PRESS RELEASE: Elected officials to take Food Stamp Challenge (April 23-29)
U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, State Reps. Tony Payton and Cherelle Parker among participants who will eat on $5 a day
(Philadelphia)—Elected officials, faith leaders and community members will join the Jewish Federation and the Coalition Against Hunger in taking the Greater Philadelphia Food Stamp Challenge from April 23-29. Challenge participants, including U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, pledge to live on the average food stamp benefit—just $5 a day—for the entire week.
Nearly 1 in 7 people in the greater Philadelphia region rely on food stamps to put food on the table. "I want to demonstrate just how hard it is for struggling families to feed their families day after day,” said U.S. Rep. Brady. “I know that $5 a day isn’t enough for three square meals. I’m going to try to make it stretch, but I don’t think $35 will be enough for a week’s worth of meals that are healthy, nutritious and not just filling."
The Food Stamp Challenge aims to raise awareness about the importance of food stamps (now called SNAP) and highlight the policy issues that affect Pennsylvanians’ access to the program, specifically the 2012 Farm Bill, the federal legislation that funds the program. The Challenge also takes place the week before the planned asset test for SNAP goes into effect in Pennsylvania, which will disqualify thousands of low-income families from food assistance.
“SNAP is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger—we all need to work together to ensure the program can continue to help families who need it,” said Carey Morgan, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Hunger. “While living on a food stamp budget for just a week cannot come close to the real struggles faced by low-income families, it does give participants a better understanding of the challenges facing many in our state.”
On Monday, April 23, Mayor Michael Nutter, U.S. Rep. Brady, Rep. Tony Payton, Rep. Cherelle Parker, Sen. Shirley Kitchen and other community leaders will kick off the Food Stamp Challenge at a press conference at ShopRite of Parkside (1575 N 52nd St.). Challenge participants will also shop for their week’s worth of groceries on the $5-a-day allotment. State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo will also take part in the Challenge.
Brian Gralnick, Director of the Jewish Federation’s Center for Social Responsibility, said, “It’s encouraging to know that our elected officials recognize the importance of SNAP to so many of their constituents. Ensuring that all people have the means to put nutritious food on the table is a cause that every person in the Philadelphia region should get behind.”
The public is invited to take the Challenge by visiting: www.hungercoalition.org.