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Waldron reports: "When local activist groups challenged Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to live on a food stamp budget for a week to mark Hunger Awareness Month, he took them up on the offer and found out just how hard it was."

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton at his local Safeway store in Phoenix on September 18th for a shopping trip on a food stamp budget. (photo: Arizona SNAP)
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton at his local Safeway store in Phoenix on September 18th for a shopping trip on a food stamp budget. (photo: Arizona SNAP)


Mayor Attempts to Live on Food Stamps

By Travis Waldron, ThinkProgress

28 September 12

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esgZA14CgoU

 

hen local activist groups challenged Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to live on a food stamp budget for a week to mark Hunger Awareness Month, he took them up on the offer and found out just how hard it was. Stanton kept a diary on the challenge, which allotted him roughly $29 a week, the same amount 1.1 million Arizonans receive from the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) each week.

By day four, Stanton noted that he was “tired” and “it's hard to focus” after leaving the house for work without time to scramble eggs or eat a decent breakfast:

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.

Watch a local news report about Stanton’s challenge, via Huffington Post’s Bonnie Kavoussi:

According to Stanton’s Facebook page, the city he governs ranks 34th-worst among America’s 100 largest metro areas in terms of hunger, and one-in-four Arizona children are food insecure. Across the nation, there are more than 46 million people receiving SNAP benefits.

Despite the challenges presented by poverty and hunger, Republicans have proposed cuts to the programs that help struggling families afford food. The House GOP budget could kick millions out of SNAP and hundreds of thousands of children out of school lunch programs, exacerbating the high rates of food insecurity America’s families are already facing.

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+84 # Colleen Clark 2012-09-28 16:15
Everyone who's in favor of cutting the help others get should do what Mayor Stanton so admirably did and try it out themselves first - living on food stamps for a week or getting all your health care at an ER or living far from the center of anything and getting along without a car or living on the monthly income of a typical Social Security recipient....
 
 
+37 # tigerlille 2012-09-29 02:43
Well good for the Mayor of Phoenix! What a mensch. Love to see Presidential candidate Mitt Romney take this kind of challenge (of course, that would necessitate thatggffsinceri ty, honesty, and integrity, qualities be does not seem to posses). I received food stamps for myself and my baby for 9 months about 10 years ago. The only way I could provide my child with nutritious food while on food stamps was by essentially not eating myself. People dependent on these kind of government programs must have alternative resources (such as relatives who help) or resort to crime in order to
survive .
 
 
+20 # Joe Bob 2012-09-29 03:26
Oh Boy, let's elect more Republicans and dedicated jerks to office. Who needs nutrition ? Get a life you useless poor. Compassion ? that's for losers.
 
 
+25 # 666 2012-09-29 05:01
kudos to stanton for doing this. and kudos to the author for not mentioning his party and thus making this about politics instead of people,.
 
 
+32 # Artemis 2012-09-29 05:27
Not only can the mayor look forward to an end of this deprivation, but he is also sleeping in his comfortable bed, surrounded by the things that he has been able to afford. And if he has children, they are not going without, probably one of the most painful things for many parents on food stamps.
 
 
+26 # Amir Mashay 2012-09-29 07:43
Well, although it was nice for the writer not to mention his party, this is one situation that party had something to do with his social committment: he's a Democrat. Wouldn't it have been an exceptional act if he was Republican? In any case, there should be more Democrats *and* Republicans like him!!!
 
 
+8 # kelly 2012-09-29 08:59
Great. So what's he going to do about it? Will he take his new-found knowledge and work to change the things he didn't like for the better or will he forget about it?
 
 
-16 # lnason@umassd.edu 2012-09-29 11:02
This doesn't make sense. Arizona (along with Florida, California and Michigan with more states considering it) is a state that allows food stamps to be used at several different fast food chains.

It appears that the Mayor isn't familiar with his own state's rules for food stamp use.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+7 # hbsilvergirl 2012-09-29 13:21
There are limitations. The mayor doesn't appear to fit any of them. Under the federal food-stamp program, states may authorize that use by the elderly, disabled or homeless, who often have difficulty preparing meals. Only Michigan, Arizona and parts of California have done so.

Excerpted from Does Your State Allow Fast Food Purchases On Food Stamps? | A Black Girl's Guide To Weight Loss
 
 
+6 # Smokey 2012-09-29 19:04
Thank you! I continue to hear from "food activists" who jabber on for hours and hours without mentioning things like Hunger Awareness Month.... One "foodist" recently announced, "If you say that organic food is expensive, how come welfare clients are wearing designer jeans and using flat screen televisions? Why do poor people go to Burger King?" Well, friend, the reality is that millions of poor people purchase the cheapest food that they can find. Wal-Mart is popular in my neighborhood... . If you're living in a single room by yourself, without a kitchen, fast food may be the only cooked food that you can easily obtain.... And, no, most of the low-income people in my area aren't wearing designer clothes or buying fancy electronics.... KEY POINT: If progressives want to talk about food, I suggest that they start by looking at the continuing problems of hunger, poverty, and social isolation.... Then, look at the ways in which food industry workers and small farmers are exploited.... Eventually, maybe, we can chat about the delights of shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Maybe.
 
 
+6 # Corvette-Bob 2012-09-30 14:45
As an attorney who handle many bankruptcies I saw many people living on the fringe with very little to keep themselves going. I remember one woman who told me she lived on $ 50 per month of food. I asked how she could do that. She said she ate nothing but rice.
 

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