Phoenix Mayor finds out first hand that it’s hard to eat well off of food stamps

The mayor of Phoenix was asked to live on a foodstamp budget for one week in honor of Hunger Awareness Month. He did, but found after 4 days he was “hungry and tired.”

He writes in his journal,

OK- ran out the door today with no time to scramble eggs or even make a sandwich. So I’m surviving on an apple and handful of peanuts, and the coffee I took to the office until dinner. I’m tired, and it’s hard to focus. I can’t go buy a sandwich because that would be cheating- even the dollar menu at Taco Bell is cheating. You can’t use SNAP benefits at any restaurants, fast food or otherwise. I’m facing a long, hungry day and an even longer night getting dinner on the table, which requires making EVERYTHING from scratch on this budget. It’s only for a week, so I’ve got a decent attitude. If I were doing this with no end in sight, I probably wouldn’t be so pleasant.

Republicans have wanted to cut funding to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) touting racist ideas about people abusing and free-loading off the system, but there’s nothing “fun” about the small amount of restrictive money you get on this program. It gives you a little bit for basic foods, almost all of which have to be prepared in advance (you can’t, for example, buy prepared foods at the grocery store) which can be really hard for working parents. We should all cook and eat basic whole foods, and fast food restaurants can die–but I’m fairly certain most families on food assistance are barely surviving and often not even getting their basic necessities met.

via Think Progress.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted September 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    I get Social Security for my disability, plus I work part-time. Yet I am still in the poverty zone so they give me Food Stamps…a whole $16 worth. Put that in your shopping basket and eat it.

  2. Posted September 29, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Good for him for trying that though. Hopefully now he has a new perspective and will be able to make changes for people who have no choice but to live like that.

  3. Posted October 2, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t just a problem of the well off not understanding what it means to be impoverished or live on food stamps, it also points to the basic lack of understanding about what food should be. Food *should* be made at home. I’m a single person working full time with a commute. I make my own food, because it is less expensive, more nutritious, and when you are used to it, it really isn’t the burden that it’s always played up as being. I can have a fully prepared, balanced dinner made from scratch on my table 20 minutes after I get home.

    I understand that food stamps are at $30 per week? That’s what I used to live on, not food stamps, but $30 a week budget for my food. And I lived on it. Did some of the food get boring? Yes, but I was eating, and eating real food, not pizza and top ramen.

    I absolutely will take this back to a fundamental problem with education that forces everyone to get ready not for *life* but for universities. No, everyone doesn’t have to go to college or university and be burdened with a student loan to rival a small mortgage.

    Schools should have budgets and cooking as *required* classes.

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