NY Food Stamp Recipients Are Shipping Welfare-Funded Groceries to Relatives in Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Haiti

Kate Briquelet and Isabel Vincent, New York Post, July 21, 2013

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 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. {snip}


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  • haroldcrews

    Better to feed them there than to feed them here. I’d prefer to not feed them at all but what can you do.

    • captainc

      when they gain their strength they would like get their way to this el dorado, too.

      • Spartacus

        When white men traveled, they did it to look for new civilizations. When dark-skins do it, they’re on a quest for food stamps…

        • Triarius

          Start new civilizations, not look for them. Whites built empires in the most barren places on earth, and blacks cannot feed a fambly of four in the resource richest areas of the globe.

    • AutomaticSlim

      “but what can you do”

      Eliminate all entitlements and great society programs?

      • White Mom in WDC

        Right on. Hello, they are breaking the law!

        • sbuffalonative

          The liars tell us there’s very little fraud in the system. Just like voter fraud, they don’t look for it, they don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

          • Formerly_Known_as_Whiteplight

            Sorry about the length of this post, but I hope it is useful to you and some other readers perhaps.

            I am currently reading a book entitled, “LBJ, the Mastermind of the JFK Assassination,” – Nelson. It turns out that LBJ never won an election without voter fraud. This includes the 1960 election. Both LBJ and Joseph Kennedy committed voter fraud in that one for their own reasons and still barely were able to steal the election from Nixon. Johnson was a big, long time friend of J. Edgar Hoover and Hoover had been building up personal files on everyone though among other things, bugging just about every public and private building in Washington DC. Hoover gave LBJ full access to any file he needed and backed him up with investigations when it served his political ends. Blackmail was often used and the involvement of many Mafia figures. LBJ had interests in military industrial corps like Texas’ General Dynamics and he guranteed the Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon that if he became president, “they’d have their war.” JFK had listened to seasoned world leaders like General McCarthur and even Charles de Gaul who warned him not to get militarily involved in Vietnam. So he planned to end all involvement after the 1964 election.

            What happened was that after LBJ died, many people began to talk, including one once famous partner in numerous land and agricultural frauds in Texas, Billy Sol Estes and his long time staffer and partner in crime, Bobby Baker. Many scandals, (including murders to silence fraud investigations in Texas) that LBJ was behind were almost about to break by October of 1963, due largely to the investigations of Bobby Kennedy that had been on the verge of breaking into the public view. Estes gave his interview in the early 80s (I think I recall) after getting out of prison on the condition that he would have immunity from prosecution due to his revelations.

            You can find some very good videos that touch on this on Youtube, including comments by E. Howard Hunt. But this doesn’t come close to the staggering expose of corruption in Washington in that period. I think this book is a must read for anyone that wants to understand the politics that led to not just the assassination of JFK, but how the conditions for what came later was created.

            In reading this book so far, I’ve come to realize that a bit part of what is going on today is that since then, the system has worked well to dumb down people, keeping them focused on meaningless social issues and entertainment (bread and circuses), they have been able to carry on with big profit taking by some corporations whenever a neat little war can be fomented. The graft that went on during Vietnam was staggering, but nifty repeats have occurred since in every military action we’ve been involved in. Deception of the now very distracted and apathetic public is covering for corruption that we may never live to read about. This is one reason that someone like Obama got elected into the presidency. Racial controversy is a great ruse. (That doesn’t mean that our concerns aren’t real).

            (BTW Hoover made a file on MLK. This book doesn’t get into what he had on King, but the hint is that it was a thick file). I’m hoping that someone will soon write a book exposing MLK.

          • Flossie

            My understanding is that the FBI’s file on MLK should have been released into the public domain some years ago, but the government has extended its “confidential” status for several additional decades. This may have been done several times.

  • IstvanIN

    The SNAP (Food Stamp) program was originally conceived as a farm price support program, not an anti-poverty program, so in that regard it is working.

    • evilsandmich

      I’ve thought that too. Walmart is more addicted to SNAP than many recipients.

  • Spartacus

    Are these the immigrants that came to America to pursue the American Dream and stimulate the economy ? Sounds like they’re parasites, who also wanna make sure their relatives back home get the chance to be parasites too…

    • Let’s be honest, they came to the US to deal drugs.

  • I think we know what the Jamaicans, Haitians and the Dominicans are doing in this country that provides for their needs in such a manner that they have no actual use for the EBT benefits they receive.

  • bigone4u

    The local food bank hands out boxes of free food. I sometimes find it in a nearby dumpster because while they want free food, they do not care for canned beans, meats, and such. They want free McDonalds and other junk food already prepared. I rescue the food and eat it myself rather than see it go to waste.

    • IstvanIN

      That is very common, in my younger days I worked at a food bank and the black women who came in crying that “theys babies be hongree” would become quite indignant if handed canned goods. We have spoiled an entire class of beings that deserve nothing.

      • The Final Solution

        Remember that blacks have never done anything in history that required more than a moment’s effort. Opening a can of food qualifies as prolonged effort for these people. And the use of tools.

        • bigone4u

          “and the use of tools” … hilarous observation, but so true. It reminds me of an expensive swiss can opener I bought at a thrift store for 50 cents. I had to track down a youtube video to figure out how to use it.

      • Charles W.

        They’re not even worth the ground they stand on.

        • Non Humans

          The term you’re looking for is “Wastes of Flesh”.

          • Triarius

            Locusts of society.

    • Canned beans and meat? Does this mean they’re too damned lazy to get out a pot, put it on the range and make chile con carne?

      That was a rhetorical question; no answer is necessary.

      • Oven’s are for heating the house after the utility that heats it gets turned off.

        • IstvanIN

          …and then you burn the baseboards, window moldings, doors, etc.

      • AB

        A friend and I were discussing a topic much like this yesterday. How funny and wonderful it would be if the food stamp program could be overhauled so that you would only be able to purchase raw ingredients with the card. Want a loaf of bread? Better learn how to make it. Want some pickles on that burger? Trapse down to the cellar and pray that you got those pickles right on your first try. Ah, the collective outcry would be an absolute symphony.

        • bigone4u

          I love your idea, but will up the ante: Make the welfare recipients grow their own food. My late grannies had a garden, pressure cooker, and canning supplies, but they were self-reliant white women of the old school.

          • Sayaka and I have a good garden here in front of our townhouse. Her maiden family name literally means “In the Fields”. We have a bush full of tomatoes, and the peppers are coming along well. The area’s rabbits are about extinct, because we ate them in the last few years.

            We’ve never canned anything, but normally dry the surplus, grind it fine, and use it in soups during the winters.

      • Alexandra1973

        I’m lazy enough to find a microwavable bowl and just nuke it. 🙂 But not too lazy to work a can opener. And it’s not electric.

        • I would avoid soft plastics in the microwave. Phthalate plasticizers leach out into food heated that way. These function as synthetic estrogens in mammals.

    • pcmustgo

      I dumpster dive as well.

      • bigone4u

        There are a bunch of thrift stores near me which are overloaded and so throw out large quantities of usable items, most of which I box up and take to other thrift stores that are not overloaded. The public library throws out massive numbers of books and I do the same with them. The waste in this country is shameful. Glad to see that others like you, pcmustgo, try to cut the waste.

        • The last time I was at the local ARC thrift store, they begged me to come back, because I’m good at testing and repairing electronics. I have a daughter to look after; I can’t do that.

          • fuzzypook

            You could take her with you and teach her what you know. (You probably do that at home though).

          • We do that at home, as I am a stay-at-home father, but I can’t imagine the ARC’s insurance policy would allow a little girl in the back work area. We’re back up to seven operational PCs, though one is going to my mother’s place in August. When we’re there visiting, I miss having a computer, but when we’re down here, I don’t miss TV. The solution is obvious. I scrounged and fixed a small LCD flatscreen for it. The idea is something that can be stored out of the way in a small space, but which will run Neverwinter Nights I. I can bring current characters up on a flash drive, and Sayaka always has her laptop.

            The library near us on Montebello has a sale room just for discards and donations they decided they didn’t want. I’ve gotten us some great stuff there, and the money goes straight back into the Pikes Peak Library District.

    • Ella

      I did this in college and saved lots on grocery bills The food was very fresh and people knew of me so they bagged it separately for me and my college friends so we could avoid the trash part.

  • The Final Solution

    This country couldn’t fall apart any faster. They obviously don’t need food stamps if they can afford to ship a barrel full of food overseas. This stuff is unreal.

  • Charles W.

    “Uncle Sam suckered again.”

    One can’t be suckered when the actual outcome was the one aimed for all along.

  • Puggg

    Which elderly white American people who are otherwise living on very limited incomes are doing without food so that American domestic blacks and/or immigrant Jamaicans, Haitians and Dominicans can scam the system to ship food to Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic? I wouldn’t mind so much (or to put it more accurately, I wouldn’t mind at all) if this went to help people that look like my grandparents looked.

    The Ag Department says that this violates the spirit of the food stamp program. Meanwhile, the Ag Department is advertising the food stamp program in Mexico.

    Awhile back, I saw on the local news here about several big busts of dope houses and dope sets in the black suburbs of St. Louis. The video showed the various confiscated items: The usual stuff: Guns, drugs, scales. Then it showed rows and rows then boxes and boxes of mostly Missouri EBT cards and some Illinois Link cards for bad measure. Those got there because drug users were giving the dope set gang leaders their EBT cards as part of the deal. Then it occurred to me: There’s really no nefarious CIA conspiracy funding the drug trade. What’s funding it isn’t CIA, it’s EBT.

  • Defiant White

    $70 to ship
    $1000 dollars to stuff it full
    $40 for the barrel
    The drugs they will trade the food for and then re-sell in America: Priceless

  • [Guest]

    This story alone—never mind a million and one other outrages—should be enough to start a revolution.

  • Dale McNamee

    Run a “sting operation” to catch those SNAP recipients doing this and strip them of all benefits. ( I DO mean ALL ! ) That being done,close the stores that are involved and treat them & their employees as a “criminal enterprise”.
    The longer it goes unpunished, the more it grows…

  • Ella

    I KNOW we overpay EBT card holders -look at the obesity problems. So now they send it home -how generous of exploiting tax payers. They should get the SAME diet and limitations as WIC. They would lose weight and start to work for the luxury foods that we work for including organics, better meats and pastries. Yes, food stamps pay for their child’s birthday cake and Mom’s sushi appetite! What happened to the beans, block cheese, rice, flour bags and you cook like average American days?

    • There was an article some years linked here in which someone was complaining about the “small” daily food allowance EBT/Food Stamps recipients receive.

      They usually seem overweight to me. Dinner for us tonight was a Korean Nong-Shim seafood-flavored ramyun package (65 cents) to which I added dried, chopped chives, mixed frozen vegetables, and some whiting fillet that I had marinated, grilled and then diced. There was also a garden salad with a dressing I made from soy sauce, lime juice and olive oil, and chicken salad sandwiches I had jazzed-up with a little wasabi. Sayaka and I had iced green tea, and Ariadne had milk. I doubt it cost four dollars for three people.

      My waistline is the same 32 inches it was when I graduated high school 29 years ago. This has doubtless saved me a fortune on clothes. The pair of safari shorts I am currently wearing have completely frayed cuffs; I’d guess they are 20 years old. Perhaps it is time to toss them, but I did some painting this afternoon.

      The things my neighbors throw away are crazy. Computer monitors. Computers (I reformat the hard drives and start again from scratch). Light fixtures (I salvage the bulbs out of them). Vacuum cleaners (I chop the power cords and put new female ends on them – $1.50 from Wal Mart. Now I have a useful collection of extension cords. Wood: I rarely have to buy wood for projects and now have a spare interior door. Plumbing parts – nobody in the US appears to make lids for 3-gallon toilet tanks anymore. It just goes on and on.

      The government wasting our tax money feeding parasites abroad is just part and parcel of the same phenomenon.