A Trump administration proposal to revamp the federal food stamp program could mean big changes for the thousands of Delta residents who depend on the food stamps, along with the businesses that rely on E-B-T card income.
The proposed budget released Monday would cut cash benefits through the SNAP program by half and replace that money with baskets of food delivered by the government.
The program is supposed to save about $13 billion a year.
Families who currently qualify for $90 or more per month in food stamps would get food in the boxes while their e-b-t card deposits would be cut in half.
Across the nation, more than 44 million people are on food stamps, about 14 percent of the population. In Mississippi, 583,000 residents qualify, about 19 percent.
In the Delta, the percentages are much higher. Nearly 72,000 people receive food aid under the SNAP program, amounting to nearly 36 percent of the population. In Washington County alone, more than 21,000 people receive food stamps, more than 42 percent of the population.
If the American Harvest Box food is brought into the county from elsewhere, it could have a heavy impact on grocery stores that serve the Delta.
Nationally, food stamps account for 7.5 percent of all food sales. But in the Delta, with the heavy concentration of people qualifying for the program, the percentage would be much higher.