buy said that they can be. Purchasing some some healthy produce instead -- the junk food. I pay less than two dollars a box but serial. Okay as she is one example. And I don't get the food stamps -- Good ones in the the point is normal boxes cereal -- but 34 dollars. But with a group on I'd pay less spin through. And these coupons is that what people do. I think people who are struggling to make ends meet use all sorts of different types of have mechanisms in savings to two augment their income. I think food stamps are critical component of that and without the food stamp program we have millions of people in this country. Literally starving and that's I don't think anything I don't think any rest would agree that that's what we wanna say. -- talk about something that fascinated me. Whenever I talk to -- -- about this most of them -- all -- carbon from incidents and they in the all of the room or its shores. But the good thing. Boos people. -- too much junk food they waste of money on -- This an article I pulled out of Asia and Washington Post. Talked about. The Kremlin getting -- go to doctor's office. For your program to beggar children flavored potato chips and granola bar nine year old golden bowl -- those sugary cheap serial. Then gulp down Catholic milk. The mother. Went to the refrigerator. But I -- insolent himself was shot. And then -- and chips on the way I'll. When they had their check up. One of the kids says dive BD is one of them as high blood pressure. One of them shares his mother's medicine. And the mother. Has recently been too sick to work -- on disability because of diabetes now. You would really have gotten so well there are stopping that -- And this is not saying this is correct this is my question. I used to be in that on junk -- I itself an Internet three bags chipped in three hours and three quotes. All I have had enough money or drink and vegetable mixture. That closure to -- long -- longer get a lot healthier. But it's expensive to buy seven vegetables. Once every three or four days the -- of 500 dollars a month. So if I had stayed with the addiction. And not have the money. And the health problem of -- to get off. I would have continued to shop and eat whatever is addicted to do and then. I don't see you boom -- -- that their homage there's an average four person -- we get from groups. Roughly 300 dollars a month. Like -- my old vegetable couldn't -- and wondering. Ford Five Hundred dollars a month if you shop the vegetable -- and that is scale. Don't restrict -- encourage people these appear. The fear. Where they get the money import. Back insurers study a study and I'm sure you've seen through. That Eden. Good -- is more expensive than needing to. Yeah that's absolutely true and I think that you talked to most people and most people recognize the importance of eating healthy and most people. Want to make those healthy choices when they can't unfortunately we have an incredibly high poverty rate one in five. Households in Louisiana -- live in poverty that's one and three children live in households in poverty. So sixteen point four million -- so and that's a lot of folks and when you're dealing with a very very limited discretionary budget. You've got to make some tough choices I wanna tell you about a client of ours Elizabeth Webster she's -- mother to. 22 teenage daughter's eleven Metairie and has been -- has -- Kenny is a part time tow truck driver. They come to our one of our food pantries to receive a -- emergency food box. They're also on snap and she said that at 36 dollar reduction in their benefits which is what they saw and on November 1. Means three to five days of food for that families and now they're gonna have to figure out how to close that -- figure out how to how to make ends meet with three to five days less food on. The figure I'm looking at right now from the Washington Post again and federal government figure. Family for the equivalent of -- in -- 21 meals from. That's -- and you know. We haven't mentioned yet that that today's veterans day I think it's important to talk about who's actually utilizing. Food stamps in across the country we have nearly one million veterans. Who rely on snap program to make ends meet and so we're talking restart from a cutting -- for talking about. Cutting benefits for veterans were talking about cutting benefits for for children seniors disabled. Folks who make up over 65%. Of those who are utilizing snap benefits. It's -- to cut the veterans because we told -- thank you for years service. And for goodness sakes if they really expected us to do something we said thank you producer. Here's another when -- snap program provides about twenty times as much help as the entire charitable Food Network. And arrangements that benefits are cut by 5%. Charitable organizations like yours have to double. They're contributions. Across in the nation to keep up. What do you say the people that chaos on. Lengths. And says so on the browsers and they buy and Bret Boone potato chips and twinkies. And at just weeks you know they should be eating healthier and we shouldn't be human and call him. I think unfortunately where it. As a society we often are very concerned about other folks getting something that don't necessarily deserve. I would suggest though that we can all agree that nobody deserves to go hungry in this country. And snap is the most effective and efficient program that we have. For making sure that there are no children who don't have enough food on the table. Night after night and fortunately though we still have a significant issue with hunger in this country and I would suggest that. Ultimately jobs are the best solution to hunger we want folks to be able to earn a living wage but with the recession and a persistent unemployment and underemployment. Families are are still struggling to put food on the table and snapped his the most efficient way for us to. Make sure that people are not going hungry it charitable network does everything that they can. But to your point we would have to more than double the amount of food leadership that we -- to distribute over twenty million meals per year. To 263000. Individuals across -- and a so we have to do forty just to. Just to make up for the cut to the snap program that was implemented November 1 that doesn't even factor in the additional cuts that congress is currently debating. Are worth thinking about the cut in food -- have already been -- as of November 1. And more movement to cut even more. Which -- you want to give -- call what are your thoughts to 60187. He'd told -- six exceeded -- -- -- it's heavily covered audio figured seventy immoral -- -- -- -- welcome back we're thinking about to ironically it very controversial subject food stamps. They've been cut the beginning of November looks like they're probably going to be cut again. And we. Have the had a varied local I mean regular communications for a second harvest food bank cope with the Mike Kantor might come and I'm I'm looking at the text calls -- gotten one phone call to. People that have seen you know that the people brings in money buying he exits that. Does anybody have handled. On a much -- and rupture and there is in the news. Program. Yet there have been a number of studies that that. Calculate how much waste in an abuses in the program and this is -- an issue that comes at time and time again. I think we have to be very careful about how we define. Fraud and abuse and according to the USDA. We're talking about less than 1% of snap benefits that are trafficked which is the technical definition of fraud so were a very very small. Amount of the benefits. Are actually on fraudulently used. And compare that to the fifteen or so percent of federal income taxes that are fraudulently withheld from the government every year. Now we're talking about. Absolutely completely different magnitude. But if we didn't -- -- the problem -- federal government soon and the Justice Department to get rid of the graft and corruption and it's federal we're talking 12%. Down 1%. One dollar out of every hundred dollars. You know. There have been a number of policy changes that snapped recently that if there helped to cut down on fraud and abuse and -- set the lowest point in the history of the program snap is by far one of the most efficient and effective programs. That the federal government has so I think there's far too much attention placed on. On the fraud and abuse and look I I completely agree you know we don't wanna see your tax dollars go to -- -- 1% -- is too much I would be great if we get it down to 0%. But are we gonna do that we can implement. Changes to the program that at the same time that you get rid of that fraud you're gonna make more people hungry and that's not. Calculation that I am that I'm willing it'd us on exchange and I'm willing to make. Wondered that talks atlas -- -- Reading this. What what are the federal government take all that money and buy food for your. Warehouses. And had you'd distribute it by. Wonder that the Q can you have too bad it's good to boot. Well the USDA does that to -- the US TA runs essentially it's a price support program for for agriculture. They buy a certain commodities healthy commodities and then distribute those to the food banks. And then we distribute them to our network of a partner agencies and that's very effective way of aiding the emergency Food Network and so we're doing that day in day out. But the fact is that when you create an alternative distribution system around emergency food. It's gonna be less efficient then if you give people. Snap benefits for example and folks are able to go to the typical retail. System and purchase food on their on that's far more efficient the amount of money that -- goes to snap benefits his. Buys more food then if we have to create. An alternative distribution system which is the the food banks and the USDA. I'm distributing these commodities. On board one of our listeners action and pretty interesting question. If I can and of course it's bound -- -- please stay with me. -- basically Jack -- under but basically -- says. Why are our grocery stores and in our food emporium northern not piles of healthy foods that are designated only for -- it. Well I think about the picture there you're creating. Basically a two tiered. Two tiered shopping experience a two tiered society we're -- and grit and now. Segregate. Folks who are utilizing. Snap benefits to particular aisles of the -- restore. I mean that that's it and terrible. For the dignity of the people who were needing to rely on these programs. Our new media. Bring -- quick. Call learned. Do you. Should. Get it wrong it more on the just as the quickest and and because and so radio talk -- you did that structurally secure incentives and did some of the same stuff so. I -- my my problem is this I'm retired now. Walked into the -- -- or the other day and was debating whether Russian side and a fifteen -- the -- crawfish trying to look at my budget. Korea out of luck before. While -- make -- mine related walks and talks are BMW right in front the front door. -- him with manicured nails and opposite people accountable crawfish. Now commentators on all the corn and -- are all who steps. And that's the kind of thing that. I don't believe the true necessities although -- Easily debate the cooperation and and necessity. But. It's just upsetting when you sit there trying to figure out who spend their money. And to people doing that itself. I -- -- -- jurors were year old all the time would amend the approved -- people driving Mercedes. I think that probably. Those are the exceptions that prove the rule I mean. I at least we do hear these stories a lot and the fact is that. We work with folks who are utilizing. Snap program. Every day we we've worked went over 263000. Individuals across southern Louisiana. And and the vast majority of folks -- are desperately trying to make ends meet trying to string together. Not a whole lot of money in disposable income. And they're try they're looking for savings in every place and that they can they can get it and if you look at they have. Reports from their grocery stores on what people actually purchasing with with snap benefits. -- is not snap benefits. -- they actually don't see her very much every different city of the folks who are utilizing snap benefits are trying to it to purchase the same things. Then -- very outs is they're trying to tip primarily that trying to purchase meat and -- protein. And some for -- invest -- for their family when they can afford it but unfortunately snap benefits don't amount to a whole lot and most folks run out of them by third week in the month because we're talking about a dollar forty per person per meal. Your break -- talking to Mike cantor director of communications second harvest food bank. Everything about when Sampson have been -- of November person looks like congress. Is considering more cuts. By the call in the tax I would assume majority of -- or all foreign won't come right back -- bill figured seventy -- applied Korea. Well we're thinking about foods and being cut in November and being cut again and were talking about the government's statistics and course -- lead. Government statistics. Sixteen and a half million children going hungry in this country. We have Mike -- Weathers who's director communications second harvest food bank. Like again how much does. Four person them we get per month for food 300 and some 300 dollars on average so. Even if you're buying -- yours and feeling in your bones and whatever you're only buying you two of them -- Mike Bloomberg for. Yeah if you're us spending money that way you'd be out of your food stamps by hand -- couple days into the month. And it and one of the things I was talking to different about it over the weekend that. Is like you know all of our callers so far and Allred -- -- are just lazy people and buying extravagant things and they shouldn't. And I said to him let's say you're right. Let's say that the majority in the problem let's go limit. In the meantime not to -- any of the children of gamblers. Until. We get that -- because that's what bothers you about the program let's go do that has anybody -- -- -- the mechanism. An army of detected music can move and all the grocery stores surreptitiously. And kept the woman with the Mercedes. And their crawfish. Are you talking about spending an awful lot of money time additional regulation in order to. Identified though 1%. Of snap benefits that are when everybody in the neighborhood is the and that comes from the USDA directly -- You know look let's talk about that -- who's actually utilized in this program and the vast majority of snapped recipients are children seniors. Or disabled adults and of those veterans and veterans and of those folks who are able bodied working age adults. Majority of them are working so to characterize people who have to rely on snap benefits to help put food on the table as as lazy and irresponsible. And does a real injustice to the people who are down on the airlock and oftentimes if they had just lost a job and just trying to make ends meet. We talk to folks every day who or are working forty hours a week. -- by arm earning a minimum wage in a minimum wage is not enough there to support a family in this country -- unfortunately we're not talking about a living wage here. So folks who are working for 725. An hour. I don't have enough money to to make it on their -- so if you -- -- talk about getting folks off of food stamps which I think would be great let's talk about the real solution which is. -- jobs that -- a living wage. One final question -- the other night that we rule way a little 44%. Of whom in this country. Pickup in New York Times Sunday there's. Joseph when they're used to be the head up Trader Joe's. In his opening up something called. The elite table. He said quote we're gonna grab all of the stuff bring an on site group prepared news -- also -- -- -- Britain produced. And it's can be prices and used junk food basically what he's doing. He's setting up. In her connections have many many agencies and trucks. To get booed when it comes out of restaurants and grocery stores that may be one -- past expiration date. And producing that do you see anything like that round here and is that viable. That's absolutely viable it's a great way to reduce some of the waste in the food system and it's something that we do -- second harvest food bank. About 30%. Of our food product now comes from. What we call retail food rescue programs that we partner with operations like Wal-Mart mean Dixie. And pick up there. Soon to be expired product that they're not gonna sell and we distribute that directly to our partner agencies and that's that's high quality oftentimes produced perishable product. And that's going directly into the emergency food assistance it's it's a fantastic program. But again. And -- terrible response to hunger is a great stop -- measure it insurers that they're the folks out there we're not going to. Starve tonight. But it doesn't create long term solution to hunger doesn't move the needle on hunger so we end up serving the same people. Month after month because there are still either unemployed or trying to survive on a minimum wage. And so we need programs like snap to to create that support programs -- that we know that folks are not going hungry in America. For the people and I hope there's some people out there that wanna help. Or were they do to help second arms. You know we cannot. Function without the generosity of the community at -- said that before and we say it every time we have an opportunity to because it is really a community organization. And I think that there is a role for private charity to play and in the fight against hunger and certainly we do our absolute best day to play that role. If you're interested in getting involved making a donation learning about volunteer opportunities or even. Raising your voice against food insecurity and advocating for nutrition assistance programs you can go to our website it's Debbie Debbie Debbie you. Dot note dash hunger dot org and and that's Debbie Debbie W dot note -- hunger dot org -- left to hear from him. I don't appreciate the time very much room agreed to Anke Tim governor bill bigots ebony jail more applied to --