Food Stamp Program Helps Feed Half the Caribbean

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


21.1N005.welfare1.C--300x300

I will admit to not seeing this one coming, if only because it requires a level of thrift I have yet to see displayed by EBT card users.

Food stamps are paying for trans-Atlantic takeout — with New Yorkers using taxpayer-funded benefits to ship food to relatives in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Welfare recipients are buying groceries with their Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards and packing them in giant barrels for the trip overseas, The Post found.

The practice is so common that hundreds of 45- to 55-gallon cardboard and plastic barrels line the walls of supermarkets in almost every Caribbean corner of the city.

“Everybody does it,” said a worker at an Associated Supermarket in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn. “They pay for it any way they can. A lot of people pay with EBT.”

Customers pay cash for the barrels, usually about $40, and typically ship them filled with $500 to $2,000 worth of rice, beans, pasta, canned milk and sausages.

Workers at the Pioneer Supermarket on Parkside Avenue and the Key Food on Flatbush Avenue confirmed the practice.

They said food-stamp recipients typically take home their barrels and fill them gradually over time with food bought with EBT cards.

When the tubs are full, the welfare users call a shipping company to pick them up and send them to the Caribbean for about $70. The shipments take about three weeks.

Recently we had a rash of publicity stunts involving celebrities talking about how hard it is to live on food stamps, if there’s enough money left over to ship thousands of dollars worth of food to Haiti, then clearly it’s not that hard.

  • Rocky Mountain

    At least you can’t say that they are stupid. There may be a legal loophole so large that this simply cannot be stopped. If the food is simply going to feed their relatives in Haiti, Jamaica, or elsewhere, OK, as I would do the same if my family was hungry but the rules of food stamp receipt and use probably prohibit the practice. However, if they are re-selling and making money then its clearly fraudulent and illegal and should be stopped. If they weren’t doing this (any particular individual) would the amount of food stamps being acquired be reduced? If they are doing it within the normal limits of food stamp issuance – assuming they are legitimately qualified to receive them – then its not huge financial problem because they would be getting them anyway. However, maybe they’re rigging the system in some way to get more.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “At least you can’t say that they are stupid. There may be a legal loophole so large that this simply cannot be stopped. If the food is simply going to feed their relatives in Haiti, Jamaica, or elsewhere, OK, as I would do the same if my family was hungry but the rules of food stamp receipt and use probably prohibit the practice.”

      Sure, but it’s fraudulent. I’m pretty sure you can’t even legally buy food for people in your family here in the USA that are not in the program.

      It’s fraudulent because it breaks the agreement with the people who pay for it. What distinguishes that from theft? Now start shipping it out of the country and amplify the annoyance this creates…with the people who pay for it.

      Money DOES NOT grow on trees. Neither do pre-funded EBT cards.

      “If they weren’t doing this (any particular individual) would the amount of food stamps being acquired be reduced? If they are doing it within the normal limits of food stamp issuance – assuming they are legitimately qualified to receive them – then its not huge financial problem because they would be getting them anyway.”

      “Unused” money doesn’t spoil. By using this money, not only is it breaking the agreements as I’ve outlined but it also leads to people abusing the statistics by saying things like, “If foodstamp users are ‘needing’ all of their funds, there must be so many that actually need increases.”

      It’s circular logic and that’s how collectivists steal.

      “..assuming they are legitimately qualified to receive them – then its not huge financial problem because they would be getting them anyway.”

      If they are sharing with others not on their claim forms, then they are defrauding the system. It’s just so common that attitudes like yours have gone viral. No, they’re not entitled to just go and find ways to spend the money. Most of them are not truly entitled to anything at all. The crypto-communists just love creating this fraud for a number of motives.