Cuts in food stamp program: is it fair?

If the U.S. Senate approves and the president signs an agriculture bill that further trips food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will cut $8 billion over 10 years.

According to an article published in the Allentown Morning News called “Putting the squeeze on food banks,” The Lehigh Valley’s food banks already have higher demands for service. 

Congressman Charlie Den, a Republican, feels the cuts are necessary, while Congressman Matt Cartwright, a Democrat, is against the farm bill. 

Dent feels that people are “gaming” the system through the Heat & Eat program, linking the low income heating assistance program to eligibility for food stamps. In contrast, Cartwright stated on his Facebook page, “I did not come to Congress to kick the most vulnerable Americans off of food assistance.” 

Advocates of cutting the SNAP subsidy have argued charities can fill the gaps, however the Coalition Against Hunger disagrees. Food banks and other charities have already struggled to supply enough food, and it is fairing much worse in bigger cities such as New York City.

Germantown has often been viewed as a food desert. In October, Bottom Dollar Food was opened along Chew Avenue, which has been a blessing for many of the people who live in the community. However, many people still struggle to afford a meal, and with the cuts in the food stamp program, Pennsylvania will most likely see a serious impact, especially in Philadelphia.

What do you think? Is the benefit to cut food stamps of greater importance than how it will impact low-income citizens?


A diamond in the rough: Rose Petals Cafe & Lounge


It was a brisk, Sunday afternoon, the January breeze stinging my skin as I stepped out of my friend Carolan’s car. Snowbanks lined the streets and buried cars as we walked up Chelten Avenue in Germantown, exploring the different restaurant options along the sidewalk. There was the usual convenient meals the neighborhood has to offer for low-income families: a Burger King, gas station, a cheap, run-down pizza shop. Not exactly what one might consider nutritious. However, among the many shops, one stood out from the rest.


Carolan and I stepped into Rose Petal Cafe & Lounge, located at 322 West Chelten Avenue in Germantown. About ten people sat throughout the little cafe, enjoying a late brunch. A waitress carries steaming mugs to a table, whipped cream melting around the top. She immediately welcomes us, and we sit at the bar and order mugs of coffee. In one corner of the restaurant, a television and lounge chairs offer a cozy section to relax and stay a while. On another side of the room, there are long tables and small round tables that offer either a casual lunch or a more intimate dinner date for customers.


Rose Petal Cafe & Lounge offers a more elegant style of food compared to the other places we saw along Chelten Ave. Desmin Daniel, owner and head chef, came out from where he was preparing food to introduce himself to us. The cafe has been open for 6 months; Desmin and his wife, Jania, who sat at the counter beside me, opened the restaurant to honor the memory of their loved ones who had passed away. After the passing of Desmin’s sister and grandmother, they realized it was time to fulfill their dreams in the restaurant business.


A friendly, laid-back atmosphere, Desmin explained that they specialize and take pride in the numerous styles of waffles they serve. They also serve deli sandwiches, have a smoothie bar, and on Friday and Saturday evenings it becomes a lounge, where people can enjoy live entertainment and a special Latin/soul fusion dinner menu celebrating a blend of Puerto Rican and African-American cultures. Since the restaurant is still in it’s prime time, the menu continues to expand over time, and the Daniels are excited about future plans for their business.


If you are looking for an intimate affair for the Valentine’s Day weekend, there will be a special on February 14th and 15th to celebrate love and friendship. The evening includes an appetizer, choice of dinner, dessert, and complimentary wine for $29.99/per person. If not Valentine’s Day, Rose Petal Cafe & Lounge is a perfect place to spend an afternoon, reading a book and indulging in some gourmet food. Stop in, you won’t regret it.

For more information, visit the restaurant on their website or Facebook page: