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Fast Food Chains Lobby for the Use of Food Stamps in Restaurants

Yum! Brands, the parent company of several national fast food chains, including KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, is lobbying the Kentucky state government to allow the use of food stamps in its restaurants. If the change in the law passes, Kentucky will join a very short list of only three other states – Michigan, Arizona and California – that permit food stamps to be used this way.

For homeless people or anyone without access to cooking facilities, this would be great.

Instead of panhandling in front of fast food places and repelling customers, homeless people could be customers.

When you are homeless you don't only lack access to food, you lack access to bathrooms. Using your EBT card at the local fast food joint would give you access to both. It would also give you access to air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter.

From a political point of view it would add a very powerful ally in defending food stamps.

Homeless people don't need the nutrition police, they need assistance in a form that permits them to make their own decisions.

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Submitted by Lex on

I agree. And it doesn't matter what they eat, but it's a little weird that a company like Yum! is out in front on this. They wouldn't be looking to get into the government money trough more than expressing a deep seated compassion for those less fortunate, would they?

I'm sure that homeless people would use the food aid at the restaurants, but then so could everyone receiving food aid (a lot of people). Again, i don't really care what anyone else eats, but i'm a little uncomfortable with the corporations who make a whole lot of money selling some of the worst food on the planet getting what amounts to federal assistance.

I'm also sure that no fast food restaurant is going to let homeless people hang out in the building for very long ... even if the homeless person buys something.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

but this may be that oh so rare occasion where the fast food industry and the public interest are the same.

first of all Food Stamps don't give you much, so there is a powerful incentive not to blow your monthly allotment on expensive food if you can avoid it. so, I think those who use their food stamps for big macs would be limited to those who lacked good options.

second of all, homeless people need access to bathrooms as much as they need food, this would provide both.

also, you don't always know who is homeless and who is not, especially these days. Some homeless have access to showers and laundry thru shelters or daycare centers. You would not know to look at them that they were homeless.

Were it up to me that eligibility would be extended, monthly allotments tripled, and recipients could spend them anywhere that accepted them, including restaurants. it would pump millions into the economy and we would all be better off.

Submitted by Lex on

It may be such an instance. Like i said, i'm absolutely fine with the idea of A. making sure that homeless people get the benefit (i have a feeling you may need an address, id, etc. to actually receive food stamps but i don't know) and B. allowing them to use those benefits wherever they so choose.

I would also be more than fine with making the benefits much larger than they are. I want my neighbors, compatriots and even Southerners to have shelter and enough to eat (at the very, very least).

It's true that the stereotype of a homeless person no longer holds true, my mistake.

I like the idea of all grocery store food being eligible more than fast food restaurants, so deli products finished or not, hot or cold. That would give people access to bathrooms and climate control too. I just can't help but feel that the upside for the population here is a lot less than the upside for the likes of Yum! Why can't i feed the homeless and not stuff the coffers of corporations that don't have the best interests of the costumer in mind; contribute mightily to public health epidemics; and do terrible things to both the environment and agricultural product markets (i.e. farmers).

I fear that giving companies like Yum! easy access to even more federal subsidies in order to help the homeless will make for more homeless people in the long run. Maybe if the fast food restaurants agree to pay a wage to employees that won't leave them homeless i'd be more receptive.

Maybe Yum! should start by offering some small amount of food free to food stamp recipients each month (not like their $1.60 soda costs more than $0.05 to produce anyhow) and then they can start getting food stamp dollars. Or maybe employ X number of benefit recipients ... who aren't already employed in the fast food industry ... before getting the benefit dollars.

Submitted by hipparchia on

"corporations that don't have the best interests of the costumer in mind; contribute mightily to public health epidemics; and do terrible things to both the environment and agricultural product markets (i.e. farmers)."

i'm with dcblogger on this one.

jjmtacoma's picture
Submitted by jjmtacoma on

There are so many challenges for homeless people to face.

It would be nice to see it extended to include hot sandwiches and coffee at mini-marts too.

RedQueen's picture
Submitted by RedQueen on

Food stamps are limited to food that "is to be prepared and/or eaten off premises" so you can get cold salads but not hot soup. And it's hit or miss, depending on how the store interprets the law. My old ghetto grocery store would mark what deli foods were food stampable, but they had a lot of poor customers. I've been to the damn hippy co-op where they make you pay cash for bulk spices (which are covered under food stamps every where else) and all deli food, even cold stuff.

beowulf's picture
Submitted by beowulf on

The only reason food stamps are still around is because agribusiness understands that the more people who eat, the more money they make. Allowing fast food restaurants to accept food stamps (or SNAP benefits as they're called now) would add more corporate firepower to lobby against any cuts in food stamp program.

Submitted by lambert on

Just like the banks giving foreclosed homes away because they can't sell them.

Why not just cut out all the middlemen, and give the food away to whoever wants it?