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should restaurants be allowed to accept food stamps?


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  #1  
September 6th, 2011, 12:53 PM
Quantum_Leap's Avatar frequent flier
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Some areas of the country have begun to allow food stamps to be accepted at certain restaurants as well as at grocery stores.

Quote:
A restaurant meals program was launched to allow homeless, disabled and elderly households to purchase hot food. [7 C.F.R. § 274.10.] Counties can choose to participate in the program. It is currently operating in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, Tuolumne, and Santa Clara Counties. Check with your county to see if they participate in the program and if so, ask for a list of participating restaurants.
4. Using food stamps ~ California Food Stamp Guide

More info: Restaurant Meal Program FAQs

The argument for this is that low-income individuals don't always have access to the resources (or time) to cook nutritious meals for themselves at home. The argument against this, obviously, is that restaurant food is unnecessarily expensive and that the government shouldn't have to shoulder the burden of this extra cost.

What do you think? Is there value to these programs, or should food stamps be accepted at grocery stores only?
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  #2  
September 6th, 2011, 02:05 PM
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I do not think it should be across the board in every county or even state. Obviously the counties that are currently using this have a large population that benefit from it, (mostly homeless) so for those areas I am okay with it. I don't think it should be widespread.
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  #3  
September 6th, 2011, 02:06 PM
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I think that if someone doesn't actually have a home or access to food/water, it might be more beneficial for the government to help them obtain these things as part of the welfare program.

For those who DO have access to these things, I don't think they should be "deprived" of once a month outings or something, but I don't think they should just be able to use their card (maybe they can get a voucher once that's good for once per month outing, though) so they can eat out all the time.

I also believe that the idea is to make people SELF-SUFFICIENT so if they eat out every single day, that certainly doesn't help go toward this goal. Other people are serving them, cleaning up after them, cooking for them, etc. I don't feel that people on foodstamps should ever do "Better" than anyone else. I think we should all be equal (I know it's unrealistic, lol). This means giving a hand up, not a handout.
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  #4  
September 6th, 2011, 02:09 PM
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For people who are homeless or without a kitchen I'm fine with it. Other than that I think the traditional food stamp program is sufficient.
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  #5  
September 6th, 2011, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho06 View Post
For people who are homeless or without a kitchen I'm fine with it. Other than that I think the traditional food stamp program is sufficient.
This. It is much more expensive to eat out than cook at home. But I do agree with a PP about helping the homeless get the resources they need.
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  #6  
September 6th, 2011, 05:49 PM
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I think every state should have a few healthy restaurants that offer food stamps. Panera Bread type places would be nice (they aren't that spendy and are healthy). Or even Subway type places. I know that in MN many Papa Murphy pizza places accept food stamps. Our local co-op and Farmer's Market now does too, so that's cool. Not sure how many people actually use either of those though.
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  #7  
September 6th, 2011, 05:49 PM
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I think its a great idea for homeless and elderly that have trouble or can not cook a meal or a single mom who works so much that she doesnt have time to cook a hot meal for her family .I also think that the cost of the hot meals should be regulated so the person having to buy them doesnt have to do without food later in the month to afford a hot meal now .
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  #8  
September 6th, 2011, 06:52 PM
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I would be down with it, but there should be some sort of limitation (like 1 time a month or something, or it pays up to a certain amount and anything more needs to be paid with their own money).

I don't really care where people eat, I don't know why people hold po' folks at such a high standard of eating so healthily. You want to go to a bakery and eat a cupcake, then you go!!
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  #9  
September 6th, 2011, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho06 View Post
For people who are homeless or without a kitchen I'm fine with it. Other than that I think the traditional food stamp program is sufficient.
Agreed. Furthermore, a lot of the grocery stores here have hot meals available, so a restaurant isn't the only option. I'm assuming stores in the US do as well...
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  #10  
September 6th, 2011, 08:12 PM
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I was ready to say no, that if they need food stamps they shouldn't be eating out, but then I read the OP. With homeless people, elderly people, or even people who have a home but their electricity/gas is cut off, I agree with food stamps being accepted at restaurants. I do think there should be a limit per meal, though. I would first be for the government trying to help these people to get a home/pay their utilities/get help to cook, etc. But I know that resources like those are very hard to come by, and usually impractical or impossible for the government to accomplish.
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  #11  
September 7th, 2011, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poncho06 View Post
For people who are homeless or without a kitchen I'm fine with it. Other than that I think the traditional food stamp program is sufficient.

Yes, I think homeless or elderly is just fine.
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  #12  
September 7th, 2011, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hey... Where's Perry? View Post
I would be down with it, but there should be some sort of limitation (like 1 time a month or something, or it pays up to a certain amount and anything more needs to be paid with their own money).

I don't really care where people eat, I don't know why people hold po' folks at such a high standard of eating so healthily. You want to go to a bakery and eat a cupcake, then you go!!
Poor folks can't enjoy life. They must eat lettuce and carrots and never buy anything sweet for themselves or their kids.

I think people have a really stupid view of just what kind of people are on welfare. It's sort of disgusting.

And if a restaurant (I spelled that right the first time and I'm shocked) wants to take food stamps then who cares? They would spend them at the grocery store anyway so what's the **** difference?
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  #13  
September 7th, 2011, 12:30 PM
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It is disgusting the view people have on people on food stamps. Especially in our day and age.

I was nearly homeless 2 years ago and sold everything I own except my car. My family was hit hard by the recession and we live in the are with the biggest foreclosures and the highest unemployment rate in the country. It is not as easy as MOVE AWAY AND FIND A JOB, like others think. God forbid you are in their shoes one time in your life and I pray that people treat you (general you) as bad as you are treating them.
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  #14  
September 7th, 2011, 02:50 PM
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I'm going to say that it shouldn't be limited to people just with a disability or elderly etc etc. If one state (or county) is going to do it, they do it for EVERYONE on assistance. My reasoning for that is how many people are on disability just because they are overweight in this state. If you are in a wheelchair because you lost your leg in nam fine, if you're riding around the town in a scooter, eating mcdonalds every day free JUST because you are overweight, not fine.

In WI, you can not even buy warm food from the grocery store with food stamps. Papa Murphey's accepts the card because you cook the pizza at home.
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  #15  
September 7th, 2011, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hey... Where's Perry? View Post
I don't really care where people eat, I don't know why people hold po' folks at such a high standard of eating so healthily. You want to go to a bakery and eat a cupcake, then you go!!
I think the reason is that eating out is a hobby that many, many middle class families forbid themselves from participating in because they know that it's not within their means to do so. Middle class taxpayers must resent the fact that their money is being used to allow the impoverished to enjoy luxuries that they themselves do not enjoy.

I think that this is one issue where your frame of reference depends almost entirely on your personal upbringing and on the norms of your individual family. It's hard for me to discuss this personally without feeling like a hypocrite, because personally I have almost no self-control when it comes to food-related expenditures. I eat out all the time. On the other hand, my parents, and their associates in their generation, most certainly did not/do not. I can count on one hand the number of total times my family went out to a sit-down restaurant throughout my entire childhood. My parents saw it as an unjustifiable extravagance. To this day, they get upset with me if I ever throw out old food or refuse to eat it, even if it's two or three years past its expiration date. They are scornful if I ever pay full price for anything at a grocery store (all items must be purchased either when they are on sale or with a coupon, preferably both). And, on the few occasions when I'm able to convince my father to come out to eat with me and my family, he'll sit there and sip water and glare at the rest of us rather than succumb to purchasing a meal that he views as obscenely overpriced. In his view, this is how ALL Americans should behave, but most especially those who are living on the government's dollar.

My parents grew up in Depression-era low-income families, and the lesson of frugality really stuck with them. The fact is, mark-ups at most restaurants are extremely high. This is because when you go out to eat, you are paying not only for the food but also for the entertainment aspect. The government most certainly has an interest in providing the former as part of its welfare programs, but it arguably has no business in providing the latter. If the concern here really is for those homeless and elderly individuals who are unable to cook for themselves, then the government could probably provide more nutrition per dollar by subsidizing existing non-profit food bank programs, or by building upon the existing free-and-reduced lunch programs for public school students. In an era when state government budgets are as incredibly cash-strapped as they are, this is a legitimate concern. (Of course, by allowing restaurants to accept food stamps, the government is accruing the additional benefit of creating business for restaurants and hence employment opportunities for restaurant workers -- perhaps this is the government's real goal).

The fact is that many, many American families have a problem with spending beyond their means. This is a practice that is imbued in our modern culture. It's difficult for us to tell those on welfare "no" because it's difficult for us to tell ourselves no. But I don't think it's responsible or realistic to be saying "Sure, why not? Low-income families should be able to eat wherever they like." Restaurant food stamp programs should be initiated only if all other possible options for providing nutritious, hot meals have been exhausted.
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  #16  
September 7th, 2011, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MommaBee View Post
Panera Bread type places would be nice (they aren't that spendy and are healthy). Or even Subway type places.
You and I have different definitions of expensive. Panera Bread charges like $6 for a kid's bowl of macaroni and cheese. At Subway it's $3.75 for a sandwich. If you were to make those things on the own they would be about 1/4 of the cost. It's not tenable for the state to pay 4 times the price necessary for the services it provides.
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  #17  
September 7th, 2011, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quantum_Leap View Post
You and I have different definitions of expensive. Panera Bread charges like $6 for a kid's bowl of macaroni and cheese. At Subway it's $3.75 for a sandwich. If you were to make those things on the own they would be about 1/4 of the cost. It's not tenable for the state to pay 4 times the price necessary for the services it provides.
Yeah, that is true.
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  #18  
September 7th, 2011, 05:05 PM
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I was thinking no at first but then reading puts me with team Jillian.
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  #19  
September 7th, 2011, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quantum_Leap View Post
I think the reason is that eating out is a hobby that many, many middle class families forbid themselves from participating in because they know that it's not within their means to do so. Middle class taxpayers must resent the fact that their money is being used to allow the impoverished to enjoy luxuries that they themselves do not enjoy.

I think that this is one issue where your frame of reference depends almost entirely on your personal upbringing and on the norms of your individual family. It's hard for me to discuss this personally without feeling like a hypocrite, because personally I have almost no self-control when it comes to food-related expenditures. I eat out all the time. On the other hand, my parents, and their associates in their generation, most certainly did not/do not. I can count on one hand the number of total times my family went out to a sit-down restaurant throughout my entire childhood. My parents saw it as an unjustifiable extravagance. To this day, they get upset with me if I ever throw out old food or refuse to eat it, even if it's two or three years past its expiration date. They are scornful if I ever pay full price for anything at a grocery store (all items must be purchased either when they are on sale or with a coupon, preferably both). And, on the few occasions when I'm able to convince my father to come out to eat with me and my family, he'll sit there and sip water and glare at the rest of us rather than succumb to purchasing a meal that he views as obscenely overpriced. In his view, this is how ALL Americans should behave, but most especially those who are living on the government's dollar.

My parents grew up in Depression-era low-income families, and the lesson of frugality really stuck with them. The fact is, mark-ups at most restaurants are extremely high. This is because when you go out to eat, you are paying not only for the food but also for the entertainment aspect. The government most certainly has an interest in providing the former as part of its welfare programs, but it arguably has no business in providing the latter. If the concern here really is for those homeless and elderly individuals who are unable to cook for themselves, then the government could probably provide more nutrition per dollar by subsidizing existing non-profit food bank programs, or by building upon the existing free-and-reduced lunch programs for public school students. In an era when state government budgets are as incredibly cash-strapped as they are, this is a legitimate concern. (Of course, by allowing restaurants to accept food stamps, the government is accruing the additional benefit of creating business for restaurants and hence employment opportunities for restaurant workers -- perhaps this is the government's real goal).

The fact is that many, many American families have a problem with spending beyond their means. This is a practice that is imbued in our modern culture. It's difficult for us to tell those on welfare "no" because it's difficult for us to tell ourselves no. But I don't think it's responsible or realistic to be saying "Sure, why not? Low-income families should be able to eat wherever they like." Restaurant food stamp programs should be initiated only if all other possible options for providing nutritious, hot meals have been exhausted.
This is extremely well written!


A single mother working 2 jobs probably doesn't have the time to cook a full fledged meal at home, but there are more cost effective ways to make a 5 minute meal at home than go to a restaurant and use her food stamps. And the money goes further in a grocery store than it does in a restaurant too. (and takes less time to cook something small than it does to wait for something in a restaurant)

Last night we picked up 4lbs of hamburger, 2 bottles of alfredo sauce, 4 bottles of spaghetti sauce. it cost us $24. If I had purchased noodles it would have cost 30. For a small family, that can feed them for a week for their evening meal. Not the absolute best nutrition wise, but better than most take out.


The ability to use the food stamps to eat out I think should be reserved for those who have no means of cooking for themselves. Has nothing to do with depriving the poor (as it's been put) of the luxury of eating out, it's more to do with the fact they have the means to cook at home while someone else may not.
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  #20  
September 7th, 2011, 07:28 PM
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I understand the need for it and I honestly believe it can be an invaluable tool.

I still believe there are other options that ought to be explored too, first. Things like being able to purchase hot, prepared foods in your local grocery store. If they allowed this, many would benefit. There's actually no real reason-no valid one-that I've seen that answers why people cannot and should not be able to purchase hot prepared foods. You can buy cold prepared foods. You can buy pre-made, but needing to be "heated" foods. But you cannot buy hot prepared foods. It makes no sense. This is something they could very easily implement into the existing system too. Sort of like when the WIC program decides to add a new food to their approved list. The entire program doesn't need revamped. The public won't begin crying foul at the injustice of those on assistance being able to get something they, themselves, cannot/do not get. It just makes perfect sense to me. It would benefit the elderly, homeless, the parent working two jobs, the family without power, the family who just needs a hot meal right now, etc..

This idea isn't a new theory though. I'll have to look it up but I am fairly certain there are already plenty of other areas that allow this very thing. My state, or at least my county, isn't one of them, though. We can't buy those hot roasted chickens at the store, for example. But we can buy the cold chicken that we need to take home and heat up, just fine. They cost nearly the same, though sometimes those roasted ones are cheaper. It would make more sense to allow this before allowing people to buy food at a restaurant. And then later if the idea needs to be looked at again, they could.
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