"Nicole Blakey says she can’t stand watching other people buy junk food with the government-issued food-stamp debit cards she’s used to raise three children while earning $9 an hour at a dry cleaner.
'It makes me sick when you see people at the store, and they have 12-packs of pop,' the 37-year-old Columbus, Ohio, resident, said in a telephone interview. Taxpayers 'would probably be more supportive of the program' if people weren’t allowed to buy unhealthy items, she said.
That view is being defied by an unusual alliance of food producers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, libertarians and advocates for the poor who are thwarting efforts to require recipients to buy healthy items with their food stamp benefits as Congress debates reauthorizing the law that governs the program."
" 'It's a very uncomfortable debate,' said Michael Dimock, president of Roots of Change, a Bay Area group that advocates for sustainable and local agriculture. 'People are forced into making purchases of food with little money, and it feels like another injustice for them to be told what they can or cannot buy. At the same time, logically speaking, it's a very difficult situation for us as a nation to be supplementing people's purchase of unhealthy food.' "