NY food stamp recipients are shipping welfare-funded groceries to relatives in Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Haiti

BIN OVER THEIR HEADS: Pioneer Supermarket in Brooklyn sells plastic barrels that customers use to ship food to family members in the Caribbean.New York Post – KATE BRIQUELET and ISABEL VINCENT

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.  

The feds say the moveable feasts go against the intent of the $86 billion welfare program for impoverished Americans.

A spokeswoman for the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service said welfare benefits are reserved for households that buy and prepare food together. She said states should intervene if people are caught shipping nonperishables abroad.

Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, called it just another example of welfare abuse.

“I don’t want food-stamp police to see what people do with their rice and beans, but it’s wrong,” Tanner told The Post. “The purpose of this program is to help Americans who don’t have enough to eat. This is not intended as a form of foreign aid.”

The United States spent $522.7 million on foreign aid to the Caribbean last fiscal year, government data show.

Still, New Yorkers say they ship the food because staples available in the States are superior and less costly than what their families can get abroad.

“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.

Last week, a woman stuffed dozens of boxes of macaroni and evaporated milk into a barrel headed for her family in Kingston, Jamaica. She said she didn’t have welfare benefits and bought the food herself.

“This is all worth more than $2,000,” she said. “I’ve been shopping since last December. You can help somebody else, someone who doesn’t live in this country.”

A man helping her pack the barrel said: “We’re poor here, and they’re poor. But what we can get here is like luxury to them.”



26 thoughts on “NY food stamp recipients are shipping welfare-funded groceries to relatives in Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Haiti

  1. If we sent $522.7 million of foreign aid to the carribean then those that are shipping their EBT bennifits over to the carribean should pay for it. The govt. sends way too much money on foreign aid to the other countries while we got people eating out of dumpsters, living in tent cities during the cold of winter, and living in storm drains and on heating vents during the bitter winters here in amerika, and then some people are sending food they get with their EBT cards?, if this is actually happening then why are they not getting busted for welfare/food stamp fraud if this is actualy happening. This is bs sending food to another country – amerikan waters or not.

    1. I agree with you 100% Digs, but unfortunately this is the way the elite want it to be and since no one in this country has the balls to do anything about it, we all have to suffer for it. Sad, isn’t it?

    2. I think it is admirable that poor people, some of whom are obviously broke enough to qualify for EBT cards, are willing to sacrifice what little money or benefits they have for other family members who are even poorer in another country.

      No law was broken. They gave away food to those in need.

      1. No law was broken – WTF are you talking about? Chris, obviously you are our of touich and should wake up. EBT cards are to be used by ONLY the name that the card was issued to. Those down there in the carribean do not qualify for these benifits and those who are doing this are ripping off every person that needs help in the us damn it. Those that are poor in the US obviously are that poor also. Our country is giving enough money to other countries while our own people here are starving and are homless. Think about it Chris, America has helped other countries and let our own country go to hell. Amerika has got to clean up our own back yard before we start helping other countries. We have more than enough poverty here.

        1. While I agree with you that the politicians are destroying their own country and have a lot of problems at home that they helped create that need to be fixed, those who were legally issued an EBT card in their name, and then legally use an EBT card to buy food, can legally do whatever they what with that food without breaking the law. It is not against the law to be charitable to family members in need in another country.

          You would probably do the same for your family members if you were in their shoes.

          If the government did not take money from us against our will (with violent force) in the form of taxes (a form of theft) then we would not have to worry about our government spending that money in ways we don’t approve of.

          1. BULL SH*T Chris. If you are on that EBT/food stamp card you cannot even share it with a roommate without being cut off along with possible welfare/foodstamp fraud. That is what they say is Federal Law Chris, and I know that personally from haveing to be on that program in the past. What you are saying is BS.

      2. As a regular commercial domestic shipper (so I do have a very clear sense of what domestic shipping costs are), I can tell you that anyone who can afford to pay the international shipping on a heavy barrel-sized container DOES NOT need welfare benefits. In other words, if these thieves spent the same amount of money on their own food that they’re spending on transport alone (not counting the price of the food in the barrels) they wouldn’t need any food assistance at all.

        This is going to come to an end, because America is broke. When that time arrives, how “admirable” is it going to be, Chris, that all of this food sent to the Caribbean has achieved the one thing that expanded food supplies always does: increase the population. These countries are hanging by a thread, and people like you who advocate food aid are only making it worse for them down the road. The same thing happens with rats in a cage and humans are no smarter — they will always make babies until starvation forces a population collapse.

  2. It is tradition. I remember back in the 50s. They came to cut cane. $3 dollar a day. board, and 3 meals of rice & beans. Our own could have had those jobs. But they demanded chicken once a day. Labor cost. Once the cane was cut flea markets would set up. Rice, beans, bright cloth, soap, perfume, toys, etc. All for them to buy pack and take home. Some only got that 3 months work a year and went home well off. Then I met my first Ausies. 1 was nice and we talked. And he let me get up on there mighty cane cutting machine’s and explained to me how it worked. And the end to cane cutters was near. So there sending things home goes back farther than welfare checks. 3 months work back then and they worked hard but went home rich. Before the cane cutting machine. Just a thought about why they send home one a year.

  3. When the United States finally collapses due to our insane policies, who is going to send aid to the United States ? Just a thought.

    1. When the US collapses, hopefully you will have some friends or relatives in another country who are willing to send food so that you and your family can eat.

      1. There will be no collapse “chris-boy”, the dollar will be greatly devalued, but it will still be around.

      2. No, we’re going to be gardening. And if you come to raid it, Chris, you’ll be looking down a 12 gauge barrel. I hope you have some skills besides trolling a website populated by more economically and demographically literate readers.

      3. WTF? I’m a seventeenth generation American! You think I’ll find “family” outside the USA?
        Get your melon out of your ass.
        Chris, your BS don’t fly.

    1. Yes it is isn`t it #1. Yes #1 what Chris was sayin is wrong about sharin` food that was from the EBT and that food stamp card – I guess that EBT and foodstamps are the same thing. I know someone that shared their food from the EBT program and they got cut off because they got set up for food stamp fraud and now they are once again are living on the street and they have major life threatening health issues – Hep.C and stage 3 cancer 🙁 and all they did was gave a homeless man a meal that realy didn`t need it – he was a snitch working for that Fed govt. True story. This happened earlier this year up in Minneapolis St Paul area.

      1. I agree with you digger. That food was meant for people in THIS country, not someone else’s.

        1. Yea, #1, I feel bad for the other countries but we realy do have a major prob. right here in our own good country. I know you know what I mean as I also was on the street during the coldest time of the year in Wi. and it does get cold. There is a epidemic of people the cannot provide housing and food for them selves and their family. This prob. is in the big town as well as the small town and it is realy depressing when there are people that think that they should send things like clothing, food and money to other countries instead of taking care of our own. Yes #1, I know you know what I`m talking about. It is not about all of the poor starving people in China anymore, it is about the homeless – and yes starving – people right here in Amerika. I know that you have experienced it as well as I have brother. I realy feel bad for the disadvantaged people in other third world countries but well, you know what I`m sayin`.

  4. Illegals here in the states that receive benefits, use other people’s kids when applying and being interviewed that way they can get lots of benefits, no one will deny them benefits if they have kids and they always have plenty. The states need to implement thumb printing children and forming a database so they cant be counted twice or an iris scan, but something needs to happen quick so crap like this will stop, watch the ACLU say it is racist or predjudice to require them to be identifiable to get benfits. True story, legal immigrant told my wife her brothers mom in law had done it.

  5. “Chris” Thank you for airing your naiivete for all to read. Just a few more wasted moments of our lives that we cannot recover.

  6. Here in Iowa, a couple years ago, there was a story about how people with food stamps would buy a big 20 gallon jug of water, the kind that sits on a water cooler, because the bottle deposit was $5 and with the food stamps the deposit is waived. They would go outside, dump the water, return the bottle, get the $5 deposit then buy a pack of cigarettes. There was a story in the Des Moines Register, and that’s all there was. Nothing was done because technically they weren’t breaking the law.

  7. Anyone in on this discussion should see this video: http://youtu.be/o64Fz-KW1Dk We have created millions of people like this, totally dependent on US government handouts. What are we going to do with them when the funny-money gravy train runs off the tracks?

    1. I watched that link there Tom and I would say that it is a insult to all who are on the EBT program that actually need it and who do not abuse it. I would say that a better question is when are we all going to do something about those politicions, dirty judges and DA`s, lawyers and dirty cops that go around intentionally ruining peoples lives just because they can Tom. I would say that the percentages of these people that I just mentioned are way more higher than the percentages on the EBT card that are abusing the benies. So before people talk that crap about most on that food stamp card are lazy, don`t want to work and are just plain abusing it then they first should blame it on and take a good long hard look look at those crooks in power that have created the problems that our country has……… Like I said Tom, most that are in power are abusing their power far more so than the disadvantaged or low income, and the handicapped. Yea Tom are you gonna say the same about a disabled military vet that is homless and possibly disabled living on the stamp program Tom because that is how I take that link and what you are implying Tom and I think what you are implying is disrespectful and coldhearted!!! So what are we going to do about them F`n politicion and tha PTB living off the taxpayers donation – if that is the proper way to call where they get their paycheck – as those scumbags are the ROT of the earth.

      1. Who could argue with all of these other groups you mention being worse scumbags than EBT recipients, even the EBT recipients who do cheat the system — I wouldn’t. But that just says we have plenty of targets for our justified frustration with a society that is undergoing rot from the top down. If punishment was proportional to the amount stolen, banksters would spend eternity in hell and EBT abusers would get a reprimand.

        You may or may not have noticed that the video in the link has a lot more vote-downs than vote-ups, I think because a lot of people are either insulted by it or disgusted with the behavior/attitude of the guy in it. But that’s not the same as saying the behavior depicted never happens. Without talking with the artist who did the video, we can’t be sure if he believes what he’s showing is okay, or if he intended it as a send-up of EBT abusers. Are there needy people like homeless vets who honestly use their benefits? Of course. Are there ways to cheat the system? Yes. Are there ruling elites who are stealing more than the entire food benefits program a million times over? That’s why we’re all poor, to some extent: the unjustified siphoning off of society’s productivity by a class of psychopathic parasites.

        1. Sorry that I maybe got down a little on ya Tom. Yes I have seen people that come out of the local Aldis store and then get into a real nice looking Merceadies and yes I even saw a Jaguar and a Hummer and they were using a EBT card and yes they did buy more than their share of junk food. Those kind of people make me sick…. Again Joe, sorry about getting down on ya a little. My appologies to ya Joe.

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