Food stamps are a touchy subject, but for 46.5 million Americans, most of whom have a child, an elderly parent or disabled person in the family, they are a necessity. When you understand that most of us are all one major sickness away from being bankrupt, it puts things into better perspective regarding how easy it is to find yourself in this predicament. Every day, millions of Americans rely on assistance just to eat. The average time on food stamps is about nine months. And the options they have right now are very dismal when it comes to health. But the fast food companies have been lining up to
take advantage of the system help. In fact, fast food restaurants accept food stamps, which does nothing to solve the conflict and epidemic of poverty and diet-related disease.
What is our government doing? Well, I’m not sure, really.
A couple of months ago I was at the White House and participated in a summit with Michelle Obama and her Let’s Move Campaign. And most of the day was packed with information about what the White House is doing to improve the health of children. They wanted all the influencers in the room to feel like Michelle Obama and her staff cared about kids and their health and was working hard on the obesity epidemic. They said they were open to our thoughts and suggestions even though my questions about endocrine disrupting chemicals and obesity were never really addressed. It seemed to me that they ignore these issues because they are difficult to solve.
But here is a place where I think BIG improvements in the health of children can be had with minimal effort on their part – Online food stamps.
The USDA Can Support Impoverished Americans in Food Deserts by Providing Online Food Stamps
Online food stamps have the potential to improve access to healthy food. So why don’t we have them already? That was the question Gunnar Lovelace, CEO of Thrive Market, had over two years ago, when he first started to inquire about this issue with the USDA. He cared because he lived in poverty as a child with a single mom who struggled to provide them with healthy food. His dream was to one day help women like his mom.
Fast forward to today Gunnar Lovelace is the CEO of Thrive Market, a membership based online platform that sells nonGMO and organic food at a discount. Giving people access to healthier food is possible online, but not as easy when it comes to brick-n-mortar stores that have to markup the products to cover their expenses. Making purchases online has driven down the costs of several things, providing opportunity to several.
But irony never escapes us. It’s quite amusing when you think of all the things you can do online, and yet you no one can purchase food with food stamps yet. Here’s a short list of some of the things you can do online:
- buy a car,
- pay your bills,
- find a Russian bride,
- send goats to people in third world nations,
- start up a blog,
- send friends and family money,
- order your gravestone,
- have meals delivered to your home,
- order a condo in Paris for a week,
- get international airline tickets,
- purchase the latest Beyonce album,
- binge watch Game of Thrones,
- purchase car insurance,
- find a sitter for your dog,
- order Xmas decorations from Sweden,
- purchase nonGMO and organic food for 25-50% off
- ….but you can’t purchase food with food stamps.
This needs to change.
Thrive Market Needs Your Help to Pressure the USDA to Provide Online Food Stamps
Thrive Market has teamed up with celebrities, bloggers, non-profit associations and every day folks to petition the USDA to provide Americans with online food stamps.
And it makes perfect sense when you look at the statistics. In America, 74% of people who live at or below the poverty line have access to the internet, but only 30% of them have access to a car. Surprised? I was too, but consider how much it costs to have a car versus having a mobile device. Most people DO have smartphones and they can be used to search the internet. Why can’t they also be used to purchase food online with food stamps?
Having online food stamps will give 46.5 million Americans the following advantages:
- Access to healthier food inside food deserts. Over 23.5 million Americans live in areas without whole foods available to them.
- Gives them the ability to save money on food via discount stores like Thrive Market
- Helps them save money on gas without having to drive or find transportation
- Saves them time by not having to leave the house
- Gives single moms more time with her children and less time running errands
- Allows them to have more dignity in the transaction
- It comes straight to your house so a huge convenience for someone disabled
1 in 4 households with children lack reliable access to a sufficient amount of healthy, nutritious food – that’s more than 15 million kids. If we really want to get serious about this epidemic, we need to come up with pragmatic efforts to tackle the issues.
How Can You Help?
Join with us in supporting this Petition at ThriveAction.org. We need every voice we can muster to demonstrate to the USDA they need to take action.