Cutting costs of feeding the hungry

Critic challenges President Trump's plan

HALETHORPE, Md. - They know something about delivering food at the Maryland Food Bank---as much as 45 million pounds of it per year, and the person who heads up that effort, Carmen Del Guercio, says President Trump's push to have states deliver bulk food items to the hungry is not realistic.

"The challenge we have of reaching people in the western part of the state all the way down to Pokomoke is extreme, and so the ability to kind of do that in every state in our union, from where I sat, I just couldn't see how that could possibly happen in a way that's any more efficient than what's operating today," said Del Guercio.
    
The idea is save well over $100 billion dollars over the next decade by buying in bulk from American farmers, which helps them, while providing recipients with healthy food staples at a discount over what they would pay for the same items in a grocery store.
    
But critics say any savings would pale in comparison to the costs of transporting, storing and distributing food on a massive scale.

"There's so many moving parts to this thing that really make it very challenging to be managed,” said Del Guercio, “I just can't see how logistically or at its core, how these things get executed."
    
Proponents of Trump's plan say it would also reduce the fraud associated with the electronic cards issued to recipients to buy food.
    
18 months ago, for example, the feds busted 14 retailers in the Baltimore area who paid 50 cents on the dollar for card credits---stealing more than $16 million dollars from the government in the process without feeding anyone.

"Bad guys do bad things and the reality is, the number really isn't that significant in the grand scheme of things to totally turn this thing up on its ear and potentially go backwards in a lot of ways in terms of the type of food that gets sourced and how it gets distributed," said Del Guercio.
    
The president's proposed budget also would eliminate a program that delivers meals to low income seniors, and here in Maryland last year, that program provided more than three quarters of a million meals to people who couldn't afford them otherwise.
 

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