FSC Press Compilation.FPWF by jcpainfo

VIEWS: 152 PAGES: 259

									Fighting   Poverty with
          Faith
Food   Stamp Challenge
TOP STORIES - .................................................................................................................................................... - 7 -

   WASHINGTON POST –................................................................................................................................................. - 7 -
      Food Stamp Challenge participants step into the shoes of the poor ............................................................... - 7 -
      Washington Post Photo Album: ..................................................................................................................... - 10 -
   THE NEW YORK TIMES - ............................................................................................................................................ - 11 -
      Interest Groups Try to Catch Debt Committee’s Ear ...................................................................................... - 11 -
   CNN – ................................................................................................................................................................... - 15 -
      Lawmakers eat on a food stamp budget ....................................................................................................... - 15 -
   THE WHITE HOUSE BLOG – ........................................................................................................................................ - 16 -
      Standing Up for SNAP .................................................................................................................................... - 16 -
   ABC NEWS – ......................................................................................................................................................... - 17 -
      Congressman, Family Live on Food Stamp Budget for a Week ...................................................................... - 17 -
   THE JEWISH DAILY FORWARD - ................................................................................................................................... - 19 -
      $31.50 a Week ............................................................................................................................................... - 19 -
   THE HILL -............................................................................................................................................................... - 20 -
      House Democrats spend week on food stamps ............................................................................................. - 20 -
   NEW YORK JEWISH WEEK – ....................................................................................................................................... - 22 -
      Take The Food Stamp Challenge .................................................................................................................... - 22 -
   JTA – .................................................................................................................................................................... - 24 -
      Op-Ed: Take the Food Stamp Challenge ......................................................................................................... - 24 -
   HUFFINGTON POST - ................................................................................................................................................. - 26 -
      Food Stamps: Democrats In Congress Attempt To Eat On $4.50 A Day To Protest Potential Budget Cuts.... - 26 -

PRINT MEDIA – ................................................................................................................................................ - 28 -

   AMERICA MAGAZINE - .............................................................................................................................................. - 28 -
      News Briefs .................................................................................................................................................... - 28 -
   ARIZONA JEWISH POST - ............................................................................................................................................ - 30 -
      Ending hunger goal of JCRC annual meeting/food stamp challenge ............................................................. - 30 -
   THE BAY CITIZEN - .................................................................................................................................................... - 33 -
      Rep. Speier to Take 'Food Stamp Challenge' .................................................................................................. - 33 -
   CLEVELAND JEWISH NEWS –....................................................................................................................................... - 35 -
      Take the Food Stamp Challenge..................................................................................................................... - 35 -
      The ‘Challenge’ of dining on $31.50 a week .................................................................................................. - 36 -
   THE DAYTON JEWISH OBSERVER - ............................................................................................................................... - 38 -
      Community Relations Council hunger aid & awareness program .................................................................. - 38 -
   DETROIT FREE PRESS – .............................................................................................................................................. - 40 -
      Hunger forum takes aim at cuts in food stamps ............................................................................................ - 40 -
   HARTFORD COURANT - .............................................................................................................................................. - 41 -
      CT Congressman Learns What $4 A Day Tastes Like ...................................................................................... - 41 -
   HERALD NET –......................................................................................................................................................... - 43 -
      Snohomish church takes on food stamp challenge ........................................................................................ - 43 -
   HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS – ............................................................................................................................ - 45 -
      Faces of hunger .............................................................................................................................................. - 45 -
   THE HILL -............................................................................................................................................................... - 46 -
      House Democrats spend week on food stamps ............................................................................................. - 46 -
      Congresswoman goes on food stamp budget to protest potential cuts ........................................................ - 48 -

                                                                                                                                                                             -1-
   DNC chairwoman joins food stamp challenge ............................................................................................... - 49 -
INDYSTAR – ............................................................................................................................................................ - 50 -
   My View: A taste of hunger to raise awareness............................................................................................. - 50 -
THE JEWISH DAILY FORWARD - ................................................................................................................................... - 52 -
   $31.50 a Week ............................................................................................................................................... - 52 -
   Keeping Kosher During the Food Stamp Challenge ........................................................................................ - 53 -
JEWISH VOICE & HERALD -......................................................................................................................................... - 55 -
   Jewish community unites against hunger ...................................................................................................... - 55 -
   What we learned from the Food Stamp Challenge ........................................................................................ - 58 -
MILWAUKEE- WISCONSIN JOURNAL SENTINEL –............................................................................................................. - 60 -
   Could you eat on food stamps? ...................................................................................................................... - 60 -
JEWISH NEWS OF GREATER PHOENIX - ......................................................................................................................... - 62 -
   End class war now .......................................................................................................................................... - 62 -
JOURNAL AND COURIER – .......................................................................................................................................... - 64 -
   Guest column: Food insecurity a growing problem........................................................................................ - 64 -
JWEEKLY - .............................................................................................................................................................. - 66 -
   Participants get a taste of hunger at interfaith ‘banquet’ ............................................................................. - 66 -
THE MONITOR – ...................................................................................................................................................... - 69 -
   Weapon of Faith ............................................................................................................................................ - 69 -
NEW JERSEY JEWISH NEWS – ..................................................................................................................................... - 73 -
   Caucus to protect anti-poverty efforts ........................................................................................................... - 73 -
NEW JERSEY STAR LEDGER – ...................................................................................................................................... - 76 -
   N.J. faith community urges leaders to stand against poverty ........................................................................ - 76 -
NEW YORK JEWISH WEEK – ....................................................................................................................................... - 79 -
   Take The Food Stamp Challenge .................................................................................................................... - 79 -
THE NEW YORK TIMES - ............................................................................................................................................ - 81 -
   Interest Groups Try to Catch Debt Committee’s Ear ...................................................................................... - 81 -
ORLANDO SENTINEL – ............................................................................................................................................... - 85 -
   Prominent politicians dine on $4.50 a day ..................................................................................................... - 85 -
THE PHILADELPHIA JEWISH VOICE -.............................................................................................................................. - 87 -
   Food Stamp Challenge: The Week The Rabbis Went Hungry ......................................................................... - 87 -
THE REGISTER-GUARD – ............................................................................................................................................ - 89 -
   GUEST VIEWPOINT: Food stamps can make the difference for a family in need ........................................... - 89 -
RHODE ISLAND CATHOLIC - ........................................................................................................................................ - 91 -
   Could you feed yourself on less than $5 a day? ............................................................................................. - 91 -
THE REPUBLIC – ....................................................................................................................................................... - 93 -
   Clerk says she'll stick to average food stamp budget of $31.50 a week ........................................................ - 93 -
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - ..................................................................................................................................... - 94 -
   Rep. Jackie Speier to live on food stamps this week ...................................................................................... - 94 -
   Congresswoman completes $4.50/day food challenge ................................................................................. - 96 -
SILICON VALLEY MERCURY NEWS - .............................................................................................................................. - 97 -
   Jackie Speier tries living on food-stamp budget ............................................................................................. - 97 -
STAR TRIBUNE – ...................................................................................................................................................... - 99 -
   Foodstamp Challenge: First Trip to the Grocery Store ................................................................................... - 99 -
STREET SENSE – ..................................................................................................................................................... - 101 -
   $31.50: a Reasonable Family Food Budget? ................................................................................................ - 101 -

                                                                                                                                                                        -2-
   SUN SENTINEL ....................................................................................................................................................... - 103 -
     Iran, hunger discussed ................................................................................................................................. - 103 -
   THE TENNESSEAN – ................................................................................................................................................ - 105 -
     Food Stamp Challenge shines light on poverty ............................................................................................ - 105 -
   WASHINGTON JEWISH WEEK – ................................................................................................................................. - 106 -
     Fighting poverty with faith........................................................................................................................... - 106 -
     Let's get it started: My 1st day of the Food Stamp Challenge ..................................................................... - 108 -
     The Food Stamp Challenge: A Week in Review ............................................................................................ - 109 -
   WASHINGTON POST –............................................................................................................................................. - 110 -
     Food Stamp Challenge participants step into the shoes of the poor ........................................................... - 110 -

TELEVISION AND RADIO – .............................................................................................................................. - 113 -

   ABC 12 WISN - .................................................................................................................................................... - 113 -
     Group Asks People To Eat On $4.50 Per Day ................................................................................................ - 113 -
   CBS MINNESOTA – ................................................................................................................................................ - 115 -
     Congressman Ellison Talks Food Stamp Challenge ...................................................................................... - 115 -
   CBS SAN FRANCISCO – ........................................................................................................................................... - 116 -
     East Bay Congresswoman Takes The Food Stamp Challenge ...................................................................... - 116 -
   CNN – ................................................................................................................................................................. - 118 -
     Lawmakers eat on a food stamp budget ..................................................................................................... - 118 -
     Interview with Marcia Fudge – .................................................................................................................... - 119 -
     Barbara Lee Discusses the Food Stamp Challenge – .................................................................................... - 120 -
   FOX TV-5 – .......................................................................................................................................................... - 121 -
     Americans are Challenged to Live on Food Stamp Money of $31.50 ........................................................... - 121 -
   FOX 28 - .............................................................................................................................................................. - 122 -
     Food Stamp Challenge asks people to try living on $31.50 a week ............................................................. - 122 -
   FOX 59 WXIN - .................................................................................................................................................... - 123 -
     Group says folks on food stamps struggle year round ................................................................................. - 123 -
   THE JEWISH CHANNEL – .......................................................................................................................................... - 125 -
     Week in Review: November 11, 2011 .......................................................................................................... - 125 -
   KFSN ABC 30 –.................................................................................................................................................... - 126 -
     Jackie Speier on a Food Stamp Budget......................................................................................................... - 126 -
   KGO-TV ABC 7 - .................................................................................................................................................. - 127 -
     Congresswoman to live off food stamps budget .......................................................................................... - 127 -
   KNTV NBC BAY AREA – ......................................................................................................................................... - 129 -
     Jackie Speier Food Stamp Challenge ............................................................................................................ - 129 -
   KOFY TV20-CABLE 13 – ........................................................................................................................................ - 130 -
     Two Local Congresswomen Take Food Stamp Challenge ............................................................................ - 130 -
   KRCB 91 FM – ..................................................................................................................................................... - 131 -
     Food Stamp Challenge ................................................................................................................................. - 131 -
   KTVU - ................................................................................................................................................................ - 132 -
     Jackie Speier Takes Food Stamp Challenge – ............................................................................................... - 132 -
   KQ 103 ORLANDO – .............................................................................................................................................. - 133 -
     Prominent politicians dine on $4.50 a day. South Florida members of Congress take food stamp challenge. ..... -
     133 -
   KQED -................................................................................................................................................................ - 134 -

                                                                                                                                                                           -3-
     Congressmembers Take "Food Stamp Challenge," Eating On $4.50 A Day ................................................. - 134 -
     Rep. Speier Takes 'Food Stamp Challenge' ................................................................................................... - 136 -
   MSNBC – ............................................................................................................................................................ - 137 -
     Al Sharpton Interview with Rep. Marcia Fudge ........................................................................................... - 137 -
     Congresswoman Barbara Lee Discusses Poverty and the Food Stamp Challenge with Martin Bashir ........ - 138 -
   ODYSSEY NETWORKS –............................................................................................................................................ - 139 -
     Faith, Food Stamps and the Fight Against Hunger ...................................................................................... - 139 -
   PBS RELIGION AND ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY - ................................................................................................................. - 140 -
     Faith Leaders Issue “Food Stamp Challenge” ............................................................................................... - 140 -
   REAL MILWAUKEE – ............................................................................................................................................... - 141 -
     Real Milwaukee gets preview of Food Stamp Challenge ............................................................................. - 141 -
   WFMJ NBC – ...................................................................................................................................................... - 142 -
     Valley leaders take part in a program to raise awareness about poverty ................................................... - 142 -
   WJLA ABC 7 – ..................................................................................................................................................... - 144 -
     Challenge prods Americans to shop like food-stamp recipients .................................................................. - 144 -
   WKBN 27 – ......................................................................................................................................................... - 146 -
     Leaders Begin Food Stamp Challenge .......................................................................................................... - 146 -
   WKRN-TV ABC 2 – .............................................................................................................................................. - 148 -
     Mid-State residents participate in 'Food Stamp Challenge' ......................................................................... - 148 -
     Week-long 'Food Stamp Challenge' comes to end ....................................................................................... - 150 -
   WLFI 18 – ........................................................................................................................................................... - 152 -
     Could you survive on $1.50 a meal? ............................................................................................................. - 152 -
   WJACTV - ........................................................................................................................................................... - 154 -
     Lawmakers participate in week-long food stamp challenge........................................................................ - 154 -
   WJW-TV FOX 8 – ................................................................................................................................................. - 155 -
     Rep. Fudge Goes on Food Stamps for Hunger Awareness ........................................................................... - 155 -
   WPRI-12 - ........................................................................................................................................................... - 157 -
     Could you feed yourself for $4.50/day? ....................................................................................................... - 157 -
   WPRO NEWS TALK 630 – ...................................................................................................................................... - 159 -
     Coalition advocates for more money for food stamps ................................................................................. - 159 -
   WTHR NBC 13 – ................................................................................................................................................. - 160 -
     Food Stamp Challenge highlights issue of hunger ....................................................................................... - 160 -
   WTOV 9 – ........................................................................................................................................................... - 161 -
     Lawmakers participate in week-long food stamp challenge........................................................................ - 161 -
   WTVF-TV 5 – ...................................................................................................................................................... - 162 -
     Food-Stamp Shopping Challenge Proves Difficulty Of Small Budget............................................................ - 162 -
   WYTV ABC 33 - ................................................................................................................................................... - 164 -
     Leaders Begin Food Stamp Challenge .......................................................................................................... - 164 -
   WZTV FOX 17 – ................................................................................................................................................... - 166 -
     Tennesseans Taking Food Stamp Challenge ................................................................................................ - 166 -

ONLINE MEDIA – ............................................................................................................................................ - 168 -

   ABC NEWS – ........................................................................................................................................................ - 168 -
     Congressman, Family Live on Food Stamp Budget for a Week .................................................................... - 168 -
   ABC 5 - ............................................................................................................................................................... - 170 -
     Congresswoman Marcia Fudge participates in food stamp challenge ........................................................ - 170 -

                                                                                                                                                                           -4-
   Congresswoman Fudge says she's always hungry on food stamp experiment ............................................ - 171 -
ADDICTING INFO – ................................................................................................................................................. - 172 -
   California Congresswoman To Try Living Off Food Stamps Budget ............................................................. - 172 -
ASSOCIATED PRESS – .............................................................................................................................................. - 174 -
   Anti-poverty activists launch food stamp challenge .................................................................................... - 174 -
   Indiana interfaith, anti-hunger leaders take challenge to feed selves on $31.50 for 7 days ....................... - 175 -
BELMONT PATCH –................................................................................................................................................. - 177 -
   Congresswoman Tastes Life on Food Stamps .............................................................................................. - 177 -
BET – .................................................................................................................................................................. - 179 -
   The Politics of Food ...................................................................................................................................... - 179 -
BREAD NEW MEXICO – ........................................................................................................................................... - 181 -
   Rabbi Steve Gutow: Hunger is a Form of Slavery ......................................................................................... - 181 -
THE CHRISTIAN POST –............................................................................................................................................ - 183 -
   Food Stamp Challenge: Interfaith Coalition Fights Poverty With Faith ........................................................ - 183 -
THE DAILY JOURNAL – ............................................................................................................................................. - 185 -
   Speier wraps up food stamp challenge ........................................................................................................ - 185 -
DAILY KOS –.......................................................................................................................................................... - 186 -
   Thought experiments in poverty .................................................................................................................. - 186 -
   Learning from the food stamp challenge ..................................................................................................... - 189 -
THE DEMOCRATIC DAILY – ....................................................................................................................................... - 193 -
   How Much Will $31.50 Buy?: Administration Officials, Lawmakers To Experience Food Stamps ............... - 193 -
EKKLESIA –............................................................................................................................................................ - 195 -
   'Food stamp challenge' poverty wake-up call to US politicians ................................................................... - 195 -
ENEWS PARK FOREST –........................................................................................................................................... - 196 -
   Rep. Schakowsky Participates In National Food Stamp Challenge .............................................................. - 196 -
EXAMINER.COM - ................................................................................................................................................... - 197 -
   A budget is a moral document: Congress and the food stamp challenge .................................................... - 197 -
FAITH IN PUBLIC LIFE – ............................................................................................................................................ - 198 -
   Faith Leaders and Members of Congress Take the Food Stamp Challenge ................................................. - 198 -
FIRST FOCUS – ....................................................................................................................................................... - 200 -
   Food for Thought: Food Stamp Challenge Helped Me Empathize With Homeless Families and Individuals - 200 -
GATHER - ............................................................................................................................................................. - 202 -
   It's Food Stamps for CA Congresswoman Jackie Speier ............................................................................... - 202 -
HUFFINGTON POST - ............................................................................................................................................... - 203 -
   Food Stamps: Democrats In Congress Attempt To Eat On $4.50 A Day To Protest Potential Budget Cuts.. - 203 -
   Taking the Congressional Food Stamp Challenge ........................................................................................ - 205 -
   Water on the Omelet -- The Food Stamp Challenge: Day Two .................................................................... - 208 -
   Food on My Mind -- All the Time -- the Food Stamp Challenge: Day Six ...................................................... - 210 -
   The Food Stamp Challenge: The Challenge Has Been Met -- The Work Begins ........................................... - 212 -
JEWCOLOGY – ....................................................................................................................................................... - 214 -
   Take the Food Stamp Challenge! ................................................................................................................. - 214 -
JEWISH RECONSTRUCTIONIST FEDERATION – ............................................................................................................... - 215 -
   Fighting Poverty With Faith: Thursday October 27th- Sunday, November 6th, 2011 .................................. - 215 -
JTA – .................................................................................................................................................................. - 216 -
   Lawmakers, JCPA join in food stamps push ................................................................................................. - 216 -
   Steve Gutow’s food stamp diet and his omelet near-disaster ..................................................................... - 217 -

                                                                                                                                                                         -5-
   Op-Ed: Take the Food Stamp Challenge ....................................................................................................... - 218 -
MAHWAH PATCH – ................................................................................................................................................ - 221 -
   Rabbi To Take The "Food Stamp Challenge" ................................................................................................ - 221 -
   The Food Stamp Challenge........................................................................................................................... - 223 -
   Day 2: Hungry for Dinner at 4:30 p.m. ......................................................................................................... - 225 -
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES NEWS – ................................................................................................................ - 227 -
   45.2 million know what it's like; Could you survive on food stamps? .......................................................... - 227 -
NETWORK – .......................................................................................................................................................... - 229 -
   Blog: Fighting Poverty with Faith ................................................................................................................. - 229 -
THE OAKLAND POST ONLINE – ................................................................................................................................. - 230 -
   Lee Joins Food Stamp Challenge .................................................................................................................. - 230 -
PETALUMA PATCH – ............................................................................................................................................... - 231 -
   Congressional Candidate Tries Living on Food Stamp Budget ..................................................................... - 231 -
PETOSKEY NEWS - .................................................................................................................................................. - 233 -
   Screening of "Food Stamped" offered locally ............................................................................................... - 233 -
POLITIC 365 -........................................................................................................................................................ - 235 -
   12 Members of Congress Live Like 49 Million in Poverty ............................................................................. - 235 -
PUBLIC NEWS SERVICE – ......................................................................................................................................... - 238 -
   Fighting Poverty in Indiana by Challenging and Listening ........................................................................... - 238 -
REDWOOD CITY PATCH - ......................................................................................................................................... - 239 -
   Congresswoman Jackie Speier To Live on Food Stamp Budget .................................................................... - 239 -
RELIGION NEWS SERVICE – ...................................................................................................................................... - 241 -
   Faith, political leaders find out how far food stamps go ............................................................................. - 241 -
SAN MATEO PATCH - .............................................................................................................................................. - 244 -
   Speier Takes 'Food Stamp Challenge' ........................................................................................................... - 244 -
SOJOURNERS - ....................................................................................................................................................... - 246 -
   Fighting Poverty with the Food Stamp Challenge ........................................................................................ - 246 -
THINK PROGRESS – ................................................................................................................................................. - 248 -
   Morning Briefing: November 1, 2011 .......................................................................................................... - 248 -
UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST NEWS – ......................................................................................................................... - 249 -
   Faith groups take on Food Stamp Challenge ............................................................................................... - 249 -
VINDY – ............................................................................................................................................................... - 251 -
   Mahoning Valley leaders to kick off Food Stamp Challenge ........................................................................ - 251 -
VOICE OF AMERICA – .............................................................................................................................................. - 252 -
   Rabbi, Imam and Pastors Defend US Food Subsidy Program....................................................................... - 252 -
WAUWATOSA NOW - ............................................................................................................................................. - 255 -
   Food Stamp Challenge raises awareness about local need for food ............................................................ - 255 -
THE WHITE HOUSE BLOG – ...................................................................................................................................... - 258 -
   Standing Up for SNAP .................................................................................................................................. - 258 -




                                                                                                                                                                        -6-
Top Stories -
Washington Post –




Food Stamp Challenge participants step into the shoes of the poor
By Teresa Tomassoni, Friday, November 4, 12:38 PM

Food overwhelmed his every thought.

―When am I going to eat? What am I going to eat?‖ he asked himself throughout the
day. Envious of those around him at work, on the street, in restaurants — enjoying
what he could not have — he saved soup from Tuesday‘s dinner to get him through
Wednesday, and a spoonful of instant coffee to wake himself up on Thursday.

―All I think about is food and food,‖ he said, his voice trailing longingly over the
phone as he spoke from his apartment. For almost a week, he had been surviving on
just lentils, cornflakes and eggs as part of a nationwide challenge to live for a few
days like the millions of Americans who depend on the country‘s primary food
assistance program.

                                                                                    -7-
Living on a budget of $31.50, the average weekly food-stamp stipend for an adult,
Rabbi Steve Gutow joined at least 600 imams, pastors, members of Congress and
community activists across the country in the second nationwide Food Stamp
Challenge, part of an annual interfaith campaign to raise awareness about America‘s
poor.

As the challenge launched last week with a shopping trip at a Safeway in Southeast
Washington, faith leaders and officials, including Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-
D.C.), vowed to put themselves in the shoes of the poor. In turn, they demanded that
government decision makers preserve funding for the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP), widely known as the Food Stamp Program.

The program is the ―number one defense against hunger‖ in the District, benefiting
about 140,000 people, or nearly one in every four city residents, said Alexandra
Ashbrook, director of D.C. Hunger Solutions. Nationwide, more than 45 million
people relied on the program in August, compared with about 27 million participating
at the end of 2007.

Advocates worry that programs such as SNAP could bear a disproportionate
budgetary burden as lawmakers urgently seek cuts that will trim the nation‘s deficit.

―There is tremendous political pressure to make spending cuts to reduce the federal
deficit,‖ said Josh Protas, Washington director of the Jewish Council for Public
Affairs.

This is the second time that Gutow, president of the Jewish council, has taken the
food-stamp challenge. The first time, in 2007, changed his life, he said, helping him to
empathize more with those who must make sure that their benefits last through the
month.

―If you live like the poor, you sort of understand more of what it‘s like,‖ Gutow said.

While shopping on his allotted food-stamp money last week, Gutow discovered at the
register that he was $12 over his budget. Scrambling to cut costs, he gave up bags of
salad and rice and traded a bottle of grape juice for a cheaper can of frozen, mostly
artificial fruit punch needed for Shabbat dinner the next evening.

On Friday, Gutow, who travels to the District from New York at least once a month,
prepared a simple holy meal at a friend‘s apartment in Woodley Park. He measured
the lentils he could afford to use in a Middle Eastern dish of rice and caramelized
onions called Mujadara and then prepared a vegetable omelet. And when his friend


                                                                                      -8-
accidentally drenched the eggs with water, Gutow quickly emptied the soggy plate
and nuked it in the microwave.

People on rigid budgets are limited by not only what they can eat but also by what
they can do, Gutow said. ―It feels a bit like you‘re imprisoned,‖ he said. A lot of
mental energy is spent thinking about food, when it could be spent on something else,
he said. ―You can‘t be all you can be.‖

Four days into the challenge, Gutow started to feel like he did at the same point during
the 2007 challenge: ―dead in the senses.‖ No one should live like that, he said.

But experiencing just a bit of what it‘s like for those who do, Gutow said Thursday
after finishing the challenge, has reinvigorated him to educate faith communities and
politicians about the importance of SNAP and poverty and hunger in America.

―Once you go through this, you feel more acutely compelled to tell people what it‘s
like,‖ he said. ―This is a non-negotiable budget item.‖

Norton, who also participated in the first week-long challenge in 2007, said she found
it just as difficult the second time around. Her biggest temptation? The enticing
aromas of food offered at lunch meetings and receptions.

She hopes that the voices of the 600 participating religious leaders and activists who
normally differ on a number of issues will inspire lawmakers to raise the stipends for
food-aid recipients.

―It does incline members to sit up and notice,‖ Norton said. ―Nobody can live on
$4.50 a day. It‘s impossible.‖

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/food-stamp-challenge-participants-step-into-the-shoes-of-the-
poor/2011/11/02/gIQAnJPJmM_story.html




                                                                                               -9-
Washington Post Photo Album:




http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/religious-political-figures-participate-in-food-stamp-
challenge/2011/11/04/gIQA6aSKnM_gallery.html#photo=1




                                                                                             - 10 -
The New York Times -




Representative Jackie Speier took part in a challenge to follow the grocery budget of food stamp recipients, $4.50 a day.

November 3, 2011
Interest Groups Try to Catch Debt Committee‟s Ear
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
WASHINGTON — Facing billions of dollars in possible cuts, advocates for the
poor are resorting to some creative tactics to grab the attention of Congress:
Getting lawmakers to try eating on $4.50 a day, just as some 46 million food-
stamp recipients already do.

From Miami to Milwaukee, lawmakers and rank-and-file supporters have taken
up the ―food stamp challenge‖ to draw attention to the program‘s meager
benefits as budget cuts loom. Representative Jackie Speier, a California
Democrat, had a scoop of tuna and a few lettuce leaves for lunch Thursday after
scouring a Safeway grocery in her home district for $13.27 in bargains earlier in
the week.

The lean diet ―adds a human dimension to hunger and underscores for members
the real risks,‖ said Ellen Vollinger, a lobbyist for the Food Research Action
Council, a Washington advocacy group working with religious organizations to
fight cuts in nutrition programs.
                                                                                                                       - 11 -
As the special bipartisan debt reduction committee begins its final weeks of
deliberations, hundreds of outside interest groups are turning to a wide variety
of lobbying tactics — from old staples like letter-writing campaigns and
billboards to newer ones like the food stamp campaign — to ward off deep cuts.

Health care providers, worried about Medicaid cuts and other programs, have
taken out big ads around Washington to make their case. Lobbyists for defense
contractors have been meeting with Congressional staff members to warn of the
threat to national security if weapons programs are slashed. Some farmers are
anxious to avoid cuts in crop subsidies. And cities and counties warn of rising
crime rates if federal financing for police, fire services and the like are curtailed.

While lobbying is an everyday occurrence in Washington, the debt committee‘s
work has drawn extraordinary scrutiny from outside groups because of the
scope, speed and power of its work, making it a veritable full employment act
for federal lobbyists. By Thanksgiving week, the committee must come up with
at least $1.2 trillion in debt cuts across virtually all federal programs, and if it
reaches a plan, the House and Senate must take it up on a simple up-or-down
vote.

Moreover, the committee has been operating in unusual secrecy, cloistering
itself for the most part. Smaller groups worry that their special interests may get
short shrift in the rush to slash huge amounts of spending, while even a number
of well-heeled corporate lobbyists complain that they have had difficulty getting
any real time with the 12 committee members.

As a result, it is difficult to tell if the outside lobbying will have much of an
impact.

―The face-to-face time has really been pretty minimal and more by
happenstance,‖ said H. Stewart Van Scoyoc, who leads one of Washington‘s
largest lobbying shops. ―They‘re pretty well locked down and not taking a lot of
meetings.

―Everybody‘s sending letters. It does a little bit of good,‖ he said, ―but I don‘t
think the members of the committee are spending a lot of time reading letters.‖



                                                                                    - 12 -
Then, of course, there is the most lucrative of Washington lobbying traditions:
the fund-raiser meet-and-greet, where lobbyists and executives shell out a few
thousand dollars for a steak dinner at the restaurant Charlie Palmer or another
watering hole near Capitol Hill in the hopes of buttonholing lawmakers.

But even that tradition seems to have fallen off a bit.

The committee‘s members drew criticism from some outside ethics groups for
continuing to take part in political fund-raisers after they were named to the
high-profile spots in August.

New numbers released in October suggest that some members have heeded the
criticism by slowing their fund-raising. But at least two of the six House
members on the panel saw sharp upticks in the last three months: Representative
Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who is co-chairman of the committee,
took in more than $471,000, while Representative Chris Van Hollen, a
Maryland Democrat, raised more than $153,000, according to an analysis by the
Sunlight Foundation, a Washington research group. Much of the money came
from donors in financial services and other industries that have a direct stake in
the committee‘s work.

Possible changes in the nation‘s health care payment system have emerged as a
dominant issue before the committee. Indeed, with more than 400 outside
groups and companies registered to lobby the panel, nearly 30 percent of the
organizations — 118 in all — work in health care. The issue is also visible in
the Union Station subway stop, a few blocks from the Capitol. It is dotted with
large ads for the American Health Care Association, which represents nursing
homes.

The ads, built around the theme ―Care Not Cuts,‖ are part of a $4 million
campaign that the association has begun in Washington and in committee
members‘ home states to warn against cutbacks in medical reimbursements.

At Holland & Knight, a major Washington law firm, Rich Gold, the leader of
the lobbying practice, has about a dozen lobbyists working on the panel‘s issues
and putting out sometimes hourly alerts to about 50 clients with a stake in the
outcome.

                                                                              - 13 -
While his lobbyists have let committee staff members know about the impact of
possible changes, like the risks of rushing a new corporate tax structure into
place, he said the information has flowed largely in one direction. ―They know
our clients‘ positions, but we‘re not getting any view of where they‘re heading,‖
he said.

As Representative Speier prepared to eat her tuna and lettuce Thursday on her
food stamps budget, she said she hoped that the committee members got the
message one way or the other.

―It‘d be nice if members of the committee tried to eat for $4.50 a day,‖ she said.

―We can‘t take the most vulnerable in our population and stick the cuts to
them,‖ she said. ―We members of Congress live in a bubble. We get fed all the
time around here, so eating like this for me has been a real eye-opener.‖
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/us/interest-groups-seek-to-catch-debt-committees-
ear.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=Eric%20Lichtblau&st=cse




                                                                                      - 14 -
CNN –




October 31st, 2011
02:00 PM ET
Lawmakers eat on a food stamp budget
Previously, our very own CNN producer Sheila Steffen shopped for a week's worth of groceries for $30 - the amount
which would be allotted by food stamps.

Now, Washington D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is one of a dozen democratic Congressmen taking part in a
food stamp challenge organized by various religious groups. The participants are allowed to spend no more than
$31.50 a week. That comes to $4.50 a day. The objective is for lawmakers to see for themselves how it feels to live
on a limited food budget.

The National Food Stamp Challenge comes as lawmakers on Capitol Hill ponder spending cuts that could adversely
affect programs that assist the poor and elderly.


http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2011/10/31/lawmakers-eat-on-a-food-stamp-budget/




                                                                                                              - 15 -
The White House Blog –




Standing Up for SNAP
Posted by Valerie Jarrett on October 28, 2011 at 02:29 PM EST

Yesterday morning, I visited a local grocery store as part of Fighting Poverty with Faith, an interfaith campaign co-
sponsored by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Catholic Charities USA, and the National Council of Churches.
While I was there, I had the chance to speak about the Obama Administration’s commitment to fighting hunger
through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. For many of the 45 million Americans who rely on
SNAP each year, these benefits are an economic lifeline. They can be the difference between going hungry, and
putting food on the table.

President Obama knows that many Americans were struggling to afford food before the economic crisis of 2008, and
that the recession only made things worse. He believes that our government must follow what he has called, ―a
common creed.‖ I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper.

That is why, when President Obama took office, he enhanced and expanded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program. The investments we made kept 3.9 million Americans, including 1.7 million children, above the poverty line
in 2010. They prevented child hunger from rising, even as poverty and unemployment levels increased in the wake of
the economic crisis.

These investments also benefited our economy as a whole. In fact, every five dollars in new SNAP generates up to
nine dollars in increased economic activity, for stores, warehouses, truck drivers, and farms.

Of course, expanding SNAP benefits is just one of many ways the Obama Administration has supported low-income
Americans. Two weeks ago, the White House released a report entitled ―Creating Pathways to Opportunity,‖ which
goes into these initiatives in greater detail.
As President Obama seeks to protect our most vulnerable citizens, he is proud to work with religious leaders from all
faiths. A few months ago, I joined the President for a meeting with the Circle of Protection, a national religious
coalition committed to speaking up for ―the least of these.‖ Together, we held hands and prayed for the well-being of
our most vulnerable neighbors, and for the wisdom to remember our obligations toward one another.

This will not be easy. Even now, Congress has proposed making drastic cuts to the SNAP program, and to other
programs which benefit our economy while helping Americans make ends meet. But we believe that if we work
together with citizens and leaders of every faith, we can do the right thing, fight poverty, and make sure our economy
reflects our highest American ideals.

Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor to the President




                                                                                                                 - 16 -
ABC News –




By Katie   Bosland
Oct 26, 2011 3:36pm
Congressman, Family Live on Food Stamp Budget for a Week
Calling proposals to cut food stamp funding ―tearing the safety net to shreds,‖ Rep. Joe Courtney
decided one week ago that it wasn‘t enough just to disagree.

For the past week and concluding today, Courtney, D-Conn., his wife Audrey and 16-year-old
daughter Elizabeth have been living on a food stamp budget, experiencing what little can actually
bought for $32.59 per person, per week, or $1.59 per meal, and blogging and tweeting about the
process.

The week is called taking the ―SNAP Challenge‖ after the national food stamp program run through
the U.S. Department of Agriculture, The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, that provides
low-income households with healthful foods within reach out their budgets.

Citing proposals submitted to a congressional debt-reduction supercommittee to decrease funding
for SNAP, as well as outspoken Rep. Paul Ryan‘s, R-Wis., budget plan and the cuts it would
bring, Courtney said, ―People [have got] to remember we‘re going through an economy with 9
percent unemployment. … When that happens, really by and large, the only public assistance that is
left is SNAP.‖

Courtney added that ―the reality of people depending on SNAP is obvious in the near future, and
going backwards is going to be … a real strain on the safety net.‖

ABC News spoke to the congressman while he was on his third cup of tea this morning with the same
tea bag.

Saying that the week has been ―harder‖ than he had imagined, he added, ―You definitely learn some
of these tricks to stretch your $4-a-day allotment.‖

In addition to shopping at different supermarkets than usual to find better deals, he cited switching
from whole grain to white tortillas for enchiladas, buying produce of a lesser quality as long as it was
cheaper, and going a bit hungry just to stretch the money out throughout the week.




                                                                                                   - 17 -
―It was not hard to visualize the sort of pressure, obvious need, for people who are depending on $4 a
day to go to food banks and soup kitchens,‖ he told ABC News, as it becomes hard to stretch the
existing funding as is.

However, not everyone in Congress would agree.

Just this week Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., told ABC News on Topline that ―When [the food stamp
program] started it was one in 50 people on the food stamp program. Now, it‘s one in seven. Lottery
winners, multimillion-dollar lottery winners are getting food stamps because that money is
considered to be an asset, not an income.‖

It remains to be seen if the food stamp cuts proposed by the House and Senate agriculture
committees will actually be included in the final proposal to be submitted by the debt-reduction
Super Committee. The Super Committee‘s proposal for reducing the deficit by $1.5 trillion is due
Nov. 23.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/10/congressman-family-live-on-food-stamps-for-a-week/




                                                                                                 - 18 -
The Jewish Daily Forward -




$31.50 a Week
Editorial
Published October 27, 2011, issue of November 04, 2011.

The last time that Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, tried to live on an
average budget of food stamps for a week, it was 2007, and the allotment was $21. He ate a great
deal of lentils, rice, onions, eggs — not such a hardship, since he‘s a vegetarian — and a bag of cereal
lasted as breakfast for the week. He could afford very little fresh fruit and vegetables, and he forgot to
buy coffee.
Gutow says he‘s not making that same mistake this year, as he joins the fourth annual campaign of
faith leaders trying to persuade Congress not to cut the program now known as the Supplemental
Nutritional Assistance Program. This year, the allotment is $31.50. And this year, he plans to buy a
small jar of instant coffee for the week.
Sure, it‘s a gimmick, and he‘s the first to admit it. After seven days, he can spend $4.50 on a cup of
coffee instead of a day‘s worth of food and drink. But that‘s the central problem with our
understanding of poverty and depravation. It is so removed from our ordinary lifestyle of abundance
and choice that it takes a gimmick like this to enter, if only for a limited period of time, the world of
the 45 million Americans who rely on food stamps, and Congress, to eat.
Hundreds of people have signed up for this latest challenge, which begins on October 27, including
members of Congress and the faith leaders from JCPA, Catholic Charities and the National Council of
Churches who argue that ―God does not expect any of us to turn our backs on others in need.‖ As
gimmicks go, this is a worthy one.
http://www.forward.com/articles/144997/




                                                                                                       - 19 -
The Hill -



House Democrats spend week on food stamps
By Mario Trujillo - 10/28/11 12:16 PM ET


Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) ate crackers and peanut butter for breakfast on Friday,
while Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) solicited ideas for nutritional meals under $1.50.

They and at least eight other Democratic congressmen are participating in the Food
Stamp Challenge, which requires living for a week on the average food stamp
allotment, according to the organization hosting the challenge, Fighting Poverty With
Faith (FPF).

The Food Stamp Challenge is an event to preserve the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Earlier this
year, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) proposed a budget plan that would transfer SNAP to
the states using block grants.

Lee, who also participated in the challenge three years ago, started the challenge
Thursday with a launch at a Washington, D.C., supermarket.

Lee warned that members of Congress should not consider making cuts to the food
stamp program as part of ongoing efforts to balance the budget. Lee was one of 64
congressmen earlier this month to call on the deficit-reduction supercommittee to
preserve entitlement programs, including food stamps benefits.

“I am again taking part in this challenge because I believe that it is unconscionable to
make cuts to programs that feed America’s poor and our nation’s children during the
height of an economic crisis,” Lee said in a statement released by her office.

“Day 2 of #foodstampchallenge so I can't drink Joe's coffee,” Lee tweeted Friday
before her appearance on the MSNBC show "Morning Joe." “Had peanut butter and
crackers for breakfast.”

Schakowsky has taken to Twitter, as well, seeking suggestions for nutritious meals
                                                                                     - 20 -
under $1.50, the average limit per food stamp meal. She said she is also keeping a
diary of everything she ate and will post it at week’s end.

Her followers tweeted suggestions ranging from wholegrain pasta and chickpeas to a
peanut butter-and-banana sandwich.

Del. Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands) — who is also participating in the challenge
— said she checked grocery store prices and found the challenge would be harder
than expected.

“Ok this #foodstampchallenge is going to [be] really hard.,”
Christensen tweeted Thursday. “Checked prices in Safeway and so easy to blow the
whole week's allotment.”

According to FPF, other Democratic congressmen have taken the challenge, Including
Reps. Joe Courtney (Conn.), Keith Ellison (Minn.), Marcia Fudge (Ohio), Alcee
Hastings (Fla.), Jim Moran (Va.), Tim Ryan (Ohio) and Jackie Speier (Calif.).

Additionally, senior Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett spoke at a press
conference Thursday with members of Congress calling attention to the Food Stamp
Challenge.


http://thehill.com/blogs/twitter-room/other-news/190453-house-democrats-spend-
week-on-food-stamps




                                                                                  - 21 -
New York Jewish Week –




Take The Food Stamp Challenge
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Could you get by on $4.50 a day for food?

While participants in Occupy Wall Street garner headlines in drawing attention
to the imbalance of financial power in the U.S., a growing number of
prominent Americans are taking the Food Stamp Challenge this month, a low-
key but meaningful effort to draw attention to hunger in this country. They
have agreed to spend a week on the average food stamp allotment of $31.50
per person, which comes out to $1.50 a meal.

Among the participants are members of Congress, clergy and civic leaders,
but everyone is invited to step up and experience what it is like to live on such
a limited budget to provide for basic needs as we approach the holiday of
Thanksgiving.

The Challenge is being sponsored by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs
(JCPA) as part of a national interfaith coalition of anti-poverty advocates
seeking to cut domestic poverty in half by 2020 — at a time when Congress is
proposing to reduce funding for food stamps by $127 billion over the next 10
years.

Rabbi Steve Gutow, executive director of JCPA, notes that Jewish tradition is
as the forefront of the moral imperative to provide for those most in need.

He cites the Prophet Isaiah, who said, ―If you offer your compassion to the
hungry and satisfy the famished creature, then shall your light shine in
darkness.‖

The JCPA is a leader in the Jewish community nationally in calling for public
policies and programs dealing with poverty. The group has joined with other
faith-based groups in raising funds, and consciousness, to deal with helping


                                                                              - 22 -
the most vulnerable members of our society at a time when federal food
programs are facing deep cuts and possible budgetary restructuring.

In addition to asking people to experience firsthand how hunger impacts the
lives of so many Americans, the Food Stamp Challenge is seeking volunteers
to contribute and/or raise funds to make the fight against poverty a priority in
government and within the organized Jewish community.

We encourage our readers to learn more about the program by visiting the
JCPA’s website and learning how to fulfill the prophet’s call to shine light in
the darkness.

http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial_opinion/editorial/take_food_stamp_challenge




                                                                                     - 23 -
JTA –




Op-Ed: Take the Food Stamp Challenge
By Conrad Giles and Steve Gutow · October 27, 2011

OPINION

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- We have decided to take a journey. We will take the Food Stamp Challenge and live for one

week on an average SNAP (food stamp) benefit of $31.50 per week. We are organizing and encouraging others to
join us.

Yet we hear one question again and again: Why?

We have heard the statistics. Poverty rates are climbing and millions of people are out of work, out of food or without

homes. To be more specific, 45.2 million Americans in July alone filed for SNAP benefits; more than half were

children. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported that more than 48 million Americans struggle to find

adequate food and experience the bitter reality of hunger. Looking at the devastating numbers alone can be
dehumanizing.

We are taking the Challenge to experience and remind ourselves of what hunger feels like in our nation of plenty.

Studies and reports describe the pervasiveness of hunger in America, but they don’t convey the humanity of those

caught in its wake. Hungry children suffer from impaired development and poor performance in school. Tens of

thousands of adults, possibly millions, endure illnesses caused by the vestiges of hunger and malnutrition. Some who

struggle with hunger resemble the iconic young man crouched in the corner of a subway portal with a simple sign:

"No food, no job, no home." Others suffer from hunger out of sight of the outside world. They are our neighbors and

members of our own Jewish communities who have fallen on hard times. They have been caught and protected by

the most vital of our national safety net -- one that provides food. The average SNAP benefit for these families,
children and seniors is just $31.50 per week per person -- roughly $1.50 per meal.

Hunger is an urgent challenge for millions of Americans, and before Congress considers cutting SNAP benefits, we

are asking citizens across this nation to go further than knowing the statistics. We are asking them to understand the

realities of hunger. We urge you to join us on our journey. Visithttp://www.foodstampchallenge.com to learn more

about the Food Stamp Challenge and register to join us.

The Food Stamp Challenge has attracted support from religious, political and community leaders from across the
country. But this is not just a Jewish effort. We are being joined by a number of leaders from the wider faith

community. They are bearing witness to the growing number of Americans facing hunger in our towns and on our

                                                                                                                    - 24 -
streets. Members of Congress and other statewide and local civic leaders also will be taking the Challenge. This is a
nationwide effort to raise awareness and break through the sterile statistics.

As Jews, we have just finished the High Holy Days with the powerfully poetic closing of the gates of Heaven and our

fates sealed by God. But Yom Kippur is a beginning not an end. Our work to better ourselves and our world is begun

anew each year, and to prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually we fast. We are warned by Isaiah on Yom Kippur,

however, that the fast is not ―a day for men to starve their bodies‖ or "to lie in sackcloth and ashes." Rather, the fast is
about "sharing our bread with the hungry and satisfying the famished creature."

The Food Stamp Challenge, like the fast on Yom Kippur, is meant to teach us to feed hungry people and to imbue
ourselves with a more complete understanding of the quality of life of those in need.

Hunger in America is not just about numbers. It is living without security or energy. It is living on the edge. These
truths about hunger are not gleaned from statistics. And they are truths we need to share with each other, and

importantly, our leaders. We are living in a political world. We will need to put all the pressure we can on members of
Congress and the administration to show the "derech eretz" to do the right thing.

(Dr. Conrad Giles and Rabbi Steve Gutow are the chair and president, respectively, of the Jewish Council for Public

Affairs.)




                                                                                                                      - 25 -
Huffington Post -


Food Stamps: Democrats In Congress Attempt To Eat On $4.50 A Day
To Protest Potential Budget Cuts




The Huffington Post Luke Johnson First Posted: 10/31/11 06:48 PM ET Updated: 11/1/11 04:29 PM ET

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) along with eight other congressional Democrats are eating on a budget of
about $4.50 a day to show solidarity with food stamp recipients who receive $32.59 a week.
The personal thrift, which is part of a challenge organized by Fighting Poverty With Faith, was reported
by Pacifica Patch. The site also listed the food items that Speier was now buying.

Speier displayed some of the items she was able to purchase for her first day of living on a food stamp
budget: a bag of coffee and a loaf of bread from the Dollar Warehouse; a can of Campbell's low sodium
chicken noodle soup; and a can of sweet peas, possibly to put in a tuna casserole later in the week.

"And this is my treat for the week," Speier said, holding up a box of microwave popcorn packets.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), along with his wife and daughter, chose to live on a food stamp budget of
about $1.59 per meal. He tweeted about the challenge, relaying that he ate "generic cereal and part of a
banana for breakfast."

Food stamps have been a target of Republican-led budget cuts. House Budget Committee Chair Rep.
Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) proposed transfering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known
as the Food Stamp Program, into a block grant program administered by the states.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) recently told ABC's "Top Line" that the food stamp program was "out of
control" and being abused by "multimillion-dollar lottery winners." (After a Michigan man drew attention for
still receiving food stamps despite winning the lottery, state lawmakers began asking recipients about
their financial assets.)




                                                                                                       - 26 -
The number of people relying on food stamps has risen as a consequence of the recession. Over 40
million individuals and 19 million households used the program in 2010, according to the U.S. Department
of Agriculture.

In addition to Speier and Courtney, Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jan
Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Tim Ryan (D-
Ohio) have also decided to trim down their food budget in solidarity.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/food-stamps-congress-budget-cuts_n_1068336.html




                                                                                                   - 27 -
Print Media –
America Magazine -



News Briefs
FROM CNS, STAFF AND OTHER SOURCES | NOVEMBER 7, 2011




 P     rime Minister David Cameron of Britain last month called the Act of Settlement, which

 bars from the throne members of the royal family who are married to Catholics, a ―historical
 anomaly‖ that could not ―continue to be justified.‖ • Helping people understand how racism
 undermines society‘s ability to overcome violence and economic injustice is a top priority
 for Patricia Chappell, S.N.D.deN., the new executive director of Pax Christi USA. • On Oct. 24
 Pope Benedict XVI named Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C., the relator-
 general, or recording secretary, of the 2012 Synod of Bishops on ―new evangelization.‖
 • Catholic Charities USA, joining the “Fighting Poverty With Faith” mobilization on
 Oct. 27, offered a food stamp challenge: buy a week‟s groceries on the average
 stamp allotment of $31.50 per person. • Jewish groups asked the Vatican on Oct. 19 to
 suspend reconciliation talks with the Society of St. Pius X after Bishop Richard Williamson, a
 member, wrote that the killing of Jesus ―was truly deicide‖ and that ―only the Jews were the
 prime agents of the deicide‖ because they ―clamored for his crucifixion.‖


                                                                                            - 28 -
http://www.americamagazine.org/content/signs.cfm?signid=858




                                                              - 29 -
Arizona Jewish Post -




Ending hunger goal of JCRC annual meeting/food stamp challenge
October 14, 2011

By Sheila Wilensky, AJP Assistant Editor




Robert Morris


Growing up in Tucson during the 1950s, Robert Morris, Jr. learned about the importance of fresh
vegetables from a local Jewish peddler. ―When I was elementary school age Toby would let me ride
on his truck for a few blocks,‖ says Morris. Today, fresh vegetables have often disappeared from
inner city neighborhoods.

Morris will discuss that ―food desert‖ at the Jewish Community Relations Council Annual Meeting
and Food Stamp Challenge Kick-Off, ―Working Together to End Hunger.‖ The luncheon event will
take place on Thursday Oct. 27 at noon at Temple Emanu-El.

Attendees may take the community-wide Food Stamp Challenge, committing to spending $31.50 —
the average food-stamp allotment — for meals for one week.

―The [dietary] needs of the poor are the same as they were in the ‘50s, mostly fresh vegetables,‖ says
Morris, a fourth-generation Tucsonan who recalls ―Native American, Hispanic, African American
and a few Jewish families‖ in his poor neighborhood on Meyer Street, where there was no indoor
plumbing.

Morris, who now lives in the Bay area, is vice president of business development and investor
relations of Living PlanIt, an international company that focuses on improving the quality of life
through technology and making cities more sustainable.

                                                                                                     - 30 -
Fifty percent of the world‘s population lives in cities; that number will increase to 70 percent by
2050, says Morris, adding that ―cities are ill-equipped to support‖ those numbers. The Farm Bill of
2008 increased food assistance for families struggling with rising food costs, he notes, but it‘s
difficult to wean people off the $1 value menu at fast food chains.

The lack of nutritional food ―is an economic issue,‖ Morris told the AJP. ―In inner city neighborhoods
supermarkets are five or six miles away because of safety, pilferage and food stamps. They‘ve been
replaced by fast food places, which provide little nutritional value.‖

Plus, the farming industry has changed dramatically over the years. ―All foods are genetically
modified, especially livestock, wheat products and vegetables. Seed products are genetically
engineered, or altered, to be grown faster and in greater quantities. And they don‘t have to be labeled
as such,‖ he says. ―The FDA and chemical companies started trading seats on boards. It‘s all very
incestuous.

―There‘s been a dramatic shift in the number of chemical corporations, not farmers, controlling what
we put in our bodies,‖ says Morris.

Public, private and nonprofit elements ―have been in conflict. They all need to align to help a large
segment of the population who are malnourished,‖ he asserts. ―We‘re all in this together.‖

Morris, who is African American, experienced that collaboration when he learned about Judaism as a
teenager. He got a job as a stock boy at Dave Bloom & Sons men‘s clothing store on Congress Street,
and sometimes went to synagogue with the Blooms. ―I came to understand the connection between
oppressed people,‖ says Morris. ―The compassion of the Jewish community in Tucson and ‗Never
Again‘ [referring to the Holocaust] didn‘t just apply to the Jewish population.

―All my business acumen grew out of my mentorship with the Blooms,‖ he says. ―I found social
mobility, fairness and honesty in the Jewish community at a time when I wasn‘t welcome in other
places.‖

Morris went on to receive a degree in business at Arizona State University in 1973, and was recruited
by Proctor & Gamble ―to be the Jackie Robinson of business in Montana and northern Colorado
where they had never seen a black person. I was going to have to stand up to a lot of stuff.‖

During his career, Morris has worked for such companies as Revlon, IBM and Unisys, and has lived
in 21 locales including New York, Denver and London. Still, he says, ―Tucson will always emotionally
be home. I look forward to being home‖ for the JCRC event on Oct. 27.

                                                                                                      - 31 -
Donna Beyer will receive the 2011 JCRC Margie Fenton Award at the annual meeting. Beyer has
served as the national Jewish Council for Public Affairs vice chair and past chair of the JCRC of the
Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona. She helped create the local Jewish-Presbyterian Dialogue,
has promoted Holocaust education in Tucson‘s public schools and worked on multi-faith border
issues.

Jonathan Rothschild, outgoing JCRC chair will be recognized at the event and Eric Schindler,
incoming JCRC chair, will be welcomed.

Tickets for the luncheon are $18 each. For more information about the Food Stamp Challenge or to
RSVP for the event by Oct. 24, contact Jane Scott at 577-9393 or jscott @jfsa.org, or
visit jewishtucson.org.

http://azjewishpost.com/2011/ending-hunger-goal-of-jcrc-annual-meetingfood-stamp-challenge/




                                                                                                  - 32 -
The Bay Citizen -




Rep. Speier to Take 'Food Stamp Challenge'

By BAY CITY NEWS SERVICE|October 29, 2011 9:26 a.m. |In ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH

2 Comments




                                                                                                  Aaron Glantz/The Bay Citizen
Rep. Jackie Speier at a public hearing in Brisbane May 9, 2011

About one in seven Americans use food stamps, and Congresswoman Jackie
Speier wants to experience what it is like to live on a food stamps budget.
Starting Monday, Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, will participate in a food stamps challenge in which she will eat
on a food budget of $4.50 a day for five days.


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for administering the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program, or SNAP, the California average monthly benefit in fiscal year 2010 was $136.75, or
approximately $4.50 a day.


Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, SNAP provides more than 3.6 million Californians with benefits to help
them purchase food for them and their families.


According to a statement from Speier's office, "with the poverty rate in the U.S. at a historic high of over 15 percent,
she wants to experience firsthand how a growing number of Americans are forced to live in this tough economy."


SNAP benefits can be used to buy foods such as breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and
meats, fish, and poultry.


Benefits cannot be used to purchase foods that will be eaten on site, hot foods, or alcoholic beverages, cigarettes or
tobacco.



                                                                                                                       - 33 -
Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack foods, and ice cream are considered food items, making them eligible for
purchase, according to the USDA.


Speier is also assembling a group in the community to participate in the five-day food stamps challenge.


Students, faculty and staff at one Southern California college are undertaking a similar challenge this Sunday in
which members of Occidental


College will try to feed themselves for a week on the same $4.50 per day budget.


http://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/quality-of-life/rep-speier-take-food-stamp-challenge/




                                                                                                                    - 34 -
Cleveland Jewish News –




Take the Food Stamp Challenge
Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 10:23 am
Beachwood residents Rona and Joel Fox are taking the Food Stamp Challenge as part of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs'
Fighting Poverty with Faith project, directed by their daughter Elana Fox.

The challenge, which runs from Thurs., Oct. 27-Thurs., Nov. 3, requires participants to live for one week on the average food
stamp allotment of $31.50 a week - that's $4.50 a day; $1.50 a meal.

"The idea is to gain a better appreciation of what food stamp clients are up against," said the Foxes in an email blast, "and ideally
to motivate ourselves to advocate for continuation of their benefits in the face of state and federal efforts to cut budgets."
To register for the challenge, go to www.fighting povertywithfaith.com/f2/actiontoolkits.

- Arlene Fine



http://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/news/local/article_18ccf886-fb27-11e0-b997-
001cc4c03286.html




                                                                                                                               - 35 -
The „Challenge‟ of dining on $31.50 a week




Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2011 3:52 pm | Updated: 9:47 am, Fri Dec 2, 2011.
JOEL and RONNA FOX
Special to the CJN | 0 comments

At the end of October, we took the "Food Stamp Challenge." This is a periodic national effort to call attention to the
difficulties faced by the nearly 49 million Americans who live in households struggling with hunger.

The Federal program we refer to as "Food Stamps" is actually called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(SNAP). The Federal budget provides about $65 billion each year for this program.

When you do the math - divide $65 billion by 49 million recipients who need help to afford three meals a day for
365 days - a person has about $1.50 for each meal.

For the Food Stamp Challenge, we spent a week with $1.50 a meal as our food budget. We had time to think about it
in advance - a luxury most actual SNAP recipients do not have - and so we made a plan and did our shopping.
Twenty-one meals at $1.50 meant we had $31.50 per person to spend for the week. So, we started to create our
menu.

A box of cereal and a half-gallon of milk should last each of us a week for breakfast and would actually beat the
budget. A loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter (the price has risen significantly in recent months), a jar of jam, and a
bag of apples would have to suffice for lunches. This meant that breakfast and lunch would be the same every day.
Our second luxury was being able to say it is fine for every meal to be the same for a week. But what if this had to
be the plan every day for a year? Or longer?

For dinners we planned a pot of soup that could last a few days and meals around helpings of rice, beans and pasta.
A third luxury: We knew that some items were cheaper at ALDI, some at Marc's, and some at Big Lots, and we
tracked the sales at the grocery stores. But we know SNAP recipients usually cannot run around to multiple stores,
even if they live close to them, which most do not.

We spent the week explaining ourselves and denying food at work, from friends, and even samples at the stores.
While these opportunities to eat extra food might present themselves to real recipients, we wanted to see what really
living on that $31.50 would be like.

It was boring. While we were never really starving, we could not reach for snacks or treat ourselves to desserts or
take second helpings. And we were thinking about food all the time.

Yet another luxury we have is being able to choose foods that are healthy and nutritious. On $31.50 for the week, we
could not buy anything close to our usual array of fruits and vegetables or low-fat and low-sodium alternatives.
Our perspective on the Challenge itself was similar to the kosher mindset: Every time, think before you eat. In this
case it is because eating now will mean that there's nothing in the cupboard later.


                                                                                                                    - 36 -
We ended the week along with some Jewish friends who also met the Challenge at an organizing event at Trinity
Cathedral, hosted by the Ohio Council of Churches and supported by the Cleveland Foodbank. Our hosts showed the
film Food Stamped, about a Jewish couple in California who did the Food Stamp Challenge while interviewing
SNAP recipients and collecting data about the plight of the poor across the country.

The 49 million people - over half of whom are children - who rely on SNAP need us to help advocate for them. In
2012 Congress will be called upon to reauthorize the Farm Bill, which provides the framework for Federal
assistance to feed poor people.

Nationally, a group called Fighting Poverty with Faith is building an interfaith movement to cut domestic poverty in
half by 2020. They enlist the organizing power of the faith community to ensure that meeting the needs of those
living in poverty is a national priority. The group asks members of Congress to do the Food Stamp Challenge each
time, and we were please to see local congressional members Reps. Marcia Fudge (D-Warrensville Heights) and
Tim Ryan (D-Niles) participate this year.

Congress's Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the "Super Committee") has to produce a plan to reduce
the deficit by $1.5 trillion this month. Anti-hunger advocates are deeply concerned that SNAP might be targeted for
massive funding cuts or structural changes that could result in enrollment being capped and benefits being
eliminated for many who struggle with hunger.

Call or write your Congressman today to say that, even though we are all concerned about the federal deficit, fixing
the country's finances on the backs of our poorest citizens and leaving people starving is not the solution. They
should be working every day to assure that all Americans have access to safe, healthy, affordable food.

And next time, take the Food Stamp Challenge and help spread the word.

Ronna Fox is director of the Teacher Center at the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland. Joel Fox is executive
director of the Menorah Park Foundation. They live in Beachwood.


Local Food Stamp Challenge Dec. 11-18
The Jewish Federation of Cleveland is coordinating an effort to get Clevelanders to take the Food Stamp Challenge
by living for one week between Dec. 11-18 on the average food stamp benefit of $31.50 - or $1.50 per meal.

Those taking the challenge will join activists in communities across the country to call attention to the national crisis
of hunger and poverty. The effort is part of the Fighting Poverty with Faith mobilization, which the national Jewish
Council for Public Affairs co-chairs with the National Council of Churches and Catholic Charities, and includes
more than 50 national faith groups as partners.

Locally, the Federation has invited members of all faith groups to participate in the challenge and is also working
with the Children's Hunger Alliance on creating awareness and action around the issue.

Those interested in participating can email crc@jcfcleve.org for more information and to be invited to a dinner being
planned during the week at which participants will pool their $1.50 per person to create a communal meal.

Additional details are at www.foodstampchallenge.com.

http://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/features/community/article_090e1386-1c5f-11e1-875d-
0019bb2963f4.html



                                                                                                                   - 37 -
The Dayton Jewish Observer -




Community Relations Council hunger aid & awareness program

SEPTEMBER 25, 2011
By Marshall Weiss, The Dayton Jewish Observer
Dayton’s Jewish Community Relations Council, an agency of the Jewish Federation, will present an
interfaith program to fight poverty and hunger, on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. at Temple Israel,
130 Riverside Dr.

The program will include a screening of the documentary Food Stamped, about a couple’s attempt to
eat a healthy, well-balanced diet on a food-stamp budget.




The evening will also include a panel discussion about local hunger issues with representatives from
the Dayton Foodbank, Children’s Hunger Alliance, and Bread for the World.
According to Dayton JCRC Director Beth Adelman, the event is tied into the national Jewish Council
for Public Affairs’ Working Together to End Hunger interfaith, anti-poverty mobilization, that brings
together more than 50 national faith-based organizations to address root causes of poverty.

―The aim of Working Together to End Hunger,‖ Adelman says, ―is to cut domestic poverty in half
between now and the year 2020.‖

She added that Dayton will also participate in JCPA’s Food Stamp Challenge Oct. 27-Nov. 3.

―When people live on the average food stamp allotment of $31.50 per week, $1.50 per meal,‖
Adelman added, ―it gives them a new perspective on the hunger crisis facing so many Americans.‖

Participants will be encouraged to sign up for the challenge and are asked to bring a can of food for
the Jewish Federation Food Pantry.




                                                                                                 - 38 -
The JCRC is the central public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community. It represents
Dayton’s Jewish community on issues that impact the rights and protection of Jews as individuals
and as a community.

R.S.V.P. for the event to Karen Steiger at 853-0372 by Oct. 21.

http://www.jewishdayton.org/dayton/community-relations-council-hunger-aid-awareness-program/




                                                                                              - 39 -
Detroit Free Press –




Hunger forum takes aim at cuts in food stamps
BY NIRAJ WARIKOO

DETROIT FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER


At a forum on hunger Tuesday night in Detroit, local Jewish leaders and poverty advocates
blasted changes in Michigan law that will limit and cut food assistance and welfare for thousands
of poor people.

They encouraged the public to take the Food Stamp Challenge -- living on less than $32 for food
a week, the amount an average food-stamp recipient receives.

"There is no justification for children going hungry in our state," said Robert Cohen, executive
director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Detroit. The state's budget
"should not be balanced on the backs of hungry children."

Cohen was at a forum held at Gleaners food bank on Detroit's east side, sponsored by the council
to promote awareness about the challenges poor people face in buying healthy food. Michigan
has the nation's third-highest unemployment rate, and poverty is a growing problem, advocates
say.

Gilda Jacobs, president of Michigan League for Human Services, said conservatives inaccurately
framed the debate over welfare cuts. "All you hear is fraud and abuse," said Jacobs, a former
state legislator from Huntington Woods.

Spokesmen for the governor and other state officials have said cuts had to be made and the state
is working to make sure people are able to get the help they need.

http://www.freep.com/article/20111026/NEWS05/110260433/Hunger-forum-takes-aim-cuts-food-
stamps




                                                                                            - 40 -
    Hartford Courant -




    CT Congressman Learns What $4 A Day Tastes Like
    Susan Campbell
    9:38 a.m. EDT, October 31, 2011

    Toward the end of Rep. Joe Courtney's week-long SNAP Challenge, during which he and his family — including
    wife, Audrey, and teenage daughter, Elizabeth —- lived on just over $32 a week apiece, the pickings were slim. For
    his last meal of the week, Courtney had leftover spaghetti with a little cheese sprinkled on the top.

    So Thursday, the first day back on his regular diet, Courtney was acutely aware of the $4.25 bowl of chili he ordered
    from his Washington, D.C., cafeteria.

    Every year, activitists and others take the challenge, during which they pledge to spend no more on food than the
    average food stamp (now known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP) recipient receives, or
    roughly $4 a day. They can take the challenge for a week or a month.

   Susan Campbell





                                                                                                         See more topics »

    In the Hartford area, the annual challenge is led by Rabbi Donna Berman, executive director of Charter Oak
    Cultural Center. The challenge does not allow one to cadge food from one's work, say — so office birthday cakes
    are out. In Courtney's case, that meant occasionally watching constituents dine well he sipped water — from the tap.

    "It takes some real thought to eat on $4 a day," said Courtney, who has represented the second district since his
    election in 2006. "You can blow through that number in no time."

    Among other duties, Courtney serves on the House agriculture committee. The SNAP program is administered by the
    federal Department of Agriculture.
    Courtney says he's not an extravagant eater, but a blog he kept of his week-long challenge through the New London
    County Food Policy Council includes a menu markedly lacking fresh fruit and vegetables, a favorite.

    "I can have a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich in normal times, but not every day," said Courtney, who says he lost
    eight pounds during his challenge.

    The need to eat within a strict budget is particularly acute these days, Courtney said, with proposed budgets that
    threaten food stamps.
    "The threat is pretty substantial," Courtney said.
    In fact, a budget proposed by Paul Ryan, chair of the House budget committee, would eviscerate the program to the
    tune of $127 billion over 10 years — or nearly 20 percent, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and
    Policy Priorities. Current budget proposals take a bite out of the program, but not as large a bite at time when more
    people are relying on government assistance, Courtney said.

    "As people fall off their 99 weeks [of unemployment], SNAP is about it," Courtney said. "It's really kind of incredible."
    The most recent data says 45.3 million Americans receive food stamps; 387,000 of those in Connecticut, according to
    Courtney's office. According to the Urban Institute, roughly 30 million Americans were participating in SNAP at the
    beginning of the recession.


                                                                                                                       - 41 -
http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/courant-columnists/hc-campbell-courtney-1029-
20111029,0,3030416.column




                                                                                    - 42 -
Herald Net –




Snohomish church takes on food stamp challenge
By Katya Yefimova, Herald Writer

Published: Saturday, October 22, 2011

SNOHOMISH -- The Rev. Jeffery Gaustad remembers growing up on food stamps in rural Minnesota.

"I don't remember ever being hungry, but I do remember the stigma that came with it," he said.

Despite more families needing help recently, the stigma is still there, and Gaustad wants to fight it.

The pastor of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Snohomish is taking the National Food Stamp
Challenge. He will have $31.50 to spend on a week's worth of meals.

That's the average weekly allotment for someone in the government's Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.

The challenge, which runs from Oct. 27 through Nov. 4, is part of the Fighting Poverty with Faith
movement. The interfaith campaign is trying to cut poverty in the United States.

As part of the campaign, Gaustad's church is showing "Food Stamped," a documentary film following a
couple trying to eat a healthy diet on a food-stamps budget.

Many people don't realize how difficult it is to stay healthy on that budget, the pastor said. He wants
shed light on the issue.

Many families in Snohomish County are having to make those choices everyday. To help their
community, Christ the King members collect groceries for food banks and grow fresh fruit and
vegetables in the Giving Garden, said Diane Decker-Ihle, a master gardener in charge of the program.

The garden, started in 2008, has produced more than 5,000 pounds of food for local families.

To prepare for the challenge, Gaustad has been looking for recipes that include healthy and filling foods
that are also cheap. He is getting ready to give up fresh vegetables and fruit, and eat a lot of lentils.

Gaustad knows that everything is a matter of perspective: He visited Haiti several years ago with an
organization called Food for the Poor. He remembers seeing people line up for their only meal of the
day -- red beans and rice.

"A lot of us spend a good chunk of our income on food, and it's not an issue," he said. "But a lot of us
have to worry about where our next meal is coming from."

                                                                                                         - 43 -
Katya Yefimova: 425-339-3452, kyefimova@heraldnet.com

Take the challenge

To join the Food Stamp Challenge week or learn more about Fighting Poverty with Faith, go to
http://fightingpovertywithfaith.com.

Watch "Food Stamped:" 7 p.m. today at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 1305 Pine Ave., Snohomish.
The film is about a couple trying to eat a healthy diet on a food-stamps budget.

Donations for the Snohomish Food Bank will be accepted. For more information, call the church at 360-
568-5704.

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20111022/NEWS01/710229961




                                                                                                 - 44 -
Heritage Florida Jewish News –




Faces of hunger
by Dr. Gabriel Mayer

     On Thursday, Nov. 3, Congregation Ohev Shalom will host a free community-
wide event, ―Faces of Hunger,‖ from 7 to 9 p.m.
     The program will be instructional and also directional, so that the audience
can take home activist ideas. Along with voter registration during the program,
there will be a panel of experts and two films: the ―60 Minutes‖ segment from
March 2011 that features the hunger among children in our own community, and
a feature film presentation, ―Food Stamped,‖ an award winning documentary
explaining the intricacies of the Food Stamp program.
     I teach a college nutrition course. In this course we cover a wide variety of
nutritional issues from macronutrients to micronutrients, calories and exercise.
This year we rolled out the newly released FDA food plate, which replaces the
food pyramid. It is very pretty, with colors depicting essential food groupings in a
healthy diet. But not everyone is privy to this colorful plate. There are those who
don‘t see the colors, just a dark plate that is often empty. They don‘t worry about
a balanced diet; they worry about how to get something on that plate. It‘s a black
and white world for the faces of hunger.
     The year 2011 has not only given us the food plate, but also a landmark
distinction when it was declared that 46 million Americans live below the poverty
level. These folks live in our communities, go to school with your children, or
might be your grandparents.
     The Jewish Council for Public Affairs has been addressing poverty issues at a
national level for several years now and this year declared that the focus would be
hunger in America. As part of a nationwide program, the Community Relations
Committee of the Jewish Federation has taken up the call with a special program
to kick off a long-term campaign. It‘s a call to action, a very Jewish thing.
Dr. Gabriel Mayer teaches life sciences at University of Phoenix.
http://heritagefl.com/2011/09/30/faces-of-hunger/




                                                                                - 45 -
The Hill -



House Democrats spend week on food stamps
By Mario Trujillo - 10/28/11 12:16 PM ET


Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) ate crackers and peanut butter for breakfast on Friday,
while Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) solicited ideas for nutritional meals under $1.50.

They and at least eight other Democratic congressmen are participating in the Food
Stamp Challenge, which requires living for a week on the average food stamp
allotment, according to the organization hosting the challenge, Fighting Poverty With
Faith (FPF).

The Food Stamp Challenge is an event to preserve the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. Earlier this
year, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) proposed a budget plan that would transfer SNAP to
the states using block grants.

Lee, who also participated in the challenge three years ago, started the challenge
Thursday with a launch at a Washington, D.C., supermarket.

Lee warned that members of Congress should not consider making cuts to the food
stamp program as part of ongoing efforts to balance the budget. Lee was one of 64
congressmen earlier this month to call on the deficit-reduction supercommittee to
preserve entitlement programs, including food stamps benefits.

“I am again taking part in this challenge because I believe that it is unconscionable to
make cuts to programs that feed America’s poor and our nation’s children during the
height of an economic crisis,” Lee said in a statement released by her office.

“Day 2 of #foodstampchallenge so I can't drink Joe's coffee,” Lee tweeted Friday
before her appearance on the MSNBC show "Morning Joe." “Had peanut butter and
crackers for breakfast.”

Schakowsky has taken to Twitter, as well, seeking suggestions for nutritious meals
                                                                                     - 46 -
under $1.50, the average limit per food stamp meal. She said she is also keeping a
diary of everything she ate and will post it at week’s end.

Her followers tweeted suggestions ranging from wholegrain pasta and chickpeas to a
peanut butter-and-banana sandwich.

Del. Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands) — who is also participating in the challenge
— said she checked grocery store prices and found the challenge would be harder
than expected.

“Ok this #foodstampchallenge is going to [be] really hard.,”
Christensen tweeted Thursday. “Checked prices in Safeway and so easy to blow the
whole week's allotment.”

According to FPF, other Democratic congressmen have taken the challenge, Including
Reps. Joe Courtney (Conn.), Keith Ellison (Minn.), Marcia Fudge (Ohio), Alcee
Hastings (Fla.), Jim Moran (Va.), Tim Ryan (Ohio) and Jackie Speier (Calif.).

Additionally, senior Obama administration adviser Valerie Jarrett spoke at a press
conference Thursday with members of Congress calling attention to the Food Stamp
Challenge.


http://thehill.com/blogs/twitter-room/other-news/190453-house-democrats-spend-
week-on-food-stamps




                                                                                  - 47 -
Congresswoman goes on food stamp budget to protest potential cuts
By Daniel Strauss - 10/31/11 03:57 PM ET

A Democratic congresswoman plans to sustain her diet on a $4.50 budget which is roughly he
amount spent per meal by a food stamp recipient.

"It is the lifeline of people who are poor," Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said Monday according to
Patch.com. "The alarming part about this is that the numbers are growing."

Speier shared some of the items she could buy on her $4.50 budget according to patch. The groceries
included loaf of bread, a bag of coffee, Campbell's chicken noodle soup, and canned sweat peas.
Speier said her treat for the week under her food stamp budget would be microwavable popcorn
packets.

"And this is my treat for the week," Speier said as she held up the popcorn box.

Speier plans to go on her foodstamp budget for five days. The California congresswoman says she's
doing it to protest potential budget cuts to the food stamp program.

"The program is in jeopardy right now," Speier said according to the site.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/190821-congresswoman-goes-on-food-stamp-
budget-to-protest-potential-cuts




                                                                                                      - 48 -
DNC chairwoman joins food stamp challenge
By Ariel Katz - 11/08/11 03:13 PM ET

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) joined at least 10 other Democratic House members on
Monday in participating in the food stamp challenge.

―Started #FoodStampChallenge today. 46m Americans subsist on
$31.50/week. Bought 1st 4 days of
food for $18. So tough!http://yfrog.com/h2ehabhj‖,
 Wasserman Schultz tweeted Monday night.

The food stamp challenge consists of living for a week on the average food stamp budget, which
Democratic congressmen are participating in to show the struggles of surviving on food stamps.

Wasserman Schultz tweeted her first meal early on Tuesday: ―Lunch:
tuna sandwich & apple w/ tap
H20. #FoodStampChallenge shows how hard
surviving on food stamps really is. We must fight
hunger in US!‖

Like previous Democratic House participants, Wasserman Schultz is 
taking suggestions from
followers on Twitter.

Wasserman Schultz has heeded some of their advice, buying generic-brand peanut butter and mac
and cheese.

Wasserman Schultz has her plate full, also juggling her role
 as chairwoman of the Democratic
Party.

http://thehill.com/blogs/twitter-room/other-news/192421-dnc-chairwoman-joins-food-stamp-
challenge#.TrmPht1yhtU.twitter




                                                                                                 - 49 -
IndyStar –



My View: A taste of hunger to raise awareness
4:22 PM, Nov. 8, 2011 |
Written by
David Sklar
Last year, in communities across the United States, more than 16 million children
experienced what the U.S. Department of Agriculture terms "food insecurity," the
reality of starting each day not knowing where their next meal will come from -- or if
it will come at all.

More than 48 million -- one in six -- of our fellow Americans struggle to put adequate
food on their table. In Indiana, one in four children is food insecure. Parents often
work more than one job just to make ends meet. Many seniors are forced to choose
between paying for food and other necessities, and lack access to adequate food
given their special nutrition needs. In a country as abundant and plentiful as ours,
this is unacceptable.

In 2010 alone, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP (formerly
food stamps) helped feed 45 million Americans and kept 3.9 million people,
including 1.7 million children, above the poverty line. With the supercommittee
tasked with making its deficit reduction proposals by Thanksgiving, there are strong
calls to cut SNAP funding.

Hunger is not a Republican or Democrat issue; it is a moral one. As people of faith,
we are called upon to hold ourselves, our communities, and our nation accountable
to the moral standards of justice and compassion that are central to our religious
traditions. In Scriptures, we hear the command to leave the corners of our field for
the poor and the stranger, and respond to the challenge that "there shall be no
needy among you" (Deuteronomy 15:4).

To answer this call, local faith and advocacy organizations are banding together with
hundreds of organizations and individuals across the country to participate in a food
stamp challenge sponsored by the national interfaith coalition "Fighting Poverty with
Faith."


                                                                                   - 50 -
The first step toward change is knowledge. Local participants of the Food Stamp
Challenge have committed to live for one week on the average food stamp allotment
of $31.50 or approximately $4.50 per day and $1.50 per meal -- to begin to
understand the challenges of hunger. While this experience cannot explore all the
complexities and realities of living with hunger, it at least provides a taste of hunger.
We hope this knowledge will create hunger for change not only by those
participating, but by those we tell our experiences to and those that are curious
enough to ask us why we are taking the challenge. We hope that this local and
national effort will fuel the political and public will to work to end hunger and poverty
in this country.

The facts are simple: Our neighbors are struggling with hunger and we have a
chance to do something about it. Not often does an opportunity for experiential
collective action pass our way. We have the capacity and, indeed, the responsibility
to act to create a country free from hunger and poverty.

Will you take the challenge?

For more information, visit www.fightingpovertywithfaith.com

Sklar is director of government affairs with the Indianapolis Jewish
Community Relations Council.

http://www.indystar.com/article/20111109/OPINION01/111090309/My-View-taste-hunger-
raise-awareness




                                                                                     - 51 -
The Jewish Daily Forward -




$31.50 a Week
Editorial
Published October 27, 2011, issue of November 04, 2011.

The last time that Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, tried to live on an
average budget of food stamps for a week, it was 2007, and the allotment was $21. He ate a great
deal of lentils, rice, onions, eggs — not such a hardship, since he‘s a vegetarian — and a bag of cereal
lasted as breakfast for the week. He could afford very little fresh fruit and vegetables, and he forgot to
buy coffee.
Gutow says he‘s not making that same mistake this year, as he joins the fourth annual campaign of
faith leaders trying to persuade Congress not to cut the program now known as the Supplemental
Nutritional Assistance Program. This year, the allotment is $31.50. And this year, he plans to buy a
small jar of instant coffee for the week.
Sure, it‘s a gimmick, and he‘s the first to admit it. After seven days, he can spend $4.50 on a cup of
coffee instead of a day‘s worth of food and drink. But that‘s the central problem with our
understanding of poverty and depravation. It is so removed from our ordinary lifestyle of abundance
and choice that it takes a gimmick like this to enter, if only for a limited period of time, the world of
the 45 million Americans who rely on food stamps, and Congress, to eat.
Hundreds of people have signed up for this latest challenge, which begins on October 27, including
members of Congress and the faith leaders from JCPA, Catholic Charities and the National Council of
Churches who argue that ―God does not expect any of us to turn our backs on others in need.‖ As
gimmicks go, this is a worthy one.
http://www.forward.com/articles/144997/




                                                                                                       - 52 -
Keeping Kosher During the Food Stamp Challenge
By Renee Ghert-Zand




                                              SARA KRANZLER



It was after Rabbi Ari Weiss bumped into and spoke with Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for
Public Affairs on Rosh Hashanah, that he decided to take the Food Stamp Challenge. This means he
would have to get by on no more than $31.50 worth of groceries (the average amount of food stamps
granted to a qualifying individual) for an entire week. That‘s just $1.50 per meal, without snacks. He
knew it wouldn‘t be easy, especially since he keeps strictly kosher.
―There were bottles of wine that cost more than $31.50 on thow he table at holiday meals I had just
attended,‖ Weiss, the director of the Orthodox social justice organization Uri L‘Tzedek, told the Jew
and the Carrot prior to beginning the challenge, which took place October 27 through November 3.
Nonetheless, Weiss was determined — despite the extra difficulty kashrut would pose — to join the
many others around the country, including many members of Congress and Jewish community
leaders, in experiencing what it is like to be one of the 45.7 million Americans who receive Food
Stamp benefits and the one in six American households living in hunger.
The Food Stamp Challenge was part of the fourth annual Fighting Poverty With Faith nationwide
mobilization co-sponsored by JCPA and two national Christian organizations. Its purpose is to enable
people to better understand what it is like to live in poverty, and to encourage them to voice

                                                                                                    - 53 -
opposition against possible pending deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program
(still referred to in the vernacular as Food Stamps).
Weiss, 32, did some research before embarking on the challenge, including a dry run grocery shopping
trip, and he determined from the start that kosher meat, kosher cheese, challah and Kiddush wine
were out of the question. ―My only protein for the week is going to be eggs, yogurt, canned tuna and
beans,‖ he said.
Used to spending about $150 a week on food, often picking up prepared items for lunch or on the way
home for dinner, Weiss had to think much more strategically about how to stay within his $31.50
budget. Instead of going to Fairway Market or Seasons Kosher Supermarket, as he usually does, he
shopped (using as many coupons as possible) at Associated Supermarket, where prices were about
20% lower.
He realized he had made a sizable mistake by buying his first two meals in an a la carte fashion,
without regard to his strategic plan. By lunchtime on Day 1, he had already spent $6 and was over his
daily budget by $1.50. ―It is clear that I need to buy and cook in bulk if I am going to make this
work,‖ he said at that point. He went that evening to do a grocery shop for the rest of the week,
consisting only of starches and proteins. ―I had a couple of bananas and an avocado as part of those
first two meals, and now I can‘t afford any more fruits or vegetables for the week,‖ Weiss added.
For the next six days, Weiss subsisted on the affordable proteins he had identified, rice, and a bean,
barley and potato cholent he made for Shabbat and ate for the following several days. Used to
drinking coffee from Starbucks and similar establishments, he decided to forgo caffeine for the week
after trying the instant coffee he bought. He ended up drinking nothing but tap water.
Alexander Rapaport of Masbia, a food kitchen network and food pantry operating in Brooklyn and
Queens, says that it is possible — though not easy — to keep kosher and live a traditionally Jewish life
on SNAP, as some of Masbia‘s clients do. ―Admittedly, kosher chicken and Cholov Yisroel (milk
produced under strict Jewish supervision) would be a real challenge,‖ he remarked. ―But if you buy
your staples at the supermarket and do all your own checking (for bugs on lettuce, for instance),
cooking and baking, it could work.‖ He did add, however, ―this could really be impossible for working
single parents who don‘t have the time to do all that.‖
The Uri L‘Tzedek director sees a direct connection between the Food Stamp Challenge and his
organization‘s Tav HaYosher program to create just workplaces in kosher restaurants. ―We need to
make sure that people are paid enough to have the resources to buy healthy food for their families,‖
he said. ―More generally, we have an obligation to create justice, make sure no one is food insecure
and make sure SNAP funding is not cut.‖
Going forward, Weiss says he will be more mindful of his good fortune and healthy diet, and hopes
that all those with whom he spoke about his experiment will be so, too. He is now committing to
volunteering at a soup kitchen and is going to continue the conversation about hunger-related policy
issues in this country. He is well aware of the fact that he can step away from the challenge, when
others cannot. ―It‘s really just an accident of birth that I have never had to deal with food insecurity,‖
he reflected.



http://blogs.forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot/145972/




                                                                                                      - 54 -
Jewish Voice & Herald -




Jewish community unites against hunger
By Brian Sullivan
Friday, 11 November 2011 00:00
Rhode Islanders participate in the Food Stamp Challenge




                                             Naomi, left, Betsy and Daniel Shimberg on a recent trip to Israel with Temple
Sinai. /Shimberg familyPROVIDENCE– ―I can‘t do this,‖ Maxine Richman said to herself when she first
heard about the Food Stamp Challenge in June. Co-chair of the Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to
Fight Poverty with Faith (Interfaith Coalition), Richman is also a member of the Alliance‘s
Community Relations Council (CRC). Months later, Rabbi Steve Gutow, chief executive officer of the
Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), invited Richman to participate in the challenge. ―No‖ she
said, though she promised to bring the challenge to Rhode Island on behalf of the Interfaith
Coalition.
During the week of Oct. 27 – Nov. 3, Food Stamp Challenge participants agreed to spend no more
than $31.50 per person – the national average food stamp weekly allotment – on food. The Food
Stamp Challenge allows individuals to experience the reality of hunger, educate others on the issue
and raise awareness about the difficulties facing recipients of Supplemental Nutritional Assistance
Program (SNAP, commonly known as food stamps).

According to Oxfam American (www.OxfamAmerica.org) there is sufficient food today for every
man, woman and child, worldwide, to lead healthy and productive lives. Yet, nearly 15 percent of the
world‘s population – 1 billion of us – suffers from food insecurity; in the United States, more than 49
million individuals, including 16.7 million children, are at risk of going hungry.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, along with Catholic Charities and the National Council of


                                                                                                          - 55 -
Churches, led the Food Stamp Challenge, as part of Fighting Poverty with Faith, the national
interfaith movement dedicated to reducing domestic poverty by 50 percent by 2020. Across the
nation, 13 members of Congress, hundreds of representatives from faith communities and
concerned citizens committed to take the Food Stamp Challenge. Locally, Rhode Island‘s Lt.
Governor Elizabeth Roberts served as the honorary chair of the initiative.

In September, as Richman began talking with colleagues about the challenge, she reconsidered her
initial ―no.‖ She said, ―I don‘t like hearing my excuses. I have a choice – food stamp recipients do
not.‖

Leading by example

Rabbi Peter Stein of Temple Sinai in Cranston spoke to his congregation about hunger and the Food
Stamp Challenge during his Yom Kippur sermon. ―It is a mistake to say that ‗they‘ are poor, and a
distinct group of Americans is hungry,‖ he said. ―These are friends, neighbors, fellow Rhode
Islanders and fellow Americans.‖

Rabbi Stein, president of the Rhode Island Board of Rabbis, said in his sermon, ―We want to do
more than just read the Torah… we want to live by it. I hope that after we sing and dance and
celebrate with the Torah scrolls on [Oct. 20], we will remember the many passages in the sacred text
that urge us to care for the poor and vulnerable in the community.‖

After the Shimberg family heard Rabbi Stein talk about the Food Stamp Challenge, Betsy Shimberg
remembers her 10-year-old son Daniel leaning into her and saying, ―I‘d do that with you.‖

―It‘s about teaching and learning,‖ said Shimberg, who chose to take the challenge with her children,
Daniel and Naomi, 12.

―Who doesn‘t enjoy breakfast food for dinner?‖ Shimberg asked, as she described a menu of yogurt
for breakfast, peanut butter on white bread for lunch and scrambled eggs for dinner. ―We just
couldn‘t use cheese – and there was no glass of wine [for me].‖

When Shimberg forgot her lunch, she spent her entire daily allotment on a sandwich. She realized
that people who face the reality of food insecurity ―might have to skip lunch entirely.‖

She added, ―There were times when we cheated, because we needed to cheat.‖ On the way to soccer
practice after school one day, she bought a bagel for Naomi. ―We are lucky enough to have the
flexibility to cheat – for us it was a six-day experiment, others aren‘t as lucky.

―It [the challenge] exceeded my expectations,‖ said Shimberg. ―We had many conversations about
how lucky we are to live in this country and have the choices we do.‖

„Mission accomplished‟

Armed with $31.50 and advice from a dietician-friend visiting from California, Richman traversed

                                                                                         - 56 -
the grocery store. Her initial plan – eliminating fruits and vegetables – reduced her to tearful
frustration, after an hour of searching for healthy food to fit the budget. ―I kept thinking of the
millions of people who have these worries everyday about food – and how lucky I am that I do not.‖

Richman drove to six stores to find food that fit her budget. ―People on SNAP have to watch
spending in every area of their lives and can‘t afford the gas to drive around [the state] looking for
bargains.‖

As the challenge came to a close, Richman wondered aloud, ―How will I ever eat the foods that I love
again without thinking of the millions of people who yearn for food they love but can‘t afford?‖
Vowing to become a more passionate advocate on the importance of maintaining SNAP when
speaking to elected officials, Richman said she will do what she can ―to be a voice for those who live
with food insecurity.‖

The Shimberg family will donate the money they saved on groceries to a charitable organization
addressing food insecurity. ―I was thinking about Mazon or the Rhode Island Community Food
Bank,‖ said Shimberg. But her children, decided to donate to Edesia, a non-profit producer of
ready-to-use foods headquartered in Providence.

After the challenge, the Shimberg children also donated a portion of their allowances to Edesia, of
their own volition. ―I would call that mission accomplished,‖ said Shimberg proudly.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (www.cbpp.org) identifies SNAP as the nation‘s most
important anti-hunger program. Three-quarters of SNAP benefits go to families with children and
nearly a third of beneficiaries are senior citizens or people with disabilities. In Rhode Island, SNAP
helps more than 167,000 people in 90,000 households afford food.

People from 37 states, Washington D.C., the Virgin Islands and American Samoa participated in the
Food Stamp Challenge. The Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Fight Poverty with Faith had the
largest number of participants, 80 in all, compared to other such groups participating.

It’s never too late to participate in the Food Stamp Challenge or make a contribution to help
support this effort and the JCPA’s Confronting Poverty campaign: Go to
www.jewishpublicaffairs.org and click on the Food Stamp Challenge icon.

Brian Sullivan is a marketing associate for the Alliance.

http://www.jvhri.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2138:jewish-community-unites-
against-hunger&catid=41:community&Itemid=62




                                                                                           - 57 -
What we learned from the Food Stamp Challenge

By Rev. Betsy Garland and Maxine Richman

Friday, 25 November 2011 15:44

Participants experience deprivation, surprises

In this season of Thanksgiving, 80 people of many faith backgrounds in Rhode
Island participated in the Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Fight Poverty with
Faith‘s ―Food Stamp Challenge.‖ We joined with more than 1,000 individuals across
the country to eat for a week on $31.50, the national average stipend for people on
the SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) federal program, better
known as food stamps. This is something that 167,000 Rhode Island residents in
90,000 households – do every week, not merely for a one-week challenge.

We were trying to determine if the stipend could sustain families struggling to put
food on their tables, and if the expense could be justified, given the financial stresses
that federal, state and local governments all experience. We brought to this exercise
a belief shared by all faith groups that we should help those in need – widows,
orphans, individuals with disabilities, senior citizens with limited resources –
 anyone unable to provide for themselves or their families, due to economic
conditions, health or other difficult circumstances.

It was a humbling and transforming experience for us. Those who were familiar with
sources of good nourishment and had the time and experience to cook from scratch
found the challenge less difficult. Others were less able to put together satisfying,
varied and healthy meals.

One surprise we all faced was discovering food to be foundational. It impacted all
areas of our lives and our choices. We couldn‘t eat what we wanted, when we wanted
and with whom we wanted. We spent more time shopping and preparing and had
less time for everything else. We realized how much time was devoted to our work.
Long hours and multiple jobs conspired to make eating well and cheaply almost
impossible. As we made food choices, we were increasingly reminded that we were
placed in a position where either/or choices might have to be made, too. So it wasn‘t
just a matter of whether we could we eat at this level, but rather, could we eat, heat
our homes, purchase our medications and cover the rent at the same time?

A homeless person recently said to a group of us, ―My house burned down. We had
nothing. We ended up on the streets. It could happen to you, too.‖
                                                                                     - 58 -
Others have lost their jobs or have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan to a jobless
economy. Family disasters happen every day. These folks need a helping hand. And,
it isn‘t about them. It‘s about us – and our willingness to care for our neighbors.

We learned that no one wants to be dependent on SNAP. It is not a source of luxury,
but rather a source of short-term survival. It is essential to the lives of tens of
thousands in Rhode Island and millions across this country. We urge Congress to
start thinking before cutting; to understand the impact on families, on children, on
the elderly; to experience the daily and weekly realities that others are facing. We
urge you, the taxpayers, to take a stand. In Rhode Island, call or write Senators Jack
Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and your representative – Rep. James Langevin or
Rep. David N. Cicilline. As we enter this week of Thanksgiving, urge them to sustain
all food and other safety net programs for our most vulnerable residents.

Rev. Betsy Aldrich Garland of Warwick and Maxine Richman of Barrington were
co-chairs of the statewide initiative.

http://www.jvhri.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2204:what-we-learned-from-
the-food-stamp-challenge&catid=72:guest-columnists&Itemid=75




                                                                                         - 59 -
Milwaukee- Wisconsin Journal Sentinel –




Could you eat on food stamps?

Oct. 25, 2011 |
Would you get enough to eat if you could spend only $1.50 per
meal - including beverages?
That's the average food stamp allotment, and the Hunger Task
Force of Milwaukee is asking area residents to give it a try for a
week, starting Thursday, through the Food Stamp Challenge.
At this time, one in three Milwaukee residents lives in poverty,
and one in two children goes to bed hungry, according to the
task force.
One in five Wisconsin families with children struggles to provide
enough food for their families.
Taking the challenge, even for a day or two, cannot put one
directly in the shoes of these fellow citizens, but organizers
hope it will provide a new perspective and greater
understanding of hunger and poverty.
Participants are encouraged to share their experiences during
the week in an effort to educate others about the challenges of
such a restricted budget, as well as difficulties that were not
anticipated. Stories will be posted at hungertaskforce.org.
The Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, the Milwaukee
Jewish Federation and Tikkun Ha-Ir, an urban Jewish
organization, are partnering with the task force for the food
stamp challenge.
The $1.50 per meal restriction calculates to $4.50 a day or
$31.50 a week.
                                                                 - 60 -
The figures do not include food already in the participant's
possession.
Interested parties can sign up and find more details at
hungertaskforce.orgor call (414) 777-0483 for more
information.

http://www.jsonline.com/features/food/could-you-eat-on-food-stamps-132509038.html




                                                                                    - 61 -
Jewish News of Greater Phoenix -




October 28, 2011/Tishrei 30 5772, Volume 64, No. 5

OPINION - Editorial

End class war now
"We need a tax code that unleashes growth instead of preventing it; that promotes fairness, not class
warfare," said Texas Gov. Rick Perry, on the stump Oct. 25 in Gray Court, S.C., as he bids for the GOP
presidential nomination.

He was proposing a flat income tax rate of 20 percent and a provision to opt out and use current tax rates for
those who might pay more under the flat tax.

We'll leave the economic arguments about taxes aside for now and focus instead on the rhetorical use of
"class warfare."

Why is it "class warfare" to increase taxes on the rich, but not "class warfare" to change the tax code to force
cuts in programs that give a hand up to those who are poor or otherwise disadvantaged? Perry's tax
proposal, if it were implemented, would cut federal government revenue and by extension force cuts in
government spending.

We all want government to spend wisely and within its means, but some of us agree with this statement by
Elizabeth Warren, who is running for one of Massachusetts' U.S. Senate seats: "There is nobody in this
country who got rich on his own. Nobody."

In other words, no one is an island. Those who took the risk to build factories, she points out, "moved your
goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for." She added a litany of tax-paid services - police and
firefighters, public schools and universities - that provide the support structure for the economy. Those who
provide the structure and those who benefit from the structure have a mutual social contract that needs to
be respected.

People who are struggling in this economy don't have time to wait for jobs to be created as a concomitant
benefit of changing the tax code. They can't find jobs now, they're being forced out of their homes now, and
the anti-tax rhetoric that characterizes social service programs as "the nanny state" serves only to make the
situation worse.

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs notes that Congress is considering cutting the budget for the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the program formerly known as food stamps. The
JCPA says the average weekly SNAP allotment is $31.50 per person. JCPA - along with Catholic Charities
USA, and the National Council of Churches - is sponsoring Fighting Poverty with Faith, an alliance of more


                                                                                                                   - 62 -
than 50 faith organizations, that is taking part in the challenge to try to live on $31.50, or $4.50 of groceries
per day.

As Rabbi Steve Gutow, head of JCPA, says: "Understanding the challenges of feeding yourself - let alone
providing healthy meals for kids, who make up over half of SNAP recipients - on just $31.50 for one week
will help others know just how valuable SNAP is. America is an abundant nation, but that abundance is not
seen in the carts of the tens of millions who live on SNAP."

http://www.jewishaz.com/issues/printstory.mv?111028+edit




                                                                                                                    - 63 -
Journal and Courier –




Guest column: Food insecurity a growing problem
4:41 PM, Oct. 28, 2011
Written by
PATTI O'CALLAGHAN
For the Journal & Courier

I have signed up to take the Food Stamp Challenge. The challenge is to live for one week on
the average food stamp allotment of $31.50, or just $1.50 per meal. What would make me do
such a crazy thing?

I'm doing it because the poverty numbers reported by the U.S. Census Bureau and the
American Community Survey in the past two months are staggering. Real median
household income in the United States declined. The national poverty rate increased to
15.1 percent -- that's 46.2 million people, seven times the population of the state of
Indiana. And 16.2 percent of Hoosiers live in poverty.

The statistics about hunger are just as stark. According to the USDA, 48.8 million
Americans lived in food insecure households last year, 16.2 million of them children.
And from Feeding America's study "Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011,"
we've learned that 24.5 percent of children in Indiana, the breadbasket of the nation, are
struggling with hunger -- nearly one in four Hoosier children or 388,640 kids!

We know that safety net programs give needy families a leg up when they fall on hard
times. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food
Stamps, lifted 3.9 million people out of poverty last year. It helped nearly 45 million low-
income people purchase food for themselves and their families. The program is
designed as a safety net to help ensure people have access to food during difficult
times.

Yet as Congress looks for cuts in the budget, many of the most critical programs for
struggling families are at risk. Perhaps, if some of us who do not have to depend on
SNAP experience what it is like for those who do, we can more effectively advocate for
these programs.




                                                                                         - 64 -
Food insecurity threatens health, education and workforce readiness. According to the
Center for American Progress, hunger costs our nation at least $167.5 billion annually
due to lost economic productivity each year, avoidable health care costs, and the cost of
charity to keep families fed. Programs such as SNAP not only help those in need, they
are fiscally responsible by cutting the cost of hunger.

To learn more about the Food Stamp Challenge and sign up, visit the Fighting Poverty
with Faith website, http://fightingpovertywithfaith.com. Lafayette Urban Ministry and
Food Finders Food Bank also are hosting a screening of the documentary "Food
Stamped," which follows a couple completing the challenge. It will be run at 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday at Trinity United Methodist Church.

O'Callaghan is director of social justice at Lafayette Urban Ministry.

http://www.jconline.com/article/20111031/OPINION03/110310304/Guest-column-Food-insecurity-
growing-problem?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Opinions




                                                                                         - 65 -
JWeekly -




Thursday, November 10, 2011

Participants get a taste of hunger at interfaith „banquet‟
by alix wall, correspondent

Rabbi Allen Bennett sat on the floor eating a peanut butter sandwich on white bread, watching his
more fortunate lunch companions at a nearby table enjoying chicken, mashed potatoes, salad and
sparkling cider.

The study in contrasts, part of ―Hunger Banquet: Interfaith Call to Action‖ in downtown Oakland, was
a chance for people to experience firsthand how income inequality affects food choices.

The Nov. 6 event drove the point home by assigning composite identities to participants as they
walked through the door of the First Unitarian Church, dividing them into three groups representing
income levels in the Bay Area: low income (23 percent), middle income (50 percent) and high income
(27 percent).




Oakland City Council member Rebecca Kaplan sounds the shofar. photo/christina spach

Bennett, of Temple Israel in Alameda, spent the afternoon as a Marin County farmer named Peter. He
started in the middle-income group, whose members ate buffet-style spaghetti with tomato sauce and
drank soda. But he suddenly dropped into the low-income group after the farm had a bad season and
Peter‘s son damaged the family tractor.




                                                                                                - 66 -
Bennett said he could imagine Peter‘s plight. ―People often encounter circumstances they couldn‘t
have anticipated, and fall victim to circumstances beyond their control,‖ he said.

The banquet was co-sponsored by local Jewish Community Relations Councils, numerous East Bay
synagogues, Catholic Charities of the East Bay and the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California.

Oakland City Council member Rebecca Kaplan described her city as the place ―where every social
justice movement begins‖ and won over the interfaith crowd of 80 with her remarks, delivering quotes
from Isaiah and ―a brilliant Jewish community organizer from Nazareth.‖

―We‘re not in the lean years now, we‘re in the fat years,‖ she said. ―More food is produced every year
than we need; it‘s just not sent to where it‘s needed.‖

Kaplan, who grew up attending Orthodox Jewish day schools in Toronto, said she had been sounding
the shofar since she was 5 and proceeded to do so, characterizing it as ―a 5,000-year-old call to
solidarity.‖




Rabbi Allen Bennett of Temple Israel in Alameda makes a peanut butter sandwich as a member of the low-income group.
photo/alix wall

Anne Quaintance, a JCRC lay leader and a senior director at Meals on Wheels in San Francisco, noted
that in the Bay Area 23 percent — more than 440,000 households — are ―under self-sufficiency‖ and
at risk for hunger, and 12.4 percent fall below the federal poverty level. Also, more than 500,000 Bay
Area children are at risk for hunger.

―Low-income people often have to decide between paying rent and utilities and eating healthy food,‖
said Quaintance, adding that many make meals out of ―empty calories,‖ such as soda and chips.


                                                                                                               - 67 -
―Many Americans, though not technically below the federal poverty line, are one missed paycheck or
serious illness away from hunger,‖ she said. ―This event is a metaphor for how wealth is unequally
distributed.‖

The banquet model, designed by Oxfam America, is used throughout the country. The local event was
part of a national effort by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Catholic Charities USA and the
National Council of Churches, which together created the initiative ―Fighting Poverty with Faith.‖

Seeking to cut domestic poverty in half by 2020, the coalition ―works to focus attention on the root
causes of poverty,‖ said Myrna David, regional director of the JCRC East Bay, before the banquet.
―This year‘s theme is working together to end hunger.‖

At the end of the banquet, attendees were given suggestions for how to get involved. One was
advocating for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps (click
on the ―take action‖ tab at http://www.fightingpovertywithfaith.com). Another was to volunteer at the
Alameda County Community Food Bank or City Slicker Farms, which grows healthy food in West
Oakland.

Joani Blank, a Jewish member of the First Unitarian Church of Oakland who called herself a
―Jewnitarian,‖ began the day in the low-income group, but because of the federal supplemental
program Women, Infants, and Children, she was elevated to enjoy the spaghetti lunch.

―I thought it was a powerful exercise,‖ she said. ―Very well-presented.‖

http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/63412/participants-get-a-taste-of-hunger-at-interfaith-banquet/




                                                                                                  - 68 -
The Monitor –




Weapon of Faith
Interfaith groups join together to fight poverty in New Jersey




                 Catholic Perspective – At the podium, Deacon Patrick Brannigan, executive director of
                 the New Jersey Catholic Conference, pledges the Catholic community‘s support toward
                 the ―Fighting Poverty with Faith‖ campaign. Joe Moore photos




                                                                                                    - 69 -
By Mary Stadnyk |
News Editor

Prominent New Jersey
religious leaders are
calling upon their
congregations to use
their most powerful
weapon to combat
hunger and poverty
throughout their state
– the weapon of faith.

During an interfaith
forum held Nov. 30 in
the New Jersey State
House Annex,
representatives from
                             Common Cause – Jacob Toporek, executive director, NJ State Association of Jewish
Catholic, Protestant,
                             Federations, welcomes the gathering to the ―Fighting Poverty with Faith‖ forum held Nov.
Jewish, Muslim and           30 in the NJ State House Annex, Trenton.
Hindu faith traditions
announced that they
have joined forces in addressing the widespread domestic poverty that exists in New Jersey by
participating in the ―Fighting Poverty with Faith‖ campaign.

―Fighting Poverty with Faith‖ was launched in September, 2008, and is a nationwide effort co-sponsored
by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Catholic Charities USA and the National Council of Churches.
―Fighting Poverty with Faith‖ is endorsed by more than 50 national faith-based organizations and focuses
attention on the causes of poverty, highlights strategies to reduce poverty and aggressively seeks new
economic opportunities for the nation’s most vulnerable. ―Fighting Poverty with Faith‖ encourages local
communities to plan community-wide, preferably interfaith, events and actions that will both educate the
community and elected officials about the issues of hunger and advocate for the protection of
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps) from funding cuts and
structural changes.

Many Faiths, One Spirit

In keeping with the spirit of the interfaith gathering, the Nov. 30 Trenton forum opened with a prayer led
by the Rev. Darrell L. Armstrong, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church, Trenton, and closed with a prayer
offered by Father Thomas Mullelly, diocesan vicar for clergy personnel and consecrated life. Father
Mullelly represented Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., who was in Rome for an ad limina visit.

The focus of the forum addressed the growing problem of hunger in New Jersey, in which statistics
reported that in 2009, more than 799,000 New Jersey residents had incomes lower than the official
poverty rate.

Testimonies on the issues of hunger were also presented by the religious leaders from the NJ State
Association of Jewish Federations, New Jersey Catholic Conference and Lutheran Office of
Governmental Ministry NJ who pledged the support of their respective faith communities toward the
campaign.

Representing the Catholic contingent was Deacon Patrick Brannigan, executive director of the NJCC,

                                                                                                                  - 70 -
along with staff members from Trenton diocesan agencies, Catholic Charities and Mount Carmel Guild,
an inner-city Trenton ministry that provides services to people in need through its Emergency Assistance
and Home Health Nursing programs. Catholic Charities from the Metuchen Diocese is also participating in
the Fighting Poverty with Faith campaign.

In his opening remarks, Deacon Brannigan made reference to the New Jersey bishops’ Statement on
Poverty which was introduced Nov. 21 and signed by the 15 bishops representing the state’s five
arch/dioceses and two eparchies.

Quoting from the statement, Deacon Brannigan said: ―As people of faith, we cannot ignore those in need
whether they be children who go to bed hungry, parents who are jobless, families who are homeless, the
sick who suffer without medical care or the elderly who live in infested or unsafe housing.‖

―As people of faith, we must come together to take action to help our neighbors in need. We have no
excuse; we cannot fail to act on behalf of the poor – even during the current difficult economic times. We
all have an obligation to assist the poor – let us not be wanting in that obligation,‖ said Deacon Brannigan.

Dr. M. Ali Chaudry, president of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, read several verses from the
Qur’an that emphasized the call to feed the hungry, and show compassion for the neighbor and less
fortunate.

―While feeding the hungry and giving charity to the indigent is a religious duty to every Muslim, one needs
to go beyond the handouts if we are to alleviate or end poverty,‖ said Dr. Chaudry. ―The economic
principles underlying Islamic teachings emphasize that each and every person should have an
opportunity to earn a living in an open and equitable society in which wealth is not concentrated in a few
hands and that the means of production is accessible to all.‖

Daunting Challenge

Adele LaTourette, director of the NJ Anti-Hunger Coalition, referred to the nearly 800,000 New Jersey
residents who currently live in poverty and have to rely on SNAP to purchase nutritious food to help feed
their families.

She noted that SNAP provides $1.43 per person/per day/per meal, and that the number of folks relying on
SNAP in the state doubled in the last four years. Between 2009 and 2011, there was an increase of
92,113 people in need of SNAP.

―People who rely on SNAP to eat do so in order that they don’t have to choose between paying a rent or
mortgage or a medical bill or a utility bill,‖ said LaTourette. ―These people are threatened with losing some
of this very small benefit amount on which they rely and which they so desperately need.‖

LaTourette noted that while there are multiple debates under discussion in Washington with regard to
government-funded assistance for the poor, the question of how SNAP will be impacted remains unclear.

―We are in the midst of one of the worst economic periods of our time,‖ LaTourette said, and although
―participation in the (SNAP) program is growing by leaps and bounds, some of our nation’s leaders are
willing to cut that $1.43 benefit that more and more of their constituents have to rely on.‖

Emphasizing the importance of the ―Fighting Poverty with Faith‖ initiative, LaTourette pointed out that
while various agencies like soup kitchens and food banks are diligent about helping to feed people who
struggle, whether it’s on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, these agencies do not have the means for
being the only source where people can seek assistance.



                                                                                                       - 71 -
As a result, she said, the burden of assisting people in need becomes one that needs to be carried ―as a
society‖ – a partnership between people of faith, members of the not-for-profit community, public industry
and state and local governments.

Speaking from Experience

Traci Hendricks, volunteer coordinator of the Community FoodBank of NJ, shared her compelling story of
―food insecurity,‖ which refers to the availability of food and one’s access to it. Hendricks told of when she
had to rely on welfare assistance and food stamps during the six years she was not able to work because
she had to stay at home to care for her two young sons. Once the boys were of school age, she was able
to obtain full-time employment.

―Welfare served its purpose…it was my safety net,‖ she said, ―and for that I’m very grateful.‖

The Rev. Lisanne Finston gave a presentation on the work of Elijah’s Promise, a New Brunswick-based
agency that operates under the premise that alleviating food insecurity requires more than just offering
meals. Besides providing nutritious meals, Elijah’s Promise, where Finston serves as executive director,
collaborates with other agencies to offer clients additional services including social services, health
screenings, as well as training in culinary arts and catering skills. Finston has expanded the soup kitchen
into a café and catering business that feeds hundreds of families each day with healthy, locally grown fare
and she has also launched a culinary school that has trained hundreds in cooking and catering skills.

Elijah’s Promise focuses not just on hunger, but the whole person, she said.

At its founding, Elijah’s Promise was based in St. John Parish, New Brunswick, and is a ministry that
continues to receive a great deal of support from Catholic parishes in the Metuchen Diocese.

Deacon Brannigan cited a number of steps that he anticipates that the New Jersey Fighting for Poverty
with Faith representatives will take to address hunger issues: sharing information among the groups
concerning what is happening at all levels – federal, state, local and non-profit and encouraging
participation in a ―Fighting Poverty with Faith‖ postcard campaign, which was created by Catholic
Charities of the Trenton Diocese and encourages all people to contact their elected officials voicing
concerns regarding funding for critical food programs. The postcard campaign specifically urges
government officials to reject all proposals for cuts and/or caps to all proposals for cuts and/or caps to the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, The Emergency Food Assistance Program, Commodity
Supplemental Food Program and other federally funded nutrition programs. The campaign also calls for
the reauthorization of the Farm Bill in 2012 as an opportunity to strengthen SNAP by increasing benefits
that are in line with the real cost of food. The minimum amount of benefits should be increased to $25.

A final step that Deacon Brannigan noted was providing educational outreach to faith communities that
urge ―everyone to join in the effort to reduce poverty by 50 percent.‖

―We must not balance the federal budget by cuts to food and other programs that are the key safety net
for the poor,‖ said Deacon Brannigan.


http://www.trentonmonitor.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubsectionID=22&ArticleID=2879




                                                                                                         - 72 -
New Jersey Jewish News –




Caucus to protect anti-poverty efforts
   Federations spearhead defense of food stamps, school lunch
   programs
Share




                                                 + enlarge image

M. Ali Chaudry, president of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, and Rabbi Amy Small, religious
leader of Congregation Beth Hatikvah in Summit, listen to speakers at the Nov. 30 anti-hunger
conference. Photos by Robert Wiener
by Robert Wiener
NJJN Staff Writer
December 7, 2011
The New Jersey State Association of Jewish Federations is spearheading a multi-faith drive
to fight poverty and hunger.

Joining forces with Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, and Hindu clergy, the association launched
a campaign on Nov. 30 to derail looming state and federal budget cuts to food programs.

Organizers said a main goal was to protect and strengthen the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP). Advocates are worried that Congress will cut the federal budget
for ―food stamps,‖ demand for which had doubled in New Jersey in the past four years.

The campaign will intensify interfaith lobbying efforts against budget cuts to food stamps
and other programs that feed the needy.




                                                                                                    - 73 -
Jacob Toporek, executive director of the State Association, welcomed some 100 clergy and
anti-poverty workers to the two-hour forum at the State House Annex in Trenton.

―Fighting poverty is an effort of the national Jewish community, so it is a natural for us,‖
Toporek told NJ Jewish News after the meeting. ―We want people in our Jewish communities
to be advocates, as they are for Israel, for some of the anti-poverty programs and the food
and hunger programs. They are always in danger.‖

Among the speakers was Rabbi Amy Small of Congregation Beth Hatikvah in Summit.

―The growing divide between the rich and the poor in America — those who have so much
and those who go to bed hungry — is a moral crisis,‖ she said. ―It is a moral failing of our
society…. We share a responsibility to help the needy and help them rise above poverty.‖

Following the meeting, Small urged for better implementation of school breakfast programs.
The Washington-based Food Research and Action Center recently reported that despite
federal funding already in place, New Jersey schools provide free breakfasts for only 37.6
percent of eligible low-income children.

―It‘s time for the 99 percent to have their say,‖ said Small, invoking the slogan of the
Occupy Wall Street movement.

‘Beyond outraged’
Melanie Gorelick, director of the Community Relations Committee of MetroWest and Central
NJ, said the CRC is working to prevent further federal cuts to two local Jewish agencies. She
fears grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provided $15,000
apiece to JCC MetroWest and Jewish Family Service of MetroWest for food and shelter
programs, might be trimmed in 2012.

The CRC is ―working closely with a variety of interfaith groups through the State
Association, our rabbis, and our own contacts with many organizations such as Goodwill,
Catholic Charities, and United Way‖ to prevent such cuts, said Gorelick.

Other religious leaders said ―amen‖ to such efforts.

―We cannot ignore the homeless, the sick, and, most of all, the children who go to bed each
night hungry,‖ said Deacon Patrick Brannigan, executive director of the New Jersey Catholic
Conference.

M. Ali Chaudry, president of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, said Muslims ―have the
same concept as tzedaka in Judaism. In Islam we are told to establish a just and fair
society…. Everyone should have the opportunity to make a contribution to society and to
raise their own family….

―What gets in the way of that is the unequal distribution of wealth and, more importantly,
unequal access to means of production.‖




                                                                                           - 74 -
Representing the Christie administration was Community Affairs commissioner Lori Grifa.
The administration, she said, ―is committed to caring for the needs of our most vulnerable
citizens.‖

She said the governor is trying to protect a $6.8 million food purchase program and another
that will provide $1.3 million for the state‘s food banks, working when possible to provide
the needy with fresh foods.

A fiery Adele LaTourette, director of the NJ Anti-Hunger Coalition, was highly critical of
government efforts.

―We are doing terribly in school breakfast programs,‖ she said, adding, ―What is appalling to
me, and I would love it if it was appalling to you, is that right now in Washington there are
people actually discussing taking away some of these benefits.

―We should be beyond outraged.‖

http://www.njjewishnews.com/article/statewide/caucus-to-protect-anti-poverty-efforts#.TuZ8q7LTqKs




                                                                                             - 75 -
New Jersey Star Ledger –




N.J. faith community urges leaders to stand against poverty
Published: Monday, December 12, 2011, 8:00 AM


        By Star-Ledger Guest Columnist


ShareEmailPrint




                                                                  Phil Lanoue/For The Star-LedgerStudents
at the 18th Avenue school in Newark eat school breakfast in this Star-Ledger file photo.


By Sara Lilja, Amy Joy Small, Patrick Brannigan, Ved Chaudhary and M. Ali
Chaudry
‗Fighting Poverty with Faith‖ is a multifaith movement with a singular goal: to
reduce poverty in the United States by 50 percent before 2020. The movement
focuses attention on the root causes of poverty, the impact of poverty on society
and the initiatives that will lift people out of it.


Poverty is experienced daily by more than 46 million Americans. Yet, this startling
statistic does not account for all of the people who, despite incomes above the
poverty level, struggle each day to make ends meet, including providing sustenance
for their families.




                                                                                                    - 76 -
On behalf of people of faith in New Jersey, we pledge to work together with the
community and elected officials to reduce poverty and hunger. We will be the voice
against social conditions that lead to widespread poverty, and call for clear and
compassionate solutions.


“(We) speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who
are destitute ... (and) the rights of the needy.”
— Proverbs 31:8-9


The holidays are special times of the year when our hearts open up to those who
are less fortunate. We donate food, volunteer in soup kitchens and ―adopt‖ families
in need. Our charity assists the poor and, at the same time, gratifies the giver.
In this time of economic turmoil and long-term unemployment, people living in
poverty need more than charity — they need justice. They need programs and
policies that will ―grow‖ them out of poverty, giving them security and hope.


“If there is a poor person among you, one of your brothers within any of your gates
in the land the Lord your God is giving you, you must not be hardhearted or
tightfisted toward your poor brother. Instead, you are to open your hand to him
and freely loan him enough for whatever need he has.”
— Deuteronomy 14:4-5, 7-8


In order to make poverty our No. 1 social and legislative priority, we call upon
elected officials and community leaders to address the need, to take immediate
action on a number of programs to address hunger insecurity in the state.
The School Breakfast Program provides free and reduced-price breakfasts for school
children in need and is administered in schools that have 20 percent or more
eligible students. In 2010, only 28 percent of all eligible state students participated
in the program; 265,000 of these children were not served. The state‘s Education
and Agriculture departments should promote the program’s availability
through initiatives such as Grab-N-Go Breakfast, Second Chance Breakfast
and Breakfast in the Classroom.




                                                                                    - 77 -
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps, is
the first line of defense against hunger. Funded through the Farm Bill, SNAP is
the target of proposed cuts to the federal budget. Although New Jersey has taken
steps to expand eligibility for SNAP and streamline the application process, only
about 60 percent of those eligible for the assistance actually participate in the
program.


New Jersey must publicize SNAP to maximize program utilization for the wider
purchase of basic food staples. Increasing eligibility to 200 percent of the federal
poverty level will ensure that struggling families and seniors get desperately needed
food assistance.


The federal Farm Bill funds various grants to states for food and nutrition programs.
We urge Congress not only to preserve but to increase allocations for programs
such as SNAP, Emergency Food Assistance Program, Commodities Supplemental
Food Program, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and
Children, and the National School Lunch Program.


True moral leadership is needed at this time — nationally and in the state — to
assure that the most vulnerable among us are not crushed in the name of fiscal
restraint.


The faith community, standing united with those in poverty, urges strongly that we
not become tightfisted and hardhearted, but generous and compassionate to help
provide basic needs of the less fortunate.


The Rev. Sara Lilja is director of the Lutheran Office of Governmental Ministry in
New Jersey, Hamilton Square; Rabbi Amy Joy Small is spiritual leader of
Congregation Beth Hatikvah in Summit; Deacon Patrick Brannigan is executive
director of the N.J. Catholic Conference in Trenton; Ved Chaudhary is founder of the
Hindu American Sheva Charities in Livingston; and M. Ali Chaudry is president of
the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge.

http://blog.nj.com/njv_guest_blog/2011/12/nj_faith_community_urges_leade.html


                                                                                    - 78 -
New York Jewish Week –




Take The Food Stamp Challenge
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Could you get by on $4.50 a day for food?

While participants in Occupy Wall Street garner headlines in drawing attention
to the imbalance of financial power in the U.S., a growing number of
prominent Americans are taking the Food Stamp Challenge this month, a low-
key but meaningful effort to draw attention to hunger in this country. They
have agreed to spend a week on the average food stamp allotment of $31.50
per person, which comes out to $1.50 a meal.

Among the participants are members of Congress, clergy and civic leaders,
but everyone is invited to step up and experience what it is like to live on such
a limited budget to provide for basic needs as we approach the holiday of
Thanksgiving.

The Challenge is being sponsored by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs
(JCPA) as part of a national interfaith coalition of anti-poverty advocates
seeking to cut domestic poverty in half by 2020 — at a time when Congress is
proposing to reduce funding for food stamps by $127 billion over the next 10
years.

Rabbi Steve Gutow, executive director of JCPA, notes that Jewish tradition is
as the forefront of the moral imperative to provide for those most in need.

He cites the Prophet Isaiah, who said, ―If you offer your compassion to the
hungry and satisfy the famished creature, then shall your light shine in
darkness.‖

The JCPA is a leader in the Jewish community nationally in calling for public
policies and programs dealing with poverty. The group has joined with other
faith-based groups in raising funds, and consciousness, to deal with helping


                                                                              - 79 -
the most vulnerable members of our society at a time when federal food
programs are facing deep cuts and possible budgetary restructuring.

In addition to asking people to experience firsthand how hunger impacts the
lives of so many Americans, the Food Stamp Challenge is seeking volunteers
to contribute and/or raise funds to make the fight against poverty a priority in
government and within the organized Jewish community.

We encourage our readers to learn more about the program by visiting the
JCPA’s website and learning how to fulfill the prophet’s call to shine light in
the darkness.

http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial_opinion/editorial/take_food_stamp_challenge




                                                                                     - 80 -
The New York Times -




Representative Jackie Speier took part in a challenge to follow the grocery budget of food stamp recipients, $4.50 a day.

November 3, 2011
Interest Groups Try to Catch Debt Committee‟s Ear
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
WASHINGTON — Facing billions of dollars in possible cuts, advocates for the
poor are resorting to some creative tactics to grab the attention of Congress:
Getting lawmakers to try eating on $4.50 a day, just as some 46 million food-
stamp recipients already do.

From Miami to Milwaukee, lawmakers and rank-and-file supporters have taken
up the ―food stamp challenge‖ to draw attention to the program‘s meager
benefits as budget cuts loom. Representative Jackie Speier, a California
Democrat, had a scoop of tuna and a few lettuce leaves for lunch Thursday after
scouring a Safeway grocery in her home district for $13.27 in bargains earlier in
the week.

The lean diet ―adds a human dimension to hunger and underscores for members
the real risks,‖ said Ellen Vollinger, a lobbyist for the Food Research Action
Council, a Washington advocacy group working with religious organizations to
fight cuts in nutrition programs.
                                                                                                                       - 81 -
As the special bipartisan debt reduction committee begins its final weeks of
deliberations, hundreds of outside interest groups are turning to a wide variety
of lobbying tactics — from old staples like letter-writing campaigns and
billboards to newer ones like the food stamp campaign — to ward off deep cuts.

Health care providers, worried about Medicaid cuts and other programs, have
taken out big ads around Washington to make their case. Lobbyists for defense
contractors have been meeting with Congressional staff members to warn of the
threat to national security if weapons programs are slashed. Some farmers are
anxious to avoid cuts in crop subsidies. And cities and counties warn of rising
crime rates if federal financing for police, fire services and the like are curtailed.

While lobbying is an everyday occurrence in Washington, the debt committee‘s
work has drawn extraordinary scrutiny from outside groups because of the
scope, speed and power of its work, making it a veritable full employment act
for federal lobbyists. By Thanksgiving week, the committee must come up with
at least $1.2 trillion in debt cuts across virtually all federal programs, and if it
reaches a plan, the House and Senate must take it up on a simple up-or-down
vote.

Moreover, the committee has been operating in unusual secrecy, cloistering
itself for the most part. Smaller groups worry that their special interests may get
short shrift in the rush to slash huge amounts of spending, while even a number
of well-heeled corporate lobbyists complain that they have had difficulty getting
any real time with the 12 committee members.

As a result, it is difficult to tell if the outside lobbying will have much of an
impact.

―The face-to-face time has really been pretty minimal and more by
happenstance,‖ said H. Stewart Van Scoyoc, who leads one of Washington‘s
largest lobbying shops. ―They‘re pretty well locked down and not taking a lot of
meetings.

―Everybody‘s sending letters. It does a little bit of good,‖ he said, ―but I don‘t
think the members of the committee are spending a lot of time reading letters.‖



                                                                                    - 82 -
Then, of course, there is the most lucrative of Washington lobbying traditions:
the fund-raiser meet-and-greet, where lobbyists and executives shell out a few
thousand dollars for a steak dinner at the restaurant Charlie Palmer or another
watering hole near Capitol Hill in the hopes of buttonholing lawmakers.

But even that tradition seems to have fallen off a bit.

The committee‘s members drew criticism from some outside ethics groups for
continuing to take part in political fund-raisers after they were named to the
high-profile spots in August.

New numbers released in October suggest that some members have heeded the
criticism by slowing their fund-raising. But at least two of the six House
members on the panel saw sharp upticks in the last three months: Representative
Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who is co-chairman of the committee,
took in more than $471,000, while Representative Chris Van Hollen, a
Maryland Democrat, raised more than $153,000, according to an analysis by the
Sunlight Foundation, a Washington research group. Much of the money came
from donors in financial services and other industries that have a direct stake in
the committee‘s work.

Possible changes in the nation‘s health care payment system have emerged as a
dominant issue before the committee. Indeed, with more than 400 outside
groups and companies registered to lobby the panel, nearly 30 percent of the
organizations — 118 in all — work in health care. The issue is also visible in
the Union Station subway stop, a few blocks from the Capitol. It is dotted with
large ads for the American Health Care Association, which represents nursing
homes.

The ads, built around the theme ―Care Not Cuts,‖ are part of a $4 million
campaign that the association has begun in Washington and in committee
members‘ home states to warn against cutbacks in medical reimbursements.

At Holland & Knight, a major Washington law firm, Rich Gold, the leader of
the lobbying practice, has about a dozen lobbyists working on the panel‘s issues
and putting out sometimes hourly alerts to about 50 clients with a stake in the
outcome.

                                                                              - 83 -
While his lobbyists have let committee staff members know about the impact of
possible changes, like the risks of rushing a new corporate tax structure into
place, he said the information has flowed largely in one direction. ―They know
our clients‘ positions, but we‘re not getting any view of where they‘re heading,‖
he said.

As Representative Speier prepared to eat her tuna and lettuce Thursday on her
food stamps budget, she said she hoped that the committee members got the
message one way or the other.

―It‘d be nice if members of the committee tried to eat for $4.50 a day,‖ she said.

―We can‘t take the most vulnerable in our population and stick the cuts to
them,‖ she said. ―We members of Congress live in a bubble. We get fed all the
time around here, so eating like this for me has been a real eye-opener.‖
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/us/interest-groups-seek-to-catch-debt-committees-
ear.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=Eric%20Lichtblau&st=cse




                                                                                      - 84 -
Orlando Sentinel –




Prominent politicians dine on $4.50 a day
South Florida members of Congress take food stamp challenge




U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz D-Weston (left) and U.S. Rep Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton (right)
By Anthony Man, Sun Sentinel
6:10 p.m. EST, November 13, 2011

They make a comfortable $174,000 a year. But in recent days, each spent just $4.50 a day on food
— and found out it wasn't too easy.

Lunch one day last week for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz D-Weston, was a tuna
sandwich, an apple and tap water.

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch D-Boca Raton, took the challenge two weeks ago. "I bought a cup of coffee
at a meeting one morning, which left me enough to have ramen noodles at lunch. And just enough
money for macaroni and cheese for dinner."

Another day, his daughter's school had a blood drive. "I was thrilled that I could have a free
doughnut just by giving blood."

There's a political point, of course. Wasserman Schultz and Deutch were among the 13 members of
Congress – out of 435 – who took the "food stamp challenge aimed at showing what it's like to live
on what the government program provides people who need food assistance.

"It just makes you realize how difficult it is for so many people in our society," Deutch said. "I knew

                                                                                                    - 85 -
that I was only going to do this for a few days, so it was easy to look forward to the end of this, but
for people who are hungry, there is no immediate end."

Not everyone thinks the idea was so great. "Obviously, no one wants people to starve.
But Democrats often use people's compassion to promote unhealthy programs that 1) aren't
effective, 2) waste hard-earned money and 3) expand government," complained a contributor at the
conservative website Townhall.com.

And members of Congress face challenges that most food stamp recipients don't.

Wasserman Schultz tweeted that she bought a jar of generic peanut butter to help stretch her meals.
But she was traveling and the Transportation Security Agency confiscated it, considering the peanut
butter a liquid.

aman@tribune.com or 954-356-4550

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/fl-food-stamp-diet-congress-20111113,0,301359.story




                                                                                                    - 86 -
The Philadelphia Jewish Voice -




Food Stamp Challenge: The Week The Rabbis Went Hungry
by: Publisher
Thu Oct 27, 2011 at 18:58:32 PM EDT

                    -- by Eric Harris

                    This week Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform
                    Judaism, and other members of the RAC staff, is taking the Food Stamp Challenge.
                    Part of "Fighting Poverty with Faith's" initiative to focus people of faith on issues of
                    economic justice and the need to sustain vital social safety net programs, Food
                    Stamp Challenge participants live for seven days on the standard weekly food
                    stamp allotment of $31.50. Rabbi Saperstein will participate in the Challenge from
                    October 27th through November 2nd, joining a half dozen prominent Jewish leaders
                    and ten Members of Congress in this effort to call attention to anti-hunger
                    programs and educate the faith community on the plight of hunger.

We are honored to be able to participate in the Food Stamp Challenge, and experience even for a brief
time the ongoing struggle of the millions of Americans nationwide who are confronting hunger on a daily
basis. We have long advocated for anti-hunger programs, like SNAP and WIC that meet the needs of the
49 million food-insecure Americans but the Challenge places in stark relief how difficult it is to obtain
enough food and nutritious food on a food stamp budget - and why we must do better as a nation.

Jewish tradition teaches that
feeding the hungry is a vital
responsibility. The Midrash says:

When you are asked in the world
to come, 'What was your work?'
and you answer: 'I fed the
hungry,' you will be told: 'This is
the gate of God, enter into it, you
who have fed the hungry.'
Participating in the Food Stamp Challenge will not, by itself, end hunger in America; that will take a
sustained commitment by our nation and its leaders. To that end, we are hopeful that our participation
in the Food Stamp Challenge this week will inspire others to advocate for policies addressing families
and individuals who confront hunger nationwide. During these difficult economic times, easing the
burden on those who are most vulnerable must be our number one priority.

All members of our congregations are being called to register online, and join us in the Food Stamp
Challenge and use it as an opportunity to educate your synagogue and community.

Other food stamp challenge participants are listed after the jump.




                                                                                                          - 87 -
Who else is taking the challenge?


       Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (FL)
       Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL)
       Rep. Jim Moran (VA)
       Rep. Joe Courtney (CT)
       Rep. Keith Ellison (MN)
       The Honorable Donna Christensen (VI)
       Rabbi Sharon Brous (Founder of IKAR)
       Rabbi Julie Schonfeld (Exec. Vice-Pres. of the Rabbinical
        Assembly)
       Rabbi Ari Weiss (Director of Uri l'Tzedek)
       Nancy Kaufman (CEO of the National Council of Jewish
        Women)
       H. Eric Schockman (President of Mazon)



Ask your Member of Congress to take the challenge too.



http://blog.pjvoice.com/diary/764/food-stamp-challenge-the-whole-week-the-rabbi-went-hungry




                                                                                              - 88 -
The Register-Guard –




GUEST VIEWPOINT: Food stamps can make the difference for a
family in need
BY BEVERLEE HUGHES

Published: (Thursday, Oct 27, 2011 05:00AM)Midnight, Oct. 27

How would you spend $31.50? Go out to dinner? Maybe go to the movies? Splurge on your favorite
coffee drinks? Buy some gas? The possibilities are endless.

But could you buy a week’s worth of meals for yourself?

That’s the challenge for our most vulnerable neighbors right now. With limited incomes, decisions are
more about the choice between paying the electric bill or buying groceries.

Why $31.50? That’s the average weekly amount of money an individual can receive through the federal
government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. It is federal
money designated to help families while they get back on their feet after a job loss or other catastrophic
event that changes their financial situation.

The money is meant to supplement a family’s food budget. In today’s tight economy, it is sometimes the
only money left after being forced to choose between buying food and other pressing needs, such as rent.

Despite an infusion of federal stimulus money, the nation’s economy remains sluggish. It’s been three
years since Lane County’s biggest industry began to crumble.

That’s when thousands of living-wage jobs evaporated like exhaust fumes when the recreational vehicle
manufacturers put the brakes on production. These RV jobs that helped make up for lost timber jobs have
yet to be replaced.

Families aren’t the only ones having to make financial choices right now.

Congress once again is grappling with our nation’s budget. Looming decisions will have a significant
impact on some of our most needy citizens and the agencies who help them.

The debt reduction supercommittee in Congress is trying to reach a budget compromise that will do two
things: create jobs and cut unnecessary expenses.

Don’t let our vulnerable citizens be part of the ―unnecessary.‖ Food stamp money isn’t supposed to be
something a family relies on forever.

However, this economic emergency is lasting far longer than most people would have imagined, and
those funds can make the difference. Federal subsidies may have to be reduced, but wait until the
economy is better and people can help themselves. Let’s not leave them more vulnerable.

If you think food stamps are an unnecessary benefit, think about this. The average monthly income for a
family using food stamps is $693. More than 80,000 people in Lane County depend on food stamps right
now. Oregon is still the third hungriest state in the nation.



                                                                                                       - 89 -
Congress is making decisions that will affect the recipients of food stamps as well as nonprofits. If
Congress chooses to reduce food stamps, it won’t take long to see the impact at local food banks and
other agencies. As grocery prices continue to rise, more people are turning to emergency food to make it
through the month. Without designated federal help, emergency food banks will have less money to
operate programs.

For the first time in many years, FOOD for Lane County is sending out more food on a daily basis than it
is receiving. In the last few months, requests for emergency food started skyrocketing.

Every day, families are making hard choices. Keep the car running? Pay the light bill? Feed the family?

These are decisions with big consequences to the well-being of the family.

In the United States right now, 16.2 million children struggle with hunger. In Lane County, 53 percent of
our children are eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches.

Sometimes, that school lunch is the only balanced meal they receive during the day. Nutritional food is
critical for proper development. Teachers see the effects of hunger every day when students arrive more
concerned about eating than learning. Children never should have to worry about hunger.

Can you support yourself nutritionally on $31.50 a week? There is a nationwide Food Stamp challenge
you can take this week. Beginning today through Nov. 6, see if you can feed yourself on the equivalent of
food stamps.

Go to FoodStampChallenge.com to learn more about this challenge, or foodforlanecounty.org to find out
more about hunger in our community.

Beverlee Hughes is executive director of FOOD for Lane County.

http://www.registerguard.com/web/opinion/27053815-47/stamps-family-money-county-
federal.html.csp




                                                                                                      - 90 -
Rhode Island Catholic -




Could you feed yourself on less than $5 a day?
BY BRIAN J. LOWNEY, ASSISTANT EDITOR
10/20/11


PROVIDENCE– Catholics across the state are asked to join the national ―Fighting Poverty with Faith Food Stamp
Challenge,‖ which challenges participants to live on the nationwide average food stamp benefit of $31.50 per week
per family member.

The challenge runs from October 27 to Nov. 3, and draws attention to the plight of those less fortunate who depend
on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, which serves as a safety net
to help ensure people have access to food during difficult times.

According to the Feinstein Center for a Hunger Free America, located at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston,
there were 167,472 Rhode Island residents enrolled in the SNAP program in September.

Recently, SNAP and other federal assistance programs have faced significant proposed funding cuts that would
reduce the number of people in need served and lower the amount of assistance provided to those who struggle to
put food on the table.

For one week, challenge participants are asked to live according to the national food stamp benefit, which breaks
down to $4.50 a day per person or $1.50 per meal.

―For families and individuals, living under the average SNAP benefit is not easy,‖ said James Jahnz, coordinator of
the diocese’s Project Hope. ―Many of those receiving benefits use them in conjunction with visiting food pantries and
soup kitchens in order to stretch those benefits as far as they can.‖

―Families in Rhode Island are still clearly struggling,‖ Jahnz added. ―As unemployment benefits run out and heating
costs continue to rise, what little money that is available is allocated to more needs. SNAP benefits are there to
alleviate some of that burden.‖

Participants are asked not to spend more than $31.50 per family member on food and beverages during the week. All
food consumed during Challenge Week, including fast food and restaurant meals, must be included in the total
spending. Only food purchased for the project should be eaten; items purchased prior to Oct. 27 should not be
consumed, nor should food offered by outside parties, including food served at meetings, Halloween events or other
social gatherings.

Individuals are asked to keep track of all receipts for food and beverages, and are urged to record their experiences
throughout the week.

The Office of Catholic Charities and Social Ministry will conduct SNAP Outreach events in each deanery of the
diocese beginning later this month and continuing through December. These programs will educate parishioners
about the SNAP program, including eligibility requirements. In addition, workers will have the means to pre-screen
applicants and can assist in the application process.

―On many occasions, people are not sure if they are eligible for SNAP, so they will not even attempt to apply for
benefits,‖ Jahnz said. ―These sessions will be a great opportunity to learn more about a benefit that could have a
potentially large effect on their family’s food budget.‖


                                                                                                                 - 91 -
Additional information about the Fighting Poverty with Faith Food Stamp Challenge will be disseminated this weekend
in parish bulletins. To register for the program, visit the Web site: www.fightingpovertywithfaith.com

http://www.thericatholic.com/news/detail.html?sub_id=4418




                                                                                                             - 92 -
The Republic –




Clerk says she'll stick to average food stamp budget of $31.50 a week


  CONCORD, N.H. — A New Hampshire court clerk says she'll take a food
stamp challenge to live on grocery budget of $31.50 a week.

Melissa Laferriere of Manchester decided to take on the challenge put before
members of the State Employees Association. She also plans to blog about
her dietary exploits on a platform provided by the union.

This is the first time the New Hampshire union has issued the challenge to
its members. The annual challenge is promoted by advocacy groups for the
poor to highlight the limits of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program.

The $31.50 per week is the national average food stamp benefit for
qualifying adults. This averages out to $4.50 per day.

Laferriere says she is taking the challenge to learn how others with less have
to live.

http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/e4500b10ccb04a89a24a750988f753c0/NH--Food-Stamp-
Challenge/




                                                                                         - 93 -
San Francisco Chronicle -




Rep. Jackie Speier to live on food stamps this week
Share   130




                                      Decision, decisions.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) is trying to feed herself with nothing more than $4.50 a day,
the amount of money most people on food stamps get each day.
That’s $22.50 a week, which is exactly what Speier spent when she visited Safeway today.
Speier, who joins other politicians in pledging to live on just a few bucks a day, bought a tub
of yogurt, pasta and a few canned goods.
In a release, Speier said she “wants to experience firsthand how a growing number of
Americans are forced to live in this tough economy.”
“I am gonna spend the next 5 days subsisting on $4.50 a day, to experience what is is really
like,” she said in a video statement. Speier shopped with a nutritionist and a chef who
offered tips on getting the best bang for her buck.
She said her goal was to get people to “appreciate that there are many people in this
country, silently, going hungry every single day and what’s it really like.”




                                                                                           - 94 -
http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2011/10/31/rep-jackie-speier-to-live-on-food-stamps-this-
week/




                                                                                           - 95 -
Congresswoman completes $4.50/day food challenge
Today Rep. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo) is finishing her 5-day challenge of feeding herself
with nothing more than $4.50 a day.
She said living on the amount of money most people on food stamps get each day has been a
“struggle.”
“I thought about food constantly,” she said in a conference call. “I still yearn for a good cup
of coffee. When I would see someone walking around with their coffee cups around the
Capitol, I just had this envy.”
Speier said her diet consisted mostly of hard-boiled eggs and tuna. For her last meal, she
packed some leftover tuna casserole for her plane ride from Washington to San Francisco.
Speier said she wanted to understand “how a growing number of Americans are forced to live
in this tough economy.” She said she became even more convinced that there can’t be cuts to
the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program.
“A compassionless budget for this country is not something I’m going to embrace,” she said.
Members of Congress live in a “bubble” and can’t understand the lives of “the silent folks”
who only spend $4.50 a day on food, Speier said.
Speier said it was during the challenge that it finally struck her how much free food floats
around the Capitol each day.
“It has not been a comfortable experience,” she said. “But it’s been a profound experience.”
http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2011/11/04/congresswoman-completes-4-50day-food-
challenge/




                                                                                             - 96 -
Silicon Valley Mercury News -




Jackie Speier tries living on food-stamp budget
By Aaron Kinney
akinney@bayareanewsgroup.com
Posted: 10/31/2011 04:11:05 PM PDT




Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, shops for groceries Monday at Safeway in... ( Katrina Rill )

MILLBRAE -- What's on the menu for Rep. Jackie Speier this week?

Tuna casserole, and a lot of it.

With TV cameras in tow, Speier walked the aisles of the Millbrae Safeway on Monday morning in search of
bargains. The Hillsborough congresswoman has pledged to live on a food-stamp budget for five days as part of
a national campaign to call attention to rising poverty, which gripped 15.1 percent of Americans in 2010,
according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

With just $22.50 to spend on groceries, Speier was forced to make hard choices.

She picked up canned tuna, rotini, rice, carrots and a few other items totaling $15.62, then returned an onion, a
tomato and a can of chili con carne -- she wanted to be able to afford some grapefruit later at Trader Joe's.

She planned to buy eggs, yogurt and popcorn as well, depending on how much money she had left.

The goal of the food-stamp challenge, as Speier put it, is to enable people to walk in the shoes of those living in
poverty. "So many of us who live comfortably, we have no idea what it's like," she said.

Libia Bustamante, a single mother of a 12-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl, depends on food stamps to survive.

She gets the food money in monthly allotments. It typically runs out by the third week, so she supplies the rest
with money earned at her part-time job.

"I try to stretch them to last a whole month, but they won't last," said Bustamante, who accompanied


Speier on her shopping trip.

Bustamante recently earned an associate degree in accounting at College of San Mateo and is preparing to
transfer to a four-year college.

She saves money on rent by taking part in a home-sharing program offered by Peninsula nonprofit HIP
Housing.



                                                                                                             - 97 -
Bustamante has learned to be frugal.

She compares prices at various stores, only buying items that are on sale. A typical weeknight dinner is rice
and beans or canned chicken vegetable soup.

Her children have learned that the quality of food is what's most important, not the quantity.

"They also learn that sometimes you are going to be hungry," she said.

Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357.


http://www.mercurynews.com/san-mateo-county/ci_19234350




                                                                                                           - 98 -
Star Tribune –




Foodstamp Challenge: First Trip to the Grocery Store
Posted by: Amy Eilberg Updated: November 7, 2011 - 3:25 PM

I took my first trip to the grocery store with the daunting task of buying enough food for a week for a
total of $31. Why only $31? This is the amount that one week of food stamps would allow me. My
head is spinning. I feel vulnerable, angry, tense and frightened.

Along with hundreds of faith leaders around the country and at least a dozen members of Congress,
I agreed to join in a symbolic weeklong ―Foodstamp Challenge.‖ All of us pledged to try, for one
week, to eat only what would be covered by our allowance on SNAP, the federal Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as ―food stamps‖). The timing is meaningful, as the
Congressional Supercommittee on Deficit Reduction will soon reveal its proposal for slashing the
federal deficit. According to a national coalition, ―Fighting Poverty with Faith,‖ ―Anti-hunger advocates
are deeply concerned that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program . . . might be targeted for
massive funding cuts or structural changes that could result in enrollment being capped and many
struggling with hunger being kicked off the program. These changes would hurt the families still
feeling the effects of the recession and the nearly 49 million Americans who lived in households
struggling with hunger in 2010. (http://fightingpovertywithfaith.com)

For weeks since taking the pledge, I have been engaged in thought, even obsessed, by questions:
―How is it even possible to eat on $31/week? Would there be room for salad (which I normally
consume in copious amounts) on this poverty-induced budget? How often would I be hungry? How
much weight would I gain by eating less healthy foods? How many free meals can I find for myself –
at friends’ homes, at the synagogue, at public events? If my children were hungry, would I be
tempted to steal food for them?‖ And more.

But this was my first time actually going up and down the aisles at the least expensive grocery store
I know, carefully checking the price of each item, with some ―maybes‖ in the front of the cart. The
result: Cottage cheese - $2.99; 2 cans of tuna fish - $3.30; egg noodles (to make a kugel casserole,
to eat for dinner most nights) - $2.59; eggs - $1.99; 1 c. sour cream (to make the kugel more filling) -
$.99; Kraft cheese slices (for snacking and cooking) - $4.09; a loaf of bread (not any of the healthy,
gourmet breads I like – too expensive) – $1.99; bottle of Diet Coke (can’t live without that) - $1.89;
frozen brussels spouts (cheaper than fresh – to serve with dinner all week) - $2.39; two apples (for
the casserole? or save for snacks?) - $1.89; 9 small Roma tomatoes (Note: I normally eat about
$4/day in tomatoes alone!) - $2.52; one head of lettuce - $1.99; 3 cucumbers (for a rudimentary
salad) - $2.67. For a total of $31.29. I had to give back the pasta shells and small container of
applesauce – not even money for those.

Mind you, that takes into account some cheating, including some ingredients I’d add from my own
cupboard (hopefully left over from last week’s allowance), and several meals at friends’ homes.
At the check-out counter, an irrational feeling of shame came over me. There I was, dressed in my
usual upper-middle-class clothing, looking at the young cashier, sure that he knew that this paltry
batch of groceries was all I could afford. Another unpleasant surprise: the egg noodles rang up at 60
cents more than had been marked. Ever wonder why some people seem tense and angry at the


                                                                                                   - 99 -
checkout counter? May I never judge such people’s behavior again. Maybe they are trying to do the
impossible: to live on $31/week for food.

Of course, this is only a simulation on my part. Any time I choose to, I can cheat on the pledge,
returning to my real life, in which I don’t have to think much about which groceries I bring home for
my family. I already have a full refrigerator and a full pantry at home, and many friends who’d invite
me over for a lavish meal any time I called. What if I didn’t have my ―real life‖ to go back to? What if
the pantry was bare except for what I bought today? What if this was not a one-week experiment but
an enforced way of life?

Please remember one thing when you hear public officials and pundits debating the value of the
SNAP food assistance program. Remember one number: $31 for a week. Could you do it? Do you
really want others to have to live on less?


http://www.startribune.com/local/yourvoices/133385978.html




                                                                                                  - 100 -
Street Sense –




$31.50: a Reasonable Family Food Budget?

By Hannah Morgan
Editorial Intern
A 17-ounce box of Frosted Flakes cereal costs around $3 in many local stores. Add a gallon of milk,
another $4, and four bananas, $1.56, and the total comes to around $9, not including tax. That’s almost a
third of what many American families can afford to spend on food in a week, and that barely covers
breakfast.


In response to the National Food Stamp Challenge, at least eight members of Congress, joined by
community and religious leaders, decided to live on $31.50 for one week, the average weekly allotment
received by millions of Americans living on food stamps. They met outside the Capitol Hill Safeway store
on a recent rainy morning. Huddled among umbrellas and empty shopping carts, they spoke to a crowd of
food stamp participants and members of the media about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(SNAP), the official name for the food stamp program since 2008.


The event was sponsored by a coalition of four major faith-based organizations: Catholic Charities USA,
the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA and the
Islamic Society of North America. The groups all united under the banner to ―Fight Poverty with Faith‖.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton said,―we need to fight poverty with faith because we are not doing so
well fighting poverty with policy.‖


Then she, along with other participants, teamed up for a low-budget race through the store, scanning for
items on sale and comparing the prices of breakfast cereals and oatmeal packets.
Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, had to forgo organic peanut butter.
Dr. Sayyid Syeed, executive director of the Islamic Society of North America, could only afford to
purchase one onion for the week. The teams picked through the produce department and grabbed
gallons of milk while the clock dwindled down to zero.
The Rev. Peg Chemberlin, the president of the National Council of Churches in Christ USA, said she lived
on food stamps while completing her seminary work in rural Minnesota. She said the experience drove
home to her the importance of maintaining federal spending for such programs. ―


We have to ask ourselves what kind of nation we want to be, a nation of compassion or a nation of
greed,‖ she added.

                                                                                                     - 101 -
The Food Stamp Challenge is designed to give ordinary citizens and leaders the chance to understand
what an estimated 49 million Americans lived like in 2010, on a daily food budget of $4.50.


Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Calif.) reminded a crowd of onlookers that, while they might be able to suffer
through the challenge for a week, there are millions of Americans that won’t be able to stop using SNAP.


Sixteen million children and thirty-two million adults, eight percent of whom are senior citizens, relied on
SNAP in 2010, according to Kathleen A. Merrigan, a deputy secretary at the United States Department of
Agriculture, which administers the program. She said she was especially concerned about the increasing
number of working-class families using SNAP.


With the winter months approaching, food prices rising and too many homeless families for the District’s
shelters to hold, food assistance and other such programs will be crucial for many families to survive
through the winter, speakers stressed.


Once all of the teams reached the cash registers and checked out, they met outside the supermarket for
an interfaith prayer and offered each other encouragement to get through the week.


As members of Congress rushed off to vote, faith leaders went home to make lunch – peanut butter and
jelly sandwiches and canned soup.


http://www.streetsense.org/2011/11/31-50-a-reasonable-family-food-budget/




                                                                                                       - 102 -
Sun Sentinel


Iran, hunger discussed
November 01, 2011|By Sergio Carmona, Florida Jewish Journal




                
The local community recently learned about Iranian and hunger issues.

During the Greater Miami Jewish Federation's Jewish Community Relations Council's recent meeting, Mark
Wallace, United Against Nuclear Iran's president, discussed "Iran: Implications for the Future." The guests also
learned that JCRC representatives were participating in the Food Stamp Challenge where they were living on
the government's food stamp financial allotment of $31.50, which amounts to $4.50 per day or $1.50 per meal,
for a week.

"Our meeting really highlighted how informed members of our community can be effective advocates and how
our JCRC can serve to provide such education on a broad range of vital issues," said Carol Brick-Turin, the
JCRC's director.

During his discussion, Wallace remarked that there are four things the community could do to stop Iran's
trajectory to pursue nuclear weapons — diplomacy, engagement in special warfare, military planning and

                                                                                                         - 103 -
sanctions and economics pressure and isolation. He also mentioned legislation that says that any business and
entity that does business with any government should not be doing business with Iran.

"If we could force companies to make a choice between doing business in Iran or Florida, or Iran or California,
or Iran or New York, or Iran or the federal government, they're going to choose here [United States]," Wallace
remarked.

Wallace added that Florida took the lead in adopting this legislation and reported that the New York State
Assembly initiated a bill similar to the Sunshine State's.

"This legislation is very important and we have a campaign to get it enacted in all 50 states and on the federal
level," he added.

Helen Chaset, government policy chair for Jewish Community Services of South Florida, discussed the Food
Stamp Challenge, a nationwide effort that is part of Fighting Poverty with Faith, a national alliance of faith-
based groups working to end poverty in the United States by 2020.

"I think it's rare that we have an opportunity to think about the fact that nearly 20 percent of the children who
live in this country live in households in poverty and all of those children and some beyond that 20 percent
whose families are not under the federal poverty line suffer from food insufficiency," Chaset said.

Laurie Flink, deputy district director for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston and a challenge
participant, shared her story of when she went to a Winn-Dixie store where they serve a free cup of coffee in
its internet café. At the café, Flink noticed two women sharing a peanut butter sandwich that one of them
brought. She added that they were also there for the free coffee.

"The difference is that I'm doing this for one week and they're doing this every single day," she remarked.
"When I think about my Starbucks in the morning and what these people are going through, it really is a rude
awakening, a somber awakening."

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2011-11-01/news/fl-jjdc-iran-1102-20111101_1_united-against-
nuclear-iran-food-stamp-challenge-jcrc




                                                                                                            - 104 -
The Tennessean –




Food Stamp Challenge shines light on poverty
1:49 AM, Oct. 24, 2011

The average person who receives food stamps is tasked with eating on $31.50 a week.
That’s $4.50 a day. And $1.50 a meal.

That can’t be easy, says a group of nonprofits. So, it’s bringing awareness of the need
to maintain funding for food stamps with the Food Stamp Challenge. From today through
Sunday, folks including Metro Council members and local executives will join the 1 in 5
Tennesseans who receive food stamps by trying to eat on $31.50. That number is up 37
percent from 2008 and compares with 1 in 7 nationally.

The challenge is part of the national effort Fighting Poverty Faith, sponsored by Catholic
Charities, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the National Council of Churches.

Locally, partners include Community Food Advocates, the Campus for Human
Development, Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee, the Mayor’s Metro Poverty Council
and Jewish Family Service of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

Many of those participating will shop today at the Bordeaux Kroger. For
more information on the challenge, go to fightingpovertywithfaith.com.

Contact Erin Quinnat 615-726-5986 or equinn@tennessean.com.

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20111024/NEWS/310240017/Food-Stamp-Challenge-shines-light-
poverty




                                                                                       - 105 -
Washington Jewish Week –

Fighting poverty with faith
JCPA partners with national faith groups to kick off food stamp challenge

by Emily Jacobs
Staff Writer

How much do you spend on
each meal in the day? Five
dollars? Ten?

What about on food for the
entire week - $50, $60?

For one in six Americans, the
answer to those questions is
$1.50 a meal, and $31.50 per
week.

That meager dollar amount is
provided by SNAP, the
Supplemental Nutritional
Assistant Program, to more
than 45 million people
nationwide, a staggering
increase from the 37 million
aided by the program just
four years ago in 2007.

Unfortunately, the $31.50 may not be here to stay as SNAP is in serious danger of losing
government funding, resulting in a reduction in the amount of money provided to those in
need.

JCPA, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, The National Council of the Churches of Christ in
the USA and Catholic Charities USA have come together for the past four years to work
together to protect the precious funding needed to feed the masses.

The mobilization effort, entitled Fighting Poverty with Faith, Working Together to End
Hunger, features a nationwide food stamp challenge, in which the participating
organizations challenge Americans to step into the shoes of those aided by SNAP, by only
spending $31.50 on food for an entire week.

The Food Stamp Challenge begins today and goes until Nov. 3, with people from all walks of
life drastically reducing their food budgets for the week. You can register after the challenge
has begun by going to www.engage.jewishpublicaffairs.org.

To kick off the event, national religious leaders, activists and current SNAP  recipients
gathered at a D.C.  Safeway this morning for a press conference and to shop for the week
with the allotment of $31.50.

                                                                                         - 106 -
Speakers at the event included Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-Mo.); the Rev. Larry Snyder,
president of Catholic  Charities USA; Rev. Peg Chamberlain, president of the National
Council of Churches; and Dr. Sayyid Syeed, national director of the Office for Interfaith and
Community Alliances, Islamic Society of North America.

Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the JCPA, also spoke at the kick-off event this morning.
Gutow previously participated in the challenge and had what he called an "unusually
meaningful experience."

"I learned to have a sense of empathy with those that live their lives like this every day and
how food stamps really have an effect on people's lives," he said.

Gutow, who has been the president of the JCPA for six years, explained that they  have
taken such an active role in the fight against hunger because as Jews, we are trained to
care about those in need.

He added that the challenge was created as a way to show the country that hunger is a
widespread issue that needs to be taken seriously.

"I believe so deeply that it's in the action of doing things and showing the world you really
care, at least for a short time," he said. "Walk the walk, so you can galvanize others to take
a hard look at this issue and have them say wow, this must be something serious."

One of the participants in this year's challenge is Susan Turnbull, vice president of the JCPA,
who admits that taking on the challenge has caused some anxiety.

"It's definitely going to be hard, but it's one of those things that I want to be able to do as
an advocate so that I'll be able to say, 'I did this and this is how hard it is,' " she said "We
don't want children going to school hungry, and we want to make sure that people are
healthy, and that's the message we can send by banding together and taking this
challenge."

Other participants in the challenge include WJW  staff writer Emily Jacobs and Managing
Editor Meredith Jacobs who will be blogging about their experiences during the week-long
challenge.




                                                                                            - 107 -
Let's get it started: My 1st day of the Food Stamp Challenge
10/28/2011 9:44:00 AM


Waking up on Thursday the 27th, the first thing that came to my mind, aside from the awful
traffic I knew I was about to encounter, was my morning coffee and multigrain bagel with
reduced fat cream cheese on the side from Dunkin Donuts. Then, it hit me that I had begun
the Food Stamp Challenge and my breakfast, which would cost around $5.00, was not an
option.

When I got to work I opened up two packets of instant oatmeal and had those for breakfast
instead of the bagel. I also made a cup of coffee at the office from the brew that our boss
makes for us every morning.

When lunchtime rolled around, instead of heading to Whole Foods to peruse their salad bar
as I usually do, I went to the kitchen and made Ramen noodles for lunch. Now, as a recent
college graduate, I am lucky because Ramen was a definite staple during my four years at
Maryland. Instead of my usual Diet Coke, I had a cup of water from the office water cooler.

For dinner, my boyfriend who works as a chef in D.C., wanted to make a delicious dinner of
chicken, vegetables and rice. As good as that sounded to my stomach, I stay true to the
Food Stamp Challenge and had a can of tuna on whole wheat bread.

I would say that the first day of the Food Stamp Challenge wasn't so rough- I know I might
be eating my words 7 days from now.

Stay tuned!

http://washingtonjewishweek.com/main.asp?SectionID=88&SubSectionID=279&ArticleID=15981&TM=6
4998.1




                                                                                      - 108 -
The Food Stamp Challenge: A Week in Review
11/3/2011 10:19:00 AM

I never imagined how hard living on $31.50 for a week would be.

At the start of the challenge last Thursday, I was going strong with oatmeal, ramen and
tuna, sticking to my budget of $1.50 a meal.

Three days later, I found myself repulsed by the thought of any more sodium filled ramen,
canned tuna and other pre-packaged meals.

What made this challenge even more difficult is the fact that I suffer from Oral Allergy
Syndrome, meaning I'm allergic to raw fruits, vegetables and nuts (pretty much everything,
as my friends like to say).

This knocked out countless options for me to help me stay on budget like having a banana
for breakfast or having peanut butter and jelly for lunch.

I know I can't be the only one with OAS, and thankfully I am not on food stamps and have a
larger budget to help me compose dishes that I can eat.

But what about those that are on food stamps and suffer from severe food allergies like I
do? How do they make it work without endangering their health by eating something they
are allergic to because they can afford it? Or, worse how do they eat without going for the
dollar menu items or sodium packaged noodle meals?

Although I was not able to stick it out, and went over my budget towards the end of the
week, the message of the challenge was loud and clear in my mind.

$31.50 is no where near enough, regardless if you have special diet requirements or not.
There is absolutely no way the food stamp program can afford to lose funding, and I
sincerely hope that through this national challenge, the message will be loud and clear.

I sincerely commend those that stuck it out for the full week and made it through the
challenge. On that same note, I am in awe of those that make the meager $31.50 work for
them every single week, it truly is a lifestyle that NEEDS to be changed for the health and
well being of our country.

To read other Food Stamp Challenge reviews, visit
http://engage.jewishpublicaffairs.org/c/627/p/salsa/web/common/public/index.sjs .

http://washingtonjewishweek.com/main.asp?SectionID=88&SubSectionID=279&ArticleID=16022




                                                                                         - 109 -
Washington Post –




Food Stamp Challenge participants step into the shoes of the poor
By Teresa Tomassoni, Friday, November 4, 12:38 PM

Food overwhelmed his every thought.

―When am I going to eat? What am I going to eat?‖ he asked himself throughout the
day. Envious of those around him at work, on the street, in restaurants — enjoying
what he could not have — he saved soup from Tuesday‘s dinner to get him through
Wednesday, and a spoonful of instant coffee to wake himself up on Thursday.

―All I think about is food and food,‖ he said, his voice trailing longingly over the
phone as he spoke from his apartment. For almost a week, he had been surviving on
just lentils, cornflakes and eggs as part of a nationwide challenge to live for a few
days like the millions of Americans who depend on the country‘s primary food
assistance program.

Living on a budget of $31.50, the average weekly food-stamp stipend for an adult,
Rabbi Steve Gutow joined at least 600 imams, pastors, members of Congress and
community activists across the country in the second nationwide Food Stamp
Challenge, part of an annual interfaith campaign to raise awareness about America‘s
poor.

As the challenge launched last week with a shopping trip at a Safeway in Southeast
Washington, faith leaders and officials, including Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-
D.C.), vowed to put themselves in the shoes of the poor. In turn, they demanded that
government decision makers preserve funding for the Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program (SNAP), widely known as the Food Stamp Program.

The program is the ―number one defense against hunger‖ in the District, benefiting
about 140,000 people, or nearly one in every four city residents, said Alexandra
Ashbrook, director of D.C. Hunger Solutions. Nationwide, more than 45 million
people relied on the program in August, compared with about 27 million participating
at the end of 2007.

Advocates worry that programs such as SNAP could bear a disproportionate
budgetary burden as lawmakers urgently seek cuts that will trim the nation‘s deficit.

                                                                                  - 110 -
―There is tremendous political pressure to make spending cuts to reduce the federal
deficit,‖ said Josh Protas, Washington director of the Jewish Council for Public
Affairs.

This is the second time that Gutow, president of the Jewish council, has taken the
food-stamp challenge. The first time, in 2007, changed his life, he said, helping him to
empathize more with those who must make sure that their benefits last through the
month.

―If you live like the poor, you sort of understand more of what it‘s like,‖ Gutow said.

While shopping on his allotted food-stamp money last week, Gutow discovered at the
register that he was $12 over his budget. Scrambling to cut costs, he gave up bags of
salad and rice and traded a bottle of grape juice for a cheaper can of frozen, mostly
artificial fruit punch needed for Shabbat dinner the next evening.

On Friday, Gutow, who travels to the District from New York at least once a month,
prepared a simple holy meal at a friend‘s apartment in Woodley Park. He measured
the lentils he could afford to use in a Middle Eastern dish of rice and caramelized
onions called Mujadara and then prepared a vegetable omelet. And when his friend
accidentally drenched the eggs with water, Gutow quickly emptied the soggy plate
and nuked it in the microwave.

People on rigid budgets are limited by not only what they can eat but also by what
they can do, Gutow said. ―It feels a bit like you‘re imprisoned,‖ he said. A lot of
mental energy is spent thinking about food, when it could be spent on something else,
he said. ―You can‘t be all you can be.‖

Four days into the challenge, Gutow started to feel like he did at the same point during
the 2007 challenge: ―dead in the senses.‖ No one should live like that, he said.

But experiencing just a bit of what it‘s like for those who do, Gutow said Thursday
after finishing the challenge, has reinvigorated him to educate faith communities and
politicians about the importance of SNAP and poverty and hunger in America.

―Once you go through this, you feel more acutely compelled to tell people what it‘s
like,‖ he said. ―This is a non-negotiable budget item.‖

Norton, who also participated in the first week-long challenge in 2007, said she found
it just as difficult the second time around. Her biggest temptation? The enticing
aromas of food offered at lunch meetings and receptions.


                                                                                   - 111 -
She hopes that the voices of the 600 participating religious leaders and activists who
normally differ on a number of issues will inspire lawmakers to raise the stipends for
food-aid recipients.

―It does incline members to sit up and notice,‖ Norton said. ―Nobody can live on
$4.50 a day. It‘s impossible.‖

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/food-stamp-challenge-participants-step-into-the-shoes-of-the-
poor/2011/11/02/gIQAnJPJmM_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/religious-political-figures-participate-in-food-stamp-
challenge/2011/11/04/gIQA6aSKnM_gallery.html#photo=1




                                                                                             - 112 -
Television and Radio –
ABC 12 WISN -




Group Asks People To Eat On $4.50 Per
Day
POSTED: 10:26 am CDT October 31, 2011
MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee's Hunger Task Force is
shedding light on the issue of poverty in a unique way.
The group is asking people to join its challenge of eating
on $4.50 per day: The average allotment for a person on
food stamps.

The Task Force said one out of three residents in the city
lives in poverty and that 50 percent of children in the city go to bed hungry.

According to a statement on the Hunger Task Force website, "It's one thing to read the statistics,
another to personally experience the challenge of hunger."

The organization's executive director, Sherrie Tussler, is taking part in the challenge.

"It took me three times as long to shop for this as it would have taken me to shop for $200 worth of
groceries," said Tussler. "I'm one of those people who can just put stuff in the cart and go home and
make it. I have a bountiful pantry. So, yeah, to live on nothing was super hard."

The challenge set forth by the group is for each person to eat and drink on $31.50 a week, $4.50 a
day, or $1.50 a meal.

Tussler called Wisconsin's Foodshare a supplemental program for those who go to food pantries.
"The food stamp program is going to give people the dignity to be able to shop for the foods that they
would like to eat, in addition to the foods we provide through the emergency network."

As of September, nearly 390,000 Wisconsin residents were receiving food assistance. The state of
Wisconsin has paid out more than $97 million in FoodShare benefits.

The average monthly benefit for a two-parent household is $384. The minimum amount is $16 per
month.



                                                                                                - 113 -
If you are interested in taking on this challenge, WISN 12 News invites you to post your experience in
our story comments below, as well as on our Facebook page.

Read more: http://www.wisn.com/health/29637349/detail.html#ixzz1cfVrLu9n




                                                                                                - 114 -
CBS Minnesota –




Congressman Ellison Talks Food Stamp Challenge
November 2, 2011 6:02 PM




MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s a sign of the times. A record 43 million Americans are
on food stamps. About 9 percent of Minnesotans — nearly half a million people — depend on food
stamps.
Food stamp recipients get $31.50 a week for food. A family of four will receive $126 a week for food
stamps.

This week in Washington, D.C., Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison has been eating on a food stamp
budget of $4.50 a day. He and some of his colleagues have been living on the food stamp budget to
call attention to potential budget cuts in the program.

Watch Esme Murphy’s report above.

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2011/11/02/congressman-ellison-talks-food-stamp-challenge/




                                                                                               - 115 -
CBS San Francisco –




East Bay Congresswoman Takes The Food Stamp Challenge
October 29, 2011 12:54 PM
Share this
5
4 comments




(CBS)
Reporting Susan Kennedy


OAKLAND (KCBS) — A program that helps 44.5 million Americans put food on the table is
coming under fire by Republicans, but Congresswoman Barbara Lee is calling on them to take
the Food Stamp Challenge.

The challenge is to live for a week on the $31.50, the average a food stamp recipient receives.
That’s $4.50 a day or $1.50 a meal.

East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee is taking the challenge for the second time. She said
during the early 70’s, she was a single mother on public assistance.

Lee explained the challenge is aimed at warding off a Republican proposal that would mean $2
billion less for the food stamp program than President Obama requested.

She added that people aren’t on food stamps to avoid working.

―More of the right wing says they want to be on it just to be on it, but the reality is, just like me,
nobody wants to be on food stamps,‖ Lee said.

                                                                                                  - 116 -
A record number of Americans rely on food stamps to put food on the table. Lee said any cuts
or changes to the food stamp program are simply an attack on the poor.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be
published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2011/10/29/east-bay-congresswoman-takes-the-food-stamp-
challenge/




http://mediacenter.tveyes.com/downloadgateway.aspx?UserID=92542&MDID=813152&MDSeed=2618
&Type=Media




                                                                                           - 117 -
CNN –




October 31st, 2011
02:00 PM ET
Lawmakers eat on a food stamp budget
Previously, our very own CNN producer Sheila Steffen shopped for a week's worth of groceries for $30 - the amount
which would be allotted by food stamps.

Now, Washington D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton is one of a dozen democratic Congressmen taking part in a
food stamp challenge organized by various religious groups. The participants are allowed to spend no more than
$31.50 a week. That comes to $4.50 a day. The objective is for lawmakers to see for themselves how it feels to live
on a limited food budget.

The National Food Stamp Challenge comes as lawmakers on Capitol Hill ponder spending cuts that could adversely
affect programs that assist the poor and elderly.


http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2011/10/31/lawmakers-eat-on-a-food-stamp-budget/




                                                                                                             - 118 -
Interview with Marcia Fudge –




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b2K1xgLNU8




                                             - 119 -
Barbara Lee Discusses the Food Stamp Challenge –




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aK-xAfQqf_o




                                                   - 120 -
    Fox TV-5 –




    Americans are Challenged to Live on Food Stamp Money of $31.50
    Published : Thursday, 27 Oct 2011, 6:40 PM EDT





    John Henrehan
    john.henrehan@foxtv.com
    BY JOHN HENREHAN/myfoxdc
    WASHINGTON - A coalition of religious organizations is asking Americans to live for a week on the average amount of
    money given to poor people for groceries: $31.50. The campaign is called the "Food Stamp Challenge."

    Nowadays, the federal assistance program goes by another name: SNAP, which stands for "supplemental nutritional
    assistance program." $31.50 is not a lot of money for a week's worth of groceries, according to D.C. Congressional Delegate
    Eleanor Holmes Norton, who shopped in a Safeway store on Capitol Hill with a constituent on Thursday. "We started with
    greens because you can stretch them," explained Norton. "You can add cheap meats to them."

    Del. Norton, and other liberals in Congress, think federal food assistance is miserly and ought to be increased. But, with 49
    million Americans now receiving food aid, the cost of the program is exploding. Rachel Sheffield, a policy analyst at the
    Heritage Foundation, says federal funding for the nation's basic food assistance program has doubled since 2008. Sheffield
    has other concerns about SNAP: "The average time people spend on food stamps is over eight years. So, it's creating this
    long-term dependence, rather than helping people get to a place where they're self-reliant and able to help themselves."

    With gigantic federal deficits, there is growing pressure to reign in spending in almost all areas. Liberals, like Delegate
    Norton, want to protect food assistance money. Fiscal hawks in both parties may be inclined to seek cuts everywhere. The
    debate, in coming months, could be intense.




    Read more: http://www.myfoxdc.com/dpp/money/americans-are-challenged-to-live-on-food-stamp-money-
    102711#ixzz1cfJa7Hdv



                                                                                                                          - 121 -
Fox 28 -



Food Stamp Challenge asks people to try living on $31.50 a week
Posted: Nov 02, 2011 6:27 PM EDT
By Madeleine Wright, Multimedia Journalist - email




Imagine being so broke you only have about $32 to spend on food
every week. You'd be pretty hungry, but that's what many Americans
go through every day.
The Food Bank of Northern Indiana wants you to try it. It's called the
Food Stamp Challenge. Anti-hunger organizations want people to try
living on $31.50 a week. That's the average weekly amount of food
stamps people get. The Food Bank said the challenge should give
people a real wake-up call.
"We have one in four children in Indiana that comes from hunger-
insecure homes," said Marijo Martinec, Events and Marketing
Coordinator for the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. "And what
message we're trying to get out is hunger is really a community health
issue."
Several congressmen from Florida, California, and Virginia are doing
the challenge.
The Food Stamp Challenge lasts till November 10. For more
information, go to
http://engage.jewishpublicaffairs.org/c/627/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=6374




                                                                                                    - 122 -
Fox 59 WXIN -




Group says folks on food stamps struggle year round

Dozens of Hoosiers live a week on food stamps to raise awareness
By Aishah Hasnie

4:09 p.m. EST, November 23, 2011

Indianapolis

Food is on the mind of virtually every Hoosier this Thanksgiving, but for some, the thought of food is a
struggle throughout the year.


According to the Family and Social Services Administration, there are more than 1 million Hoosiers on the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. While it's not supposed to be the primary source of
a person's food budget, a lot of people depend on it and if you ask David Sklar, it's not easy.


"You kind of have a constant level of hunger throughout the week," said Sklar.


He is not enrolled in SNAP, but took part in a nationwide 'Food Stamp Challenge' to eat on a food stamp
budget for a week. With just $31 a week to spend, Sklar found he wasn't getting the proper nutrition he's
used to.


"I was putting things in my cart that I didn't want to put there, sort of that highly processed food that I
didn't really want to eat."


FSSA understands the challenges many Hoosiers face.
"FSSA recognizes in these challenging economic times, more and more people are having to stretch their
resources even further, so their reliance on SNAP has increased. We have continued to improve our
administration of SNAP to ensure benefits are provided accurately and timely," read a statement to Fox
59.


Sklar hopes the program will gain more attention and more funding through the challenge. He said he's
already gained more than he expected.



                                                                                                          - 123 -
"It was really tough," said Sklar. "Shopping was definitely one of the most eye opening experiences."
More information about the Feeding Indiana's Hungry challenge is available online.

http://www.fox59.com/news/wxin-food-stamp-challenge-group-says-folks-on-food-stamps-struggle-
year-round-20111123,0,1498081.column




                                                                                                    - 124 -
The Jewish Channel –




Week in Review: November 11, 2011
by TJC Staff




http://newsdesk.tjctv.com/2011/11/week-in-review-november-11-2011/




                                                                     - 125 -
KFSN ABC 30 –




Jackie Speier on a Food Stamp Budget




http://mediacenter.tveyes.com/downloadgateway.aspx?UserID=92542&MDID=815280&MDSee
d=9853&Type=Media




                                                                            - 126 -
KGO-TV ABC 7 -




Congresswoman to live off food stamps budget
Saturday, October 29, 2011




FILE - Congresswoman Jackie Speier poses for a portrait on Nov. 14, 2008 in San Francisco, Calif. (AP Photo/San Francisco
Chronicle, Mike Kepka)


SAN FRANCISCO -- About one in seven Americans use food stamps, and Congresswoman Jackie
Speier wants to experience what it is like to live on a food stamps budget.

Starting Monday, Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, will participate in a food stamps challenge in which
she will eat on a food budget of $4.50 a day for five days.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for administering the Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the California average monthly benefit in fiscal year 2010 was
$136.75, or approximately $4.50 a day.

Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, SNAP provides more than 3.6 million Californians with
benefits to help them purchase food for them and their families.

According to a statement from Speier's office, "with the poverty rate in the U.S. at a historic high of over
15 percent, she wants to experience firsthand how a growing number of Americans are forced to live in
this tough economy."

SNAP benefits can be used to buy foods such as breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, dairy
products, and meats, fish, and poultry. Benefits cannot be used to purchase foods that will be eaten on
site, hot foods, or alcoholic beverages, cigarettes or tobacco.



                                                                                                                       - 127 -
Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack foods, and ice cream are considered food items, making them eligible
for purchase, according to the USDA.

Speier is also assembling a group in the community to participate in the five-day food stamps challenge.

Students, faculty and staff at one Southern California college are undertaking a similar challenge this
Sunday in which members of Occidental College will try to feed themselves for a week on the same $4.50
per day budget.

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/politics&id=8410979




                                                                                                   - 128 -
KNTV NBC Bay Area –




Jackie Speier Food Stamp Challenge




http://mediacenter.tveyes.com/downloadgateway.aspx?UserID=92542&MDID=813149&MDSee
d=9718&Type=Media




                                                                            - 129 -
KOFY TV20-Cable 13 –




Two Local Congresswomen Take Food Stamp Challenge




http://mediacenter.tveyes.com/downloadgateway.aspx?UserID=92542&MDID=813151&MDSee
d=6875&Type=Media




                                                                            - 130 -
KRCB 91 FM –




Food Stamp Challenge
The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP)—better known as Food Stamps—provides a single adult
with $31.50 per week in purchasing power. But what does that actually buy?

Taking the Food Stamp Challenge means feeding oneself for a week on only the groceries a week's allotment of
food stamps can buy. For a single adult, that adds up to all of $31.50 for the week. Making a concerted effort to
shop carefully, and choose which purchases to make where, Normon Solomon spent nearly half of that total on a
few basics and some produce—enough, he says, for about three days of meals. His first stop was at the Lucky's
supermarket near downtown Petaluma.

Food stamps are a very visible, often maligned form of public assistance, but Solomon says just about everyone
benefits from other, less obvious governmental supports.



     Norman Solomon's
        Grocery List
                   Lucky's
 Quantity             Item            Price
     2       Apples                    $0.99
     2       Bell Peppers              $1.00
     2       Avacado                   $0.94
                                       $2.93


               Grocery Outlet
 Quantity             Item            Price
   3 lb      Apples                    $1.99
   1 lb      Black-eyed peas           $1.29
  28 oz      Brown Rice                $1.44
  1 loaf     Flax Bread                $2.09
   3 lb      Yams                      $1.99
  12 oz      Mozzarello cheese         $2.49
                                     $11.29


             Combined total          $14.22


http://krcb.org/201111142363/north-bay-report/food-stamp-challenge

                                                                                                             - 131 -
KTVU -




Jackie Speier Takes Food Stamp Challenge –




http://mediacenter.tveyes.com/downloadgateway.aspx?UserID=92542&MDID=813154&MDSeed=3286
&Type=Media

http://mediacenter.tveyes.com/downloadgateway.aspx?UserID=92542&MDID=815398&MDSee
d=4094&Type=Media




                                                                                  - 132 -
KQ 103 Orlando –




Prominent politicians dine on $4.50 a day. South Florida members of
Congress take food stamp challenge.
Nov 15, 2011 -- 6:18am

 They make a comfortable $174,000 a year. But in recent days, each spent just $4.50 a day on food — and found out
it wasn't too easy.

 Lunch one day last week for U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman SchultzD-Weston, was a tuna sandwich, an apple and
tap water.

 U.S. Rep. Ted DeutchD-Boca Raton, took the challenge two weeks ago. "I bought a cup of coffee at a meeting one
morning, which left me enough to have ramen noodles at lunch. And just enough money for macaroni and cheese for
dinner."

 Another day, his daughter's school had a blood drive. "I was thrilled that I could have a free doughnut just by giving
blood."

 There's a political point, of course. Wasserman Schultz and Deutch were among the 13 members of Congress – out
of 435 – who took the "food stamp challengeaimed at showing what it's like to live on what the government program
provides people who need food assistance.

 "It just makes you realize how difficult it is for so many people in our society," Deutch said. "I knew that I was only
going to do this for a few days, so it was easy to look forward to the end of this, but for people who are hungry, there
is no immediate end."

 Not everyone thinks the idea was so great. "Obviously, no one wants people to starve. But Democratsoften use
people's compassion to promote unhealthy programs that 1) aren't effective, 2) waste hard-earned money and 3)
expand government," complained a contributor at the conservative website Townhall.com.

And members of Congress face challenges that most food stamp recipients don't.

 Wasserman Schultz tweeted that she bought a jar of generic peanut butter to help stretch her meals. But she was
traveling and the Transportation Security Agency confiscated it, considering the peanut butter a liquid.



http://kq103.com/common/more.php?m=49&action=blog&r=10&post_id=236&utm_medium=twitter&
utm_source=twitterfeed




                                                                                                                  - 133 -
KQED -




Congressmembers Take "Food Stamp Challenge," Eating On $4.50 A
Day
November 2, 2011, 2:04 pm • Posted by Nina Thorsen
EmailShareTwitterFacebookAdd your comment

The number of Californians receiving food stamps jumped 11.5% between August 2010 and August 2011, according

to a report released Tuesday by the US Department of Agriculture. Actually, they’re not “food stamps” any more, but

debit cards. The program has been rebranded as CalFresh in California and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance

Program nationally. Recipients must be citizens or permanent residents with low incomes and minimal savings.




Rep. Jackie Speier taking the Food Stamp Challenge


To better appreciate their constituents’ situation, eight members of Congress, including Peninsula Representative

Jackie Speier, are participating in the Food Stamp Challenge -- for a week eating on a budget comparable to the

average recipient in their state.

For Speier, that’s $4.50 a day. On Monday she headed over to the Safeway on El Camino Real in Millbrae, camera

crews and reporters in tow, to do some shopping. Speier had already been to a dollar store and a Trader Joe’s for a

little pre-purchase reconnaissance. At Safeway, she put carrots and an onion in her cart while explaining, “I'm not

going to get my lettuce here because I found at another grocery store that it was less expensive. There's a lot of
comparison shopping that frankly, many people who are impoverished are not going to have the luxury of doing


                                                                                                                - 134 -
because they can't run from store to store.”



Earlier, Speier held a roundtable with Peninsula civic and community leaders also taking the challenge. They were

offered a breakfast buffet with all items labeled by unit cost, so they could subtract the appropriate amount from their

$4.50. A hard-boiled egg was valued at 19 cents, a small chunk of orange a third that.



Some of the participants had been on food stamps or had worked with those who had. The way that they spoke about

food was very different from the vocabulary many of us in the Bay Area use. Organic, sustainable, innovative,

delicious? No. In lieu of the view of food as a source of pleasure or comfort, or of cooking as recreation, was the

sense of it as merely fuel, of which you needed to find the most cost-effective available.



Libia Bustamante of Brisbane was the one person at the roundtable who is currently receiving CalFresh benefits.

She’s a single mother of two who works part-time and studies accounting full-time. “I try to plan ahead my meals as

best as I can,” she said, “but if I’m late getting out of work, I find myself picking up my children from school, and the

kids are hungry, tired, moody, they have a bunch of homework I need to help them with, I have homework to do

myself...that’s when I end up going to the grocery store and picking up something quick to eat."


Bustamante said it was hard for her kids to see classmates bringing tastier fare to school. “But they have to

understand we have a limited budget. We shop for the whole week and that’s what we have to eat. They probably

don’t have enough snacks, but they have to learn that we can’t always satisfy ourselves. We have to control our

appetites and eat what we have.”



Representative Speier is experiencing her own version of lunchroom envy. From her Twitter feed: “Tough sitting with

friends at restaurant drinking water while they eat chips and salsa.”



Interested in taking the challenge yourself? The Food Research and ActionCenter, a public policy nonprofit,has the

how-to. And the state’s Department of Social Services has the details on CalFresh.

http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2011/11/02/congessmembers-take-food-stamp-challenge-eating-on-4-
50-a-day/




                                                                                                                    - 135 -
Mon, Oct 31, 2011 -- 1:04 PM

Rep. Speier Takes 'Food Stamp Challenge'


Rep. Speier Takes 'Food Stamp Challenge'
Peninsula Congresswoman Jackie Speier is one of eight members of Congress taking the Food Stamp
Challenge this week. They'll be spending no more than $4.50 per day on food.

http://www.kqed.org/a/kqednews/RN201110311304




                                                                                            - 136 -
MSNBC –




Al Sharpton Interview with Rep. Marcia Fudge




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ5aqipsbqg




                                               - 137 -
Congresswoman Barbara Lee Discusses Poverty and the Food Stamp
Challenge with Martin Bashir
Barbara Lee's House Member Office (D-CA-09) posted a Video on November 8, 2011 | 10:49 am




http://govne.ws/item/Congresswoman-Barbara-Lee-Discusses-Poverty-and-the-Food-Stamp-Challenge-
with-Martin-Bashir




                                                                                            - 138 -
Odyssey Networks –




Faith, Food Stamps and the Fight Against Hunger
Thu, 11/10/2011 - 20:41




Faith and political leaders recently united to call attention to the importance of the food stamp
program (SNAP), which keeps 46 million Americans from going hungry and may be at risk for budget
cuts. For one week, the clergy members and elected officials tried to try to feed themselves on the
average recipient's benefit -- $31.50. "We have to remember that a budget is a moral document, and
in that document we specify who matters and who doesn't," said Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN).

http://www.odysseynetworks.org/video/Faith-Food-Stamps-and-the-Fight-Against-Hunger




                                                                                             - 139 -
PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly -




October 28th, 2011
Faith Leaders Issue “Food Stamp Challenge”
In Washington, members of the faith community continued lobbying Congress to protect a program
that helps feed the poor. Religious leaders joined lawmakers at a Capitol Hill grocery store for what
they called the Food Stamp Challenge. Participants in the ―challenge‖ shopped for a week’s worth of
groceries but couldn’t spend more than $31.50 – the average allotment for those receiving food
assistance. Several commented on how hard it was to stay on budget.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/headlines/faith-leaders-issue-%E2%80%9Cfood-stamp-
challenge%E2%80%9D/9837/




                                                                                               - 140 -
Real Milwaukee –




You are here: Home / Community / Real Milwaukee gets preview of Food Stamp Challenge

Real Milwaukee gets preview of Food Stamp Challenge
November 1, 2011 by chris

Real Milwaukee gives you a look at the Hunger Task Force Food Stamp Challenge. The Food Stamp Challenge is a
week-long challenge where participants spend one week living on the average food stamp allotment for each meal.
This amounts to a food budget of $31.50 per meal, which is $4.50 per day, which is only $1.50 per meal including
beverages. This does not include food in your possession prior to the start of the challenge.

You can register for the Food Stamp Challenge on the Hunger Task Force website or call 414-777-0483 for more
information.




http://beta.realmilwaukeenow.com/2011/real-milwaukee-gets-preview-of-food-stamp-challenge/




                                                                                                             - 141 -
WFMJ NBC –



Valley leaders take part in a program to raise awareness about
poverty

Video Gallery




YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Could you live on just $31.50 worth of groceries a
week?
It's a painful reality that many of our neighbors face here in the Mahoning Valley.
To focus attention on the realities of hunger and poverty, a number of local
leaders are taking what's called the Food Stamp Challenge.
One of the participants, Valley Congressman Tim Ryan, was off to a healthy start
when he bought three pounds of bananas for 39-cents a pound at the Save-A-Lot
grocery store on Gypsy Lane.
The Congressman is one of at least 10 local leaders committed to taking the
Food Stamp Challenge. Vowing for one week to eat only the food they can
purchase with $31.50.
"I think a lot of us don't recognize how high the levels of poverty are right here in
our own community and half of the people living in poverty in Mahoning and
Trumbull County are under 18. These are our kids," Congressman Ryan said.


                                                                                 - 142 -
That small stipend of just over 30 dollars is what a single adult is allotted under
the food stamp program.
"One in six Americans are struggling with food insecurity and unfortunately here
in the Valley we have the third worst rate of families that could go hungry in the
country," said Bonnie Deutsch Burdman, Jewish Community Relations Council
Director.
Burdman says the ultimate message is to raise awareness and use it as a
springboard to take action because hunger hurts. "We want to lobby Congress to
make sure the supplemental nutrition assistance program is maintained. It's a
program that works and it keeps people from starving."
http://www.wfmj.com/story/15919309/valley-leaders-take-part-in-a-program-to-raise-awareness-
about-poverty




                                                                                           - 143 -
WJLA ABC 7 –




Challenge prods Americans to shop like food-stamp recipients
By Greta Kreuz

October 27, 2011 - 05:19 pm


Elected officials and activists joined faith groups in a program that challenges
Americans to spend one week living like the 49 million food stamp recipients.

For the national food stamp challenge that kicked off at a District Safeway teams that
each included a food stamp recipient tried to shop for a weeks' worth of food.


                                                                                    - 144 -
D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton participated, reminding her team
participants to stay away from expensive items that food-stamp recipients wouldn‘t be
able to afford.

Food stamp recipients get an average of $31.50 per person per week, which translates to
$4.50 a day.

Vannessa Sherrod has six children to feed with food stamps. Asked if the money was
enough, she replied ―not really, but I'm blessed for what I have.‖

―These benefits make the difference between going hungry and having food for yourself
and your families,‖ said Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Barack Obama.

At the checkout, it didn't take much to go over the limit.

―I bought what was cheapest, but it probably wasn't the greatest nutritional content,‖
said Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA.

The program also aims to highlight the importance of food stamps for struggling
families as Congress is searching for ways to cut trillions of the budget.

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2011/10/challenge-prods-americans-to-shop-like-food-stamp-recipients-
68425.html




                                                                                            - 145 -
WKBN 27 –




Leaders Begin Food Stamp Challenge




Could you live for a week only on the food you could buy with less than $32?

That is literally the challenge being taken this week by a number of local political, community and
religious leaders.

The national Food Stamp Challenge was initiated several years ago to focus attention on the
problems facing the less fortunate in this country.

To make their point, the participants will try to get through this week eating only what they could buy
at the Save-A-Lot store on Youngstown's North Side using $31.50.

That's the standard food stamp allotment for a single adult.

"It becomes a question of making healthy choices on the food stamp allotment, and also having
access to the healthy choices," said Bonnie Deutsch Burdman of the Youngstown Area Jewish
Federation.



                                                                                                 - 146 -
Organizers of the local event claim the Mahoning Valley has the third highest rate in the nation of
families who are experiencing some form of what officials call "food insecurity."

The aim of the program is to convince lawmakers to continue funding the country's Supplemental
Nutritional Assistance Program.

http://www.wkbn.com/content/news/local/story/Leaders-Begin-Food-Stamp-Challenge/sCtmA-
Ps4ki9JJBfXVLkUw.cspx




                                                                                                - 147 -
WKRN-TV ABC 2 –




Mid-State residents participate in 'Food Stamp Challenge'
Posted: Oct 24, 2011 5:09 PM EDT


By Lauren Murphy, Reporter - bio | email




NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

Could you feed yourself on $31.50 a week?

That's just $4.50 a day and $1.50 a meal. One in four Tennesseans do, not by choice, but because
they're surviving on food stamps.

Nashville's News 2's Lauren Murphy joined about 50 other Mid-State residents including city council
members, executives at non-profits and religious leaders for the Food Stamp Challenge.

From Monday until Sunday, participants of the challenge will live on what the average food stamp
allotment allows.

Participants had varying reasons for stepping up to the challenge.

"We hope we can really truly better understand the need for the government to provide this service and
not cut it," said Fran Rajotte, advocacy leader for Catholic Charities of Tennessee.

Council member Jason Holleman told Nashville's News 2 he got his whole family on board.

                                                                                                   - 148 -
He said right now, his two year-old and four year-old old children are excited, but that may soon change.

"I think it may sink it a little differently when we get mid-week and they want to get some ice cream," said
Holleman.

He continued, "I certainly want them to understand that everybody is not able to go to the grocery store
and get whatever they want."

The Holleman family is taking on the added challenge of eating fresh and unprocessed foods while
staying within budget.

"It's really hard to make an organic choice," Holleman admitted.

Council member Lonnell Matthews typically eats lean turkey, but instead he stocked up on Hamburger
Helper and ground beef.

He spent 1/3 of his budget on the meat, but was confident he could make it last.

Mathews thought of his own mother and father who received food stamps during part of his childhood.

"It gives me much more appreciation for what they did to support my family."

As for Nashville's News 2's Lauren Murphy, she purchased macaroni, bread, butter, turkey, cheese, one
box of cereal, a half gallon of milk, three apples and a bag of oranges for $21.45 at the Kroger located on
Clarksville Highway .

That amount leaves Lauren just more than $10 for the rest of the week.

You can follow Lauren's experience on Twitter and Facebook.

http://www.wkrn.com/story/15863401/mid-state-residents-participate-in-food-stamp-challenge




                                                                                                      - 149 -
Week-long 'Food Stamp Challenge' comes to end
Posted: Oct 30, 2011 12:05 PM EDTUpdated: Oct 30, 2011 06:25 PM


By Lauren Murphy, Reporter - bio | email




The Food Stamp Challenge for dozens of Mid-State residents came to a close on Sunday.

Nashville's News 2's Lauren Murphy joined about 50 members from the community including nonprofit
workers, clergy members and city council members to better understand what the hungry endure on a
daily basis by spending just more than $30 per week on food.

City Councilman Jason Holleman and his wife participated in this year's challenge for a second time,
though this year their two young children were also on board.

Four year-old Cecelia was keenly aware of the challenges imposed.

"It means you can't have a treat or anything," she explained.

The average allotment of food stamps equates to $31.50 a week, allowing Holleman to spend $126
dollars for his entire family.

The Holleman's stayed within budget, but they had some roadblocks.

"It's a lot harder to spend the money on fresh food and vegetables when you can put more food on the
table with high-carb fatty foods," said Holleman.

He told Nashville's News 2 he would like to see food stamp recipients incentivized to use their allotment
on healthy foods.


                                                                                                     - 150 -
Holleman also said he noticed the challenge isolated him and his family from social activities.

"A lot of what we do in the neighborhood with friends centers around a meal, and you're just not able to
do that on this kind of a budget," he said.

After nearly a week of living on $4.50 a day, Nashville's News 2's Lauren Murphy said she faced a similar
situation.

She said that during the week with the limited budget it was more difficult to spend money on fresh food
and vegetables and had no choice but to eat pre-packaged high carb foods such as macaroni and
cheese.

Murphy said overall she was able to stick by the guidelines of the challenge, but did splurge on one meal
out with friends on Saturday.

Holleman said that he hopes that he along with the other participants of the challenge will help others
realize just how many Tennesseans are struggling to put food on the table.

"I hope we realize that there are a lot of families that struggle with feeding their family and it's important to
support those efforts to be sure everyone in our community is able to sit around the tale with their family
and enjoy dinner," he said.

http://www.wkrn.com/story/15908684/food-stamp-challenge-comes-to-an-end




                                                                                                          - 151 -
    WLFI 18 –




    Could you survive on $1.50 a meal?
    Community members take the food stamp challenge
    Published : Sunday, 30 Oct 2011, 6:10 PM EDT

   Alex Deiro

    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Several members of the Greater Lafayette community are limiting themselves to
    $1.50 per meal for an entire week, in order to raise awareness for food stamp programs, and prove just how difficult it
    can be to eat healthy on a limited budget.

    "It does sound like a crazy thing, doesn't it? To live on a $1.50 a meal. It's $4.50 a day, $31.50 a week," said
    challenge participant Patti O'Callaghan.

    O'Callaghan planned her latest trip to the grocery store with care. Knowing that she has a little over thirty dollars to
    spend on her weekly food allotment. She's participating in the food stamp challenge to raise awareness for food
    stamp, or SNAP, programs across the nation.

    "Right now when there is all this talk about the budget, and the deficit, and the super committee, there is a real
    concern that some of these safety net programs will be cut," said O'Callaghan.

    But she's not the only one locally involved in the challenge. Sheila Graveel and her husband are also going to start
    budgeting their meals next week. Graveel said she wanted to participate to show her solidarity with those in need.

    "It's one thing to read about, it's another to experience it, so I want to do that. I want to see if it's possible to eat
    healthy and make it through," said Graveel.

    O'Callaghan said the average length of time someone spends using the food stamp or SNAP program is nine
    months. O'Callaghan worries food assistance programs could soon be on the chopping block, and local food pantries
    and outreach programs won't be able to help those who need it.

    "We all do something, but even all the things put together can't equal the amount of government programs. So when
    people say, 'Let the private sector do it, let charitable donations do it,' they can't," said O'Callaghan.

    There will be a showing of the documentary 'Food Stamped', about a couple living the Food Stamp Challenge on
    Wednesday at the Trinity United Methodist Church at 6:30 p.m.




                                                                                                                                - 152 -
http://www.wlfi.com/dpp/news/local/could-you-survive-on-%241.50-a-meal




                                                                         - 153 -
WJACTV -



Lawmakers participate in week-long food stamp challenge




With Congress focused on cutting the deficit, more than 50 religious groups around the country have challenged their
congregations, activists, lawmakers and others to live on what food stamp recipients live on for a week.

http://www.wjactv.com/videos/news/lawmakers-participate-in-week-long-food-stamp/vD287/




                                                                                                             - 154 -
WJW-TV Fox 8 –




Rep. Fudge Goes on Food Stamps for Hunger Awareness
By Annette LawlessFox 8 News Reporter
6:59 p.m. EST, November 7, 2011




CLEVELAND—
Sometimes, it's hard to pay off everyday things, but a local congresswoman is hoping to survive on $5 a day.

"This week, I am shopping on a $31 budget to bring attention to hunger in this country," said Rep. Marcia Fudge, a

democrat from District 11, "and the fact that in Washington, where I work every day, people are talking about cutting

back on food stamps."

With federal budget cuts, Rep. Fudge said food stamp programs are likely to be the first to go, but they are a vital part

of the Cleveland community.

Nearly 45.2 Americans have filed for food stamp programs this year--that's about one out of seven people.

About 20 percent of those in District 11 are enrolled in the food-assistance program, like Lena Boswell.

Boswell and her two children have survived on the program ever since she lost her jobs two years ago.

"Living on a budget isn't impossible," she said. "Truly, you just need to do a little homework. Think about it. Make a
list. Make a menu. Don't shop hungry."

In addition to scouring sales ads, Boswell said she also heads to different stores for different deals, including ethnic

                                                                                                                   - 155 -
markets for cheap spices and produce.

With Boswell's help, Rep. Fudge was able to find a few sales and grab some go-to things she needed. Her total bill:

$22.65.

"I might need to save some and buy a hot dog on the street or something, so I need to save my money," she said.

"As a nation, we can't lose our moral compass. If we can't feed each other, then we have really lost our way."



http://www.fox8.com/news/politics/wjw-rep-fudge-food-stamps-hunger-awareness-
txt,0,1112289.story




                                                                                                                 - 156 -
WPRI-12 -




Could you feed yourself for $4.50/day?
Anti-poverty activists launch food stamp challenge
Updated: Tuesday, 25 Oct 2011, 12:32 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 25 Oct 2011, 7:04 AM EDT
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Anti-poverty activists are challenging Rhode Island residents to spend just $4.50 a day on
food for a week as part of a campaign to draw attention to the importance of funding for food stamp programs.

The Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Fight Poverty With Faith is conducting a "Food Stamp Challenge" beginning
Thursday in which participants will be asked to spend on food the national average received by food stamp recipients.
That translates into $31.50 over a week, or $1.50 a meal.

Participants are asked not to spend more than $31.50 per family member on food and beverages during the week.

All food consumed during Challenge Week, including food that is bought from a restaurant, must be included in the
total spending.

The challenge also says that only food purchased for the project should be eaten; items purchased prior to Oct. 27
should not be consumed, nor should food offered by outside parties.

Advocates say that more than 160,600 people in Rhode Island received food stamp benefits in June, a record
number.

Rhode Island's "Food Stamp Challenge" is part of a nationwide campaign. The launch is being held at the Rhode
Island Community Food Bank in Providence. It runs from October 27 to Nov. 3.

To register for the program, visit the Web site:www.fightingpovertywithfaith.com




                                                                                                              - 157 -
http://www.wpri.com/dpp/news/local_news/providence/anti-poverty-activists-launch-food-stamp-
challenge?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=wprifeed




                                                                                          - 158 -
WPRO News Talk 630 –




Coalition advocates for more money for food stamps
Posted: 10/26/2011 11:46:14 AM
Updated: 10/26/2011 1:54:54 PM

The Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Fight Poverty is officially launching the Food Stamp
challenge at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. The program is
part of a nationwide campaign asking people to live on $4.50 a day worth of food or $31.50 for the
week.



The goal is to raise awareness to continue and not cut federal funding for Supplemental Nutrition
Assistance Program, SNAP, or commonly called food stamps.

―We are about to face cutbacks on the federal level that is going to affect children and women in
particular in the next year,‖ Marty Cooper of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island tells
WPRO News.

He hopes the program will raise awareness of those who are most in need and encourage the
government to continue food stamp programs and potentially invest more in the program.

Cooper told WPRO news the program hopes ―to get people to advocate that the government not have
any more cutbacks in the snap program as well as other nutritional programs but also for them to
advocate for people to get possibly more money for food stamps if the monies are available.‖

Lt. Governor will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony.


Dee DeQuattro | 630wpro.com news
http://630wpro.com/Article.asp?id=2319720&spid=37719




                                                                                                - 159 -
WTHR NBC 13 –




Food Stamp Challenge highlights issue of hunger
Posted: Nov 03, 2011 4:23 PM EDTUpdated: Nov 03, 2011 4:59 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS -

Could you feed yourself for $31 per week? That's about $1.50 per meal, and that's the challenge
someone on food stamps faces every day.

The Food Stamp Challenge is an effort to raise awareness of hunger in the United States. It asks you to try
living on $1.50 per meal.

David Sklar with the Jewish Community Relations Council is trying the challenge. He joined Eyewitness
News at Noon to talk about the experience, and why he's doing it.

"Shopping was definitely the biggest eye-opening experience for me - going in and wondering why one
loaf of bread was $1.27 and one was $1.12. Can I really afford produce, which I didn't get much of? What
are the really cheap brands, what can I make stretch for multiple days?" he said.

$31 is the average food stamp benefit per person in the United States. It amounts to $1.50 per meal.

For breakfast, Sklar says you could have a banana. But he admitted, "I'm sort of foregoing breakfast for
the week. I couldn't figure out how to make it work with what I normally eat for breakfast, like a bagel,
some juice and maybe a piece of fruit."

For lunch, he relied on canned tuna, peanut butter and jelly and cheap brands of bread.

"Obviously you can't afford the more nutritious wheat breads," he said.

At dinner, he stretched a pound of beef over two nights. He also had pasta and frozen chicken.

Sklar says the people participating in this challenge are advocates professionally and personally. "They
are interested in helping people - our vulnerable population and they're advocating for policies. So
obviously the first reason that many of us are doing this is to get a better understanding of what it means
to be hungry and what it means to live on food stamps. The second is to advocate for the food stamp
program and other nutrition programs. The SNAP program -what used to be food stamps - fed 45 million
Americans last year and lifted almost 4 million out of poverty."

Sklar and other advocates are concerned about Congress reducing benefits or changing the funding to
the program.

http://www.wthr.com/story/15954272/food-stamp-challenge-highlights-issue-of-hunger




                                                                                                      - 160 -
WTOV 9 –




Lawmakers participate in week-long food stamp challenge




With Congress focused on cutting the deficit, more than 50 religious groups around the country have challenged their
congregations, activists, lawmakers and others to live on what food stamp recipients live on for a week.

http://www.wtov9.com/videos/news/lawmakers-participate-in-week-long-food-stamp/vD289/




                                                                                                             - 161 -
WTVF-TV 5 –




Food-Stamp Shopping Challenge Proves Difficulty Of Small Budget
Posted: Oct 24, 2011 9:22 PM EDTUpdated: Oct 25, 2011 6:09 AM EDT




NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It's a challenge for thousands of families in
Tennessee every night to put dinner on the table at an affordable
price. For those on food stamps, it's even harder. Their budget is only
$1.50 per meal.

Could you survive on $4 for food per day? Thousands of Tennesseans
on food stamps do it every week, and now some local politicians are
taking on the challenge in their own grocery cart.
Fifty people, including Metro Council members, took a challenge to go
shopping on a food stamp budget to experience how difficult it really
is. They filled their carts with Ramen Noodles, discount produce and
generic brands Monday, all in an effort to experience how tough it is
for the 440,000 Tennesseans living on food stamps.
"Normally when I walk into a grocery store, I have a list, and if
something is not on the list I can see it and buy it. With food stamps
and the $31.50 budget, I really have to be sure what I am buying is
going to fit into that," said Judith Saks.

                                                                    - 162 -
Participants and sponsors hope it will bring a new understanding of the
challenge for those living on a food stamp budget. Participants want to
bring awareness to just how hard it is and bring an end to talks of
federal funding cuts to the program. A mother of five on food stamps
said with the increased cost of food prices, she can barely put enough
food on the table as is. A cut to the program could be devastating for
families like hers.
"It's hard. You stretch. You worry. How am I going to have this have
that, and you do whatever it takes," said Shae Johnson.
One out of every five Tennesseans is living on food stamps, and with
food prices going up, they say it's crucial that federal funding for this
program remains intact.
The sponsors of this challenge said if every member of Congress had
to live on food stamps for just a week, there is little chance anyone
would vote to cut funding to the program
http://www.newschannel5.com/story/15865091/food-stamp-shopping-challenge-proves-difficulty-of-
small-budget




                                                                                          - 163 -
WYTV ABC 33 -




Leaders Begin Food Stamp Challenge

Last Update: 10/31 4:57 pm




Could you live for a week only on the food you could buy with less than $32?

That is literally the challenge being taken this week by a number of local political, community
and religious leaders.

The national Food Stamp Challenge was initiated several years ago to focus attention on the
problems facing the less fortunate in this country.

To make their point, the participants will try to get through this week eating only what they could
buy at the Save-A-Lot store on Youngstown's North Side using $31.50.



                                                                                             - 164 -
That's the standard food stamp allotment for a single adult.

"It becomes a question of making healthy choices on the food stamp allotment, and also having
access to the healthy choices," said Bonnie Deutsch Burdman of the Youngstown Area Jewish
Federation.

Organizers of the local event claim the Mahoning Valley has the third highest rate in the nation
of families who are experiencing some form of what officials call "food insecurity."

The aim of the program is to convince lawmakers to continue funding the country's Supplemental
Nutritional Assistance Program.


http://www.wytv.com/content/news/local/story/Leaders-Begin-Food-Stamp-Challenge/sCtmA-
Ps4ki9JJBfXVLkUw.cspx




                                                                                            - 165 -
WZTV Fox 17 –




Tennesseans Taking Food Stamp Challenge
Feeding a family of four on food stamps takes sacrifices.

Metro Council Member Jason Holleman experienced that first hand Monday when he volunteered his family to take
the Food Stamp Challenge.

A weekly food stamp budget would only leave him with $122 a week for food.

With so little, milk was the only organic product he could afford and homemade spaghetti was out of the question.

"We actually typically would chop up tomatoes and maybe tomato paste fresh mushrooms garlic but that costs a lot
more than 89 cents (a can)," said Holleman.

The so-called Food Stamp Challenge is a nationwide event to illustrate what Kendreya Pettiford already knows.

She says food stamps alone only pay for about half of her food budget.

"I don't know how people can do it every day," said Pettiford. "I'm fortunate to have a job that works with it."

A number of community leaders joined Holleman Monday in taking part in the Challenge.

One thing several noticed immediately is that fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to afford.

The challenge is also more difficult if you're single because food stamps provide less money overall.

Council Member Lonnell Matthews is living on $31.50.

That means a lot of Hamburger Helper.



                                                                                                                   - 166 -
"The most difficult decision is probably getting the ground beef I usually eat ground turkey," said Matthews. "It was
more difficult than I thought it would be."
                                                                             Tuesday, October 25 2011, 03:22 AM CDT



http://fox17.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/wztv_vid_9666.shtml




                                                                                                             - 167 -
Online Media –
ABC News –




By Katie   Bosland
Oct 26, 2011 3:36pm
Congressman, Family Live on Food Stamp Budget for a Week
Calling proposals to cut food stamp funding ―tearing the safety net to shreds,‖ Rep. Joe Courtney
decided one week ago that it wasn‘t enough just to disagree.

For the past week and concluding today, Courtney, D-Conn., his wife Audrey and 16-year-old
daughter Elizabeth have been living on a food stamp budget, experiencing what little can actually
bought for $32.59 per person, per week, or $1.59 per meal, and blogging and tweeting about the
process.

The week is called taking the ―SNAP Challenge‖ after the national food stamp program run through
the U.S. Department of Agriculture, The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, that provides
low-income households with healthful foods within reach out their budgets.

Citing proposals submitted to a congressional debt-reduction supercommittee to decrease funding
for SNAP, as well as outspoken Rep. Paul Ryan‘s, R-Wis., budget plan and the cuts it would
bring, Courtney said, ―People [have got] to remember we‘re going through an economy with 9
percent unemployment. … When that happens, really by and large, the only public assistance that is
left is SNAP.‖

Courtney added that ―the reality of people depending on SNAP is obvious in the near future, and
going backwards is going to be … a real strain on the safety net.‖

ABC News spoke to the congressman while he was on his third cup of tea this morning with the same
tea bag.

Saying that the week has been ―harder‖ than he had imagined, he added, ―You definitely learn some
of these tricks to stretch your $4-a-day allotment.‖




                                                                                               - 168 -
In addition to shopping at different supermarkets than usual to find better deals, he cited switching
from whole grain to white tortillas for enchiladas, buying produce of a lesser quality as long as it was
cheaper, and going a bit hungry just to stretch the money out throughout the week.

―It was not hard to visualize the sort of pressure, obvious need, for people who are depending on $4 a
day to go to food banks and soup kitchens,‖ he told ABC News, as it becomes hard to stretch the
existing funding as is.

However, not everyone in Congress would agree.

Just this week Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., told ABC News on Topline that ―When [the food stamp
program] started it was one in 50 people on the food stamp program. Now, it‘s one in seven. Lottery
winners, multimillion-dollar lottery winners are getting food stamps because that money is
considered to be an asset, not an income.‖

It remains to be seen if the food stamp cuts proposed by the House and Senate agriculture
committees will actually be included in the final proposal to be submitted by the debt-reduction
Super Committee. The Super Committee‘s proposal for reducing the deficit by $1.5 trillion is due
Nov. 23.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/10/congressman-family-live-on-food-stamps-for-a-week/




                                                                                                  - 169 -
    ABC 5 -




    Congresswoman Marcia Fudge participates in food stamp challenge




      Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

    Posted: 2:26 PM
    Last Updated: 1 hour and 11 minutes ago


   By: Ted Kortan, newsnet5.com
    CLEVELAND - Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH) took the role of a food stamp recipient on
    Monday. Fudge went shopping at a local grocery store and spent no more than $31.30, the average
    weekly allotment for a food stamp recipient.
    The amount works out to $4.50 a day per person, or $1.50 for each meal.
    Fudge was taking part in a national food stamp challenge, part of the "Fighting Poverty Through
    Faith, Working Together to End Hunger" mobilization campaign.
    The effort seeks to raise awareness about hunger and poverty and defend the food stamp program.
    "In June, a staggering 45.2 million Americans filed for food stamps because they are living in poverty
    -- that's one in seven Americans," said Fudge. "The need is certainly great in our community, with 20
    percent of the residents of my district receiving food stamps."
    Watch NewsChannel5 Monday night as we shop with Congresswoman Fudge and hear how she
    intends to work to save the food stamp program from proposed cuts in the federal budget.
    You can follow Fudge's food stamp journey on Twitter: twitter.com/marciafudge and on
    Facebook: http://on.fb.me/spj4jH

     http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/local_news/cleveland_metro/congresswoman-marcia-fudge-participates-in-food-
    stamp-challenge#ixzz1d3yjkFkH




                                                                                                                                            - 170 -
    Congresswoman Fudge says she's always hungry on food stamp
    experiment

    Posted: 11/11/2011

   By: Ellen McGregor, newsnet5.com

   Ted Kortan contributed to this report

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - A local congresswoman living an experiment that is the equivalent of a food
    assistance program said she's been hungry all week.
    "You're hungry all the time, because you really don't want to eat too much because you want to
    make sure you stretch it far enough to get through the week," said Congresswoman Marcia Fudge
    (D-OH).
    "Let me tell ya, it's rough. I haven't even eaten yet today because I'm out of bananas. That was my
    breakfast food," Fudge said.
    NewsChannel5 caught up with Fudge on Friday morning at the Louis Stokes Veterans Affairs
    Medical Center on East Blvd. She was helping with the unveiling of a new portrait of retired
    Congressman Louis Stokes.
    "You're always wondering what your next meal is, which is something I never thought about before,"
    Fudge said.
    Fudge began the experiment on Monday when she went grocery shopping. She had to spend less
    than $31.30, the amount the average food stamp recipient receives each week.
    The amount works out to $4.50 a day per person, or $1.50 for each meal.
    The congresswoman ends her food assistance experiment on Sunday.
    "People who work all day, or have kids, I don't know how they do it," Fudge said.
    Fudge is taking part in a national food stamp challenge, part of the "Fighting Poverty Through Faith,
    Working Together to End Hunger" mobilization campaign.
    Congresswoman Fudge is one of 12 legislators taking the food stamp challenge. She told
    NewsCannel5 some Washington lawmakers want to make cuts to the food stamp program as part of
    the federal deficit reduction effort.
    You can follow Fudge's food stamp experiment on Twitter: twitter.com/marciafudge and on
    Facebook: http://on.fb.me/spj4jH
    Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




    Read more: http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/local_news/cleveland_metro/congresswoman-fudge-says-shes-
    always-hungry-on-food-stamp-experiment#ixzz1dorXjJiW




                                                                                                                                          - 171 -
Addicting Info –




California Congresswoman To Try Living Off Food Stamps Budget
October 29, 2011

By Wendy Gittleson




In California, the food stamps program, called SNAP, provides its recipients a total of $136.75 per month per
person for food. That averages out to roughly $4.50 per day. In today‘s economy, about one in seven
Americans live on food stamps.

According to SNAP‘s website, to qualify, a person must have an income of less than $908 per month. SNAP
covers all raw foods, including produce, dairy, meat and packaged foods, but it does not cover food consumed
onsite, hot foods, cigarettes or alcohol.

California Congresswoman, Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, will participate in a food stamps
challenge in which she will eat on a food budget of $4.50 a day for five days.

Her office states, ―with the poverty rate in the U.S. at a historic high of over 15 percent, she wants to
experience firsthand how a growing number of Americans are forced to live in this tough economy.‖

To put it in perspective, the average person spends about $10 per day on food.

According to the San Mateo Patch, Speier is assembling a group in the community to participate in the Food
Stamp Challenge. Students, faculty and staff at one Southern California college are undertaking a similar
challenge this Sunday in which members of Occidental College will try to feed themselves for a week on the
same $4.50 per day budget.


                                                                                                            - 172 -
How many Addicting Info readers are willing to take up the challenge?

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2011/10/29/california-congresswoman-to-try-living-off-food-stamps-
budget/




                                                                                             - 173 -
Associated Press –

Included in :




Anti-poverty activists launch food stamp challenge

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Anti-poverty activists are challenging Rhode Island residents to spend
just $4.50 a day on food for a week as part of a campaign to draw attention to the
importance of funding for food stamp programs.

The Rhode Island Interfaith Coalition to Fight Poverty With Faith is conducting a "Food
Stamp Challenge" beginning Thursday in which participants will be asked to spend on food
the national average received by food stamp recipients. That translates into $31.50 over a
week, or $1.50 a meal.

Advocates say that more than 160,600 people in Rhode Island received food stamp benefits
in June, a record number.

Rhode Island's "Food Stamp Challenge" is part of a nationwide campaign. The launch is
being held at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank in Providence.

© Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or
redistributed.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/rhode_island/articles/2011/10/25/anti_poverty_activists_launch_f
ood_stamp_challenge/



                                                                                                                       - 174 -
Included in:




Indiana interfaith, anti-hunger leaders take challenge to feed selves
on $31.50 for 7 days
Posted: 9:44 AM Nov 2, 2011


INDIANAPOLIS — Interfaith and anti-hunger advocates across Indiana are
feeding themselves on the average food stamp benefit of $31.50 for one
week.



                                                                    - 175 -
Jewish Community Relations Council director of government affairs David
Sklar says his organization, the Indiana chapter of the National Association
of Social Workers and Lafayette Urban Ministry are among about a dozen
groups around the state taking what's known nationally as the Food Stamp
Challenge between Oct. 27 and Nov. 10.

Along with other participants around the country including several members
of Congress, the Indiana participants will try to feed themselves on just
$31.50 for seven days during the two-week period. The idea is to get
participants to personally experience the challenge of daily hunger so they
can better understand the struggles that many Americans face daily.

http://www.greenfieldreporter.com/view/story/f9bc098fa6744fcdb048c2215a24d0c9/IN--Food-
Stamp-Challenge/




                                                                                   - 176 -
    Belmont Patch –



    Congresswoman Tastes Life on Food Stamps
    Congresswoman Jackie Speier challenged to only spend $4.50 a day on food.

   November 6, 2011

    She was hungry. She thought about food constantly. She envied others their fancy lattes that cost as much as
    she spent on food for a day.


    She ate tuna casserole several days in a row.


    U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier today described the experience of eating for a week on $4.50 a day -- the average
    amount allotted per person to food stamp recipients -- as uncomfortable but "profound."


    Speier and other members of Congress last week undertook the Food Stamp Challenge to get a better sense of
    what life is like for those living on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Nearly 15 percent of the
    U.S. population was using the program as of August, according to the Wall Street Journal.


    "I realized how differently people live who are on the edge," said Speier, who said that a family of four is only
    eligible for food stamps if they earn less than $22,000 a year.
    Roughly 100,000 people in San Mateo County use food stamps, Speier said last month.

    "In San Mateo County, living on $22,000 a year and factoring in the rent, you know they're living on the edge
    if they're making less than that," she said today.

    Marge Colapietro, the vice mayor of Millbrae, also undertook the challenge along with Speier, and said the
    experience made it clear how hard it would be to feed a family on food stamps.

    "My mind was constantly thinking about the people who are on the food assistance program and what they go
    through as a family," Colapietro said. "It was incomprehensible to me how families on the program can
    manage, to me they're heroes in the truest sense of the word."

    At the national level, Speier said the funding for food stamps is in jeopardy. A proposal from Senator Jeff
    Sessions, R-Alabama, would cut $9 billion from the program, despite growing demand fueled by
    rising unemployment.



                                                                                                              - 177 -
"This is a good time to make the case," Speier said. "Americans are getting poorer and we need to speak up for
the silent folks."

--Bay City News

http://belmont-ca.patch.com/articles/congresswoman-tastes-life-on-food-stamps-6d05c088




                                                                                                       - 178 -
BET –




The Politics of Food
Capitol Hill lawmakers participate in Food Stamp Challenge to shine a light on poverty.
By Joyce Jones
Posted: 10/26/2011 08:37 AM EDT
Filed Under Congressional Black Caucus, Republican Party




Could you survive on a food budget of less than $5 per day? Many Americans do. Recent statistics from
the Agriculture Department show that the number of people relying on food stamps has risen from
41,836,469 in June 2010 to 45,344,946 in July 2011, both figures a substantial increase from the
33,489,975 people participating in the program in 2009.


In an effort to call attention to their plight and hopefully prevent proposed budget cuts to the Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a group of congressional lawmakers, in partnership with faith-
based organizations, will kick off a Food Stamp Challenge on Thursday, in which each participant will
spend up to one week living on a daily food budget of $4.50.


Former Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman Barbara Lee of California, who is spearheading the
effort on Capitol Hill and knows from personal experience what it’s like to live on a limited food budget,
has participated in the effort before.




                                                                                                       - 179 -
―It was very difficult and it’s not a healthy diet. I bought bent cans of lima beans, because they were
cheaper and waited for the specials at fast food stores like Taco Bell,‖ she recalls, adding that sometimes
the paltry budget, which was even less than this year, didn’t always provide three meals per day.


In addition, much of what she ate had high sugar, sodium and food levels. Toward the end of the
challenge, Lee feared that she would deplete the allotted funds and began researching food banks.


―It’s really important for members of Congress, not only to raise awareness, but it’s a moral responsibility,
I think, to help the least among us,‖ she said. ―We shouldn’t have food insecurity in our country but we
have millions of people who go to bed hungry at night.‖


According to Lee, more than half of food stamp recipients are children and eight percent are elderly. The
substantial increase in recent years can be attributed to the recession. USDA statistics show that in 2010,
22 percent of participating households were African-American and 35.7 were white. But the proposed
House budget would cut the SNAP program by $137 billion over ten years and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-
Alabama) is proposing similar cuts. He also believes that the program is rife with fraud, and is proposing
an amendment that would tighten eligibility as well as fighting a proposed $9 billion increase to the
program, ABC Newsreports.


―We cannot do this. We don’t have the money,‖ he said. ―We need people working with jobs, not receiving
food stamps.‖

(Photo: REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)

http://www.bet.com/news/politics/2011/10/26/the-politics-of-food.html




                                                                                                          - 180 -
Bread New Mexico –




FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2011


Rabbi Steve Gutow: Hunger is a Form of Slavery
Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, recently took
the Food Stamp Challenge, which gives participants a view of what life can be like for
millions of low-income Americans.

Most participants take the Challenge for one week, living on about $4 per day worth of food
– the average food stamp benefit. Challenge participants are forced to make difficult food
shopping choices, and often realize how difficult it is to avoid hunger, afford nutritious
foods, and stay healthy.




While the challenge is primarily a practical exercise, there is a spiritual element in stepping
back and living life with less.

The difference between people like me and those with limited means is that after taking the
challenge we can go back to our middle-class lifestyle. Rabbi Gutow offers his experiences
in an article he wrote in The Huffington Post.

Here are the first two paragraphs

Looking at my dwindling stash of food the last few days caused me strange sensations of
fear, fragility, and questions about the world. I admit I was a little dizzy at times and
euphoric at other times. I was bored with what I was eating, concentrating on husbanding
my last drops of yoghurt, milk, and corn flakes. Eating my first non-food stamp meal
yesterday at a New York Indian restaurant with my good friend, John Ruskay, where the

                                                                                          - 181 -
meal itself cost close to $25.00, showed me in high relief what the challenge could not
allow.

As a Jew I remember that in Egypt my people were enslaved thousands of years ago.
Hunger is a form of slavery and my mind kept focusing on the time in Egypt. On Passover
we say that we were slaves in Egypt intending to show that we are part of an ongoing
recollection of that period in the history of my people. The end of the food stamp challenge
filled me with a deeper capacity to empathize. I felt that not only were we slaves but as I
stared at the attrition of my food supply, I felt like I understood the Israelite condition more
than I had ever understood it before. We were slaves as the liturgy taught but I felt like I
was a slave and that I will now be even more a slave to the ongoing need to stop hunger
among my people all through the world.

                                       Read Full Piece

People from all walks of life have taken the challenge: social workers, anti-hunger activists,
students accountants, lawyers, clergy and many others. Proponents are especially
interested in participation from members of Congress. That's why they created this
handy toolkit. Reps. Barbara Lee of California, Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri and Jim
McGovern of Massachusetts have taken the challenge. In this time of difficult budget
decisions, wouldn't it be great if all members of Congress took the challenge?

http://breadnm.blogspot.com/2011/11/rabbi-steve-gutow-hunger-is-form-of.html




                                                                                          - 182 -
The Christian Post –




Food Stamp Challenge: Interfaith Coalition Fights Poverty With Faith
Thu, Oct. 27, 2011 Posted: 03:41 PM EDT



Congressmen, clergy, and others gathered at the Capitol Hill Safeway Store in Southeast Washington, D.C., to kick
off the annual ―Fighting Poverty With Faith‖ program.

The feature initiative was the ―Food Stamp Challenge,‖ in which participants agreed to live for one week on the
average stamp food allotment, which is $31.50 a week, or $1.50 a meal.

Speakers at the event, held outside on a rainy Thursday morning, included clergy from religious charities as well as
some Congressmen.

The major theme of the speeches was on the value of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP,
formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.

In an interview with The Christian Post, President and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs Rabbi Steve
Gutow, the first speaker at the event, said he believed that SNAP was crucial to poverty reduction.

In addition to SNAP, Gutow also believed that there should be ―significant work‖ done on other government programs
like Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Medicaid.

―I think there are some more specific programs that we need to deal with in terms of providing food, providing
distribution methodologies for the poor, housing for the poor,‖ said Gutow.

Gutow stated that while he considered corporations and businesses to be ―understandably nervous‖ about the
economy, they should still look toward doing more for the general population.

―I think [the private sector] can invest more than it does in terms of American workers.‖

The Rev. Peg Chemberlin, president of the National Council of Churches of Christ and another speaker, told CP that
SNAP and other government programs are of great importance.

―[SNAP] is a very central program. Medicaid is a central program. TEFAP is a very central program,‖ said
Chemberlin, who expressed concern about possible barriers to access to said programs.

―For an elderly woman who doesn’t drive, to go to the food shop, get her food stamps, go to the grocery store, go to
the TEFAP place. You know that’s a very hard way to feed oneself,‖ said Chemberlin.

―I think if there were some way to allow benefits to be accessed more easily like by the person we saw today, so she
could go to one place and get her TEFAP product, get her food stamps, have her Medicaid processed, have her
earned income tax benefits processed … Those are all big and important programs. They need to be supported, but
they need to be able to be accessed.‖

In addition to the JCPA and NCC, there are 50 other organizations endorsing the event including Catholic Charities,
the Islamic Society of North America, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church.




                                                                                                                  - 183 -
Michael Gryboski
Christian Post Contributor

http://www.christianpost.com/news/food-stamp-challenge-interfaith-coalition-fights-poverty-with-
faith-59598/




                                                                                              - 184 -
The Daily Journal –




Speier wraps up food stamp challenge
November 05, 2011, 02:47 AM By Heather Murtagh Daily Journal Staff



This week was noteworthy for U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier — it was only the second time in three years
of living at her Washington, D.C. apartment that she has cooked in the kitchen. And she made a
tuna casserole.

Speier, D-San Mateo, challenged herself to live on a food stamp budget for five days, starting
Monday, as an exercise to better understand the way an increasing number of people are living. The
U.S. poverty rate is at a high of 15 percent. Locally, food banks have seen demand steadily rise, in
some cases 50 percent within a year.

Speier’s challenge of living on $22.50 for five days, or a $4.50 daily food budget, showcases the
financial restraints with which one in seven Americans lives. On Friday, she recounted her week,
which included solidifying an earlier opinion against budget proposals to cut up to 25 percent of
funding to the food stamp program.

“A compassion-less budget is not something I will support,” she said.

At the beginning of the challenge, Speier acknowledged she was at an advantage. She used
direction and advice from nutritionists, had help shopping and, thanks to having access to
transportation, was able to visit multiple stores while shopping.

Sticking to the food she purchased was additionally challenging as Speier became keenly aware of
how often free food is offered at the Capitol.

Speier prepared a tuna casserole for herself at her Washington, D.C. apartment. Throughout the
week, her diet consisted mainly of hard-boiled eggs, tuna, lettuce and grapefruit. She didn’t skip out
on plans despite the tight budget. For example, she ordered water and accompanied staffers to
dinner but ate once home.

“This week has not been a comfort, but a profound experience,” she said.


http://www.smdailyjournal.com/article_preview.php?id=221946&title=Speier%20wraps%20up%20food
%20stamp%20challenge




                                                                                                         - 185 -
Daily Kos –




Thought experiments in poverty
By Laura Clawson for Daily Kos Labor


Pretending to be poor is a lot of work. That's both because being poor is a lot of
work and because, the more distance between a person and poverty, the less their
life is organized in a way that accommodates pretending.

Conducting the thought experiment of poverty, or some selected piece of poverty,
is a not uncommon way to try to convey, to oneself or to readers or listeners, the
appalling reality behind the statistics—like the 46.2 million people living in
poverty in the United States in 2010.

There's Barbara Ehrenreich's classic Nickel and Dimed, in which Ehrenreich spent a
month living in each of three places, to see if she could make ends meet at the jobs
she could get without her graduate degree, professional-writer credentials and
employment history. Writing in 2001, the scenario she posed was of a single
mother leaving welfare; how would such a woman survive in the labor and housing
market? Making the attempt—three times—without children, with her health, and
with whatever intangible benefits being middle-class might carry, Ehrenreich
worked as a waitress, a hotel housekeeper, a "Merry Maid," a nursing home dietary
aide and a Walmart employee. Even without lavish expenditures, she found that
there was no way to make ends meet with only one job at a time, but that working
two jobs made it harder to manage the commute necessary to get a cheap place to
live, or simply that finding two jobs with hours that would never overlap was a
struggle.

There's the fantastic online game Spent. Created by the Urban Ministries of
Durham, Spent walks you through a month as a low-wage worker, offering you
dilemma after dilemma, detailing the realities behind them and not letting you
pretend that there are perfect choices. In Spent, you have a kid, and even if you
can pretend you could go to work sick, refuse any pleasure, eat ramen noodles—
could you say no to sports or a gifted and talented class for your child? Spent
makes clear that your answer to each question might have a backlash just a little
down the road. And it uses Facebook to integrate the moments when, in real life,
you might need to ask a friend for help. Still, when Spent asks you to go grocery
shopping, it can be a lot easier to tell yourself that sure, you could live on ramen
noodles and beans than it would be to actually live on those things day in and day
out.


                                                                                - 186 -
That's where the food stamp challenge comes in. In the food stamp challenge,
you try to do all of your eating—for days or a week or, if you're really crazy,
longer—on the average food stamp budget. If it's not enough, there's no fooling
yourself. You're hungry, for real, even if food is the only area of your life where you
are—temporarily—on a poverty budget. Members of Congress and religious leaders
are encouraged to take the food stamp challenge; for lawmakers, it can make clear
the stakes of what they are voting on when they vote to add or cut funding from
the program.

For Rabbi Steve Gutow:
―All I think about is food and food,‖ he said, his voice trailing longingly over the
phone as he spoke from his apartment in New York City. [...]

People on rigid budgets are limited not only by what they can eat but also by what
they can do, Gutow said. ―It feels a bit like you‘re imprisoned,‖ he said. A lot of
mental energy is spent thinking about food, when it could be spent on something
else, he said. ―You can‘t be all you can be.‖

Four days into the challenge, Gutow started to feel like he did at the same point
during the 2007 challenge: ―dead in the senses.‖ No one should live like that, he
said.


For Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA):
―I thought about food constantly,‖ she said in a conference call. ―I still yearn for a
good cup of coffee. When I would see someone walking around with their coffee
cups around the Capitol, I just had this envy.‖

Speier said her diet consisted mostly of hard-boiled eggs and tuna. For her last
meal, she packed some leftover tuna casserole for her plane ride from Washington
to San Francisco.


One of the things the food stamp challenge lays bare is the degree to which it's not
just about getting enough food and not just about getting the right nutrients. It's
about your most basic assumptions of what a day of food looks like, of what
compromises are acceptable to make. Speier posted a YouTube video of another
woman preparing to do the food stamp challenge going through the first items in
her cart: a red pepper and a yellow one, a head of what looked like red leaf lettuce,
tomatoes, a jalapeno pepper a nub of fresh ginger, an avocado, a box of spaghetti.
She acknowledges that she doesn't yet have a protein, that she's going to be
hungry. Well, yeah.

Here's a woman who is taking on the challenge, and she's starting off the attempt
with close to a week's worth of vegetables on my buy-what-you-want, money-is-
no-object plan. And not cheap vegetables—red peppers and avocados are not
exactly the great deals of the produce section.


                                                                                   - 187 -
I felt competitive, I admit it. And that shamed me, because, well, what a damn
thing to be competitive over, and because here's a woman whose attempt at a
cheap diet looks a lot like the level of vegetable-eating I am proud to have achieved
in adulthood, and she's trying something I've never given any real thought to doing
myself.

The truth is I'm not sure what I really think about the utility of doing this. I
mean, Nickel and Dimed and Spent are important challenges to anyone who thinks
poverty is easy and they could succeed without any difficult tradeoffs. I think if
you're a member of Congress and you find yourself tempted to vote to cut
nutritional assistance, you should be required to spend a week eating on the budget
you're proposing to cut. But the people who need to do these things never do, and
does it make a difference if the people who already believe benefits should be
higher, the safety net should be stronger, and the economy should work for
working people live on a food stamp budget and confirm that yes, it sucks, and no,
no one should have to live that way? I'm honestly torn. But as punishment for my
flash of stupid, arrogant competitiveness, I decided to give it a shot. That story
comes next week.


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/20/1034017/-Thought-experiments-in-poverty?detail=hide




                                                                                         - 188 -
Learning from the food stamp challenge
By Laura Clawson for Daily Kos Labor

Last week, I wrote about thought experiments in poverty, and concluded that I
had to at least attempt the food stamp challenge, eating on an average
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamp) budget for a
week.

So how did I do? The top-line answer is ... fine, I guess. I learned some stuff, if
learning stuff is the goal. (And it better be in this case, because otherwise this piece
is just me telling you what I ate.) I only did five days, not the seven I'd planned,
but plenty of people go into it with that as their plan, and for those days I stuck to
my budget. I had been ambivalent starting out, because it's not clear it's all that
useful for people who already believe that, as I wrote, "benefits should be higher,
the safety net should be stronger, and the economy should work for working people
[to] live on a food stamp budget and confirm that yes, it sucks, and no, no one
should have to live that way," and also because I wanted to be careful not to turn it
into a game or a competition.

I did feel in danger of making a game of it as I planned for the challenge. I put
hours of planning into what I'd eat. Hours. I turned into the extreme couponer of
the food stamp challenge, obsessing over how to make it work. I wandered around
a grocery store taking notes, then went home and plotted out scenario after
scenario, knowing that in the end, everything could be shifted by a single weekly
special or by the price of one key item having gone up. Then I redid it all. I tracked
how long half a gallon of milk lasted me, for planning purposes. Little pieces of
paper on which I'd jotted possible shopping plans littered my living room.

All of my planning laid bare just how casual I am, how casual I can afford to be,
about food. If I'm eating it at home, I'm not thinking about how much it costs—
that's a concern I save for restaurant meals. What I do think about on a regular
basis is buying local, buying organic, buying antibiotic-free. I try to avoid eating
meat too often, but it's for environmental, not financial, reasons. I eat giant piles of
vegetables, mostly from the farmers market; one of the nights I was planning my
food stamp diet, trying to decide how I could afford enough vegetables, I ate a
dinner that incorporated broccoli, red and green pepper, cauliflower, onion, and bok
choy. So eating on a food stamp budget requires not just eating less but eating
differently, changing the set of concerns I bring to meal planning.*

The planning—and, let's face it, overthinking—also pointed up a number of
advantages I bring to this that aren't purely financial. I live walking distance from
several grocery stores, so I can comparison shop. I work from home, so I can eat
on my own schedule and in my own kitchen. I love to cook. (Unfortunately from the
point of view of this challenge, I also love to eat.) Not eating meat won't be much
of a challenge.

I agonized over the question of what to start out with. One food stamp challenge
guide I'd seen said not to use anything in your kitchen other than spices and

                                                                                  - 189 -
condiments. With all due respect, they've not seen my spices, and I don't even
know where condiments begin and end. Is sriracha a condiment? Tabasco sauce?
So clearly I wasn't giving myself all my spices and condiments. But I also didn't try
to pretend I was starting with a 100 percent empty kitchen. Otherwise I'd have had
to spend a big chunk of my money on staples like oil and salt that you'd normally
only buy every month or two. Since benefits are issued monthly, I undershot the
weekly allowance and allowed myself use of a few things that I would be able to
afford within a month at that rate: canola oil, salt, pepper, cider vinegar and cumin.

If I were living on this budget for the long term, there are things I would do
differently. The grated romano I get for $1.68 in the refrigerated cheese section at
my corner store is cheaper than any shaker of shelf-stable grated cheese in the
pasta section at the supermarket, but the big shakers of that—enough for months—
are on sale for $2.50. If I were going to be eating spaghetti a few nights a week for
the foreseeable future, that would be a great deal. Similarly, some types of frozen
vegetables are on sale for $1 per pound; if I were worried about next week and the
week after, I would think about what I could forgo this week to stock up on those. I
may not like frozen vegetables, but I do like vegetables.

This points up more of the limitations of the challenge. It's about the one week, but
if you had this budget for the long run, you'd probably be trying to shore yourself
up against unforeseen expenses or losses in the future. Not that thriftiness would
someday make you wealthy or whatever it is Republicans think people living on
food stamps should be aiming for, but that having some lentils left over at the end
of the week might mean getting through an emergency next month.

Without belaboring the details, my basic meal plan is this: a piece of toast with
peanut butter and honey and a glass of milk for breakfast, a piece of toast with an
egg scrambled with American cheese at lunch, a hot chocolate in the afternoon, and
for dinner a rotating cast of spaghetti with tomato sauce, lentil soup and a grilled
cheese sandwich (or half, depending on my bread allotment), and, once, spaghetti
with peanut sauce. For vegetables I have frozen peas, a green pepper and part of
an onion to have with the spaghetti with peanut sauce, and there are carrots in the
lentil soup. I have carrots left over from that, but they fall in the category of "If I
was really on food stamps, I'd put them in a soup or something next week, because
I don't like carrots enough to eat them alone unless I'm truly desperate." Though if
desperation had struck, I'd have tried roasting them with vinegar and honey.

Just as shopping was a potent reminder of how free I am to eat as I wish at other
times, eating a predetermined diet was a reminder of the degree to which my daily
life is shaped by my own preferences alone. I chafe not so much against the reality
of toast with peanut butter and honey as against the fact that I'm not allowed to
make a difference choice. It's not that I'm totally undisciplined day to day, it's that
the logic of my discipline is my own, and I have the opportunity to break it from
time to time. During this challenge, it's not my logic and I can't break it and that
experience of restriction is something of an education. It's probably an education
that, as much as hunger, would be valuable for the lawmakers who want to cut
food stamps. It's also why Elizabeth Kucinich, who has advocated limiting food


                                                                                  - 190 -
stamps to purchasing "foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits and legumes,"
can bite me. People's choices on this program are already restricted enough without
a paternalistic government telling them that they should become vegans.

In addition to the rare experience of having my choices constrained, I face the
equally rare-for-me experience of insecurity. Eating this diet is not just about the
hunger or the blandness, but about wondering if I will I become hungry at some
point. As it happens, because I work at home and can eat smaller meals and snacks
spaced through the day, I'm not mostly hungry. Or I should say, I'm not hungry in
any truthful sense. Because I'm thinking about whether I will be hungry, and
thinking about the ways what I have eaten isn't satisfying, I have a constant
nagging sense that I wish I was eating—something other than what I'm allowed.
But I'm not weakened or anywhere close to suffering. I'm just plain irritated.

Then there are the social questions. In my life, most social activities revolve around
food somehow. So doing the food stamp challenge would involve either not seeing
people, or watching people eat while I didn't. That points up another way the
challenge can't replicate a life really lived on this budget—if this was your life, you'd
have it built into your social life. That might mean seeing no one because you
couldn't afford to join them in what they were eating; it might mean having a social
life less oriented to food; it might mean sharing what you had with friends who had
no more; it might mean having friends or family who could offer you food along
with their company. But I can't know how I would deal with this, and even if I
knew, I can't replicate it in the space of a week. Once again the challenge alerts me
to its own limitations.

So doing the food stamp challenge is a challenge, and it was a learning experience
even for me as a person who knew it would be hard and that I didn't think it was a
reasonable way to call on people to live. I understand a bit more just how shot-
through my life is with privilege, with the freedom both to make a million little
choices about what and when and where and with whom I eat (or do anything else)
and with the freedom from having any of those choices mean all that much. In daily
life, if I spill a glass of milk or break an egg, it's an annoyance. On a food stamp
budget, it might be half a meal. But more, in daily life if I try a new recipe and
don't like it, I don't face the choice between eating something I don't like and going
hungry—that again gives me a world of options, to try new things because failing
won't hurt me much.

I started out ambivalent about the challenge, and I came out ambivalent about my
ambivalence. There are things to be learned, to be sure. But if you don't think hard
about the sources of the difficulty of doing it, about the advantages that you bring
to the challenge—be they the time to cook for yourself or proximity to a grocery
store or whatever else—and about the fact that in real life, you don't get to eat a
huge meal of your choice at the end of the week, it could be a trap, letting you
think you know what it's like when you really don't.

* Some of the planning work, I should note, was because I can't eat gluten. That
puts many cheap dietary staples off-limits for me, and gluten-free products cost


                                                                                   - 191 -
astronomically more than their gluten-containing equivalents. Somewhere out
there, there are a few people living gluten-free on a food stamp budget, but I
decided not to set myself that extra impediment; for the purposes of the challenge
I priced bread and pasta and a few other things, eating their pricey gluten-free
equivalents while pretending like I was paying standard prices on them. Of course
that's not a luxury I would have if I was really on food stamps and still trying live
gluten free. In another sense, being gluten free simultaneously gave me a skill and
a liability: I'm an obsessive reader of labels, which is a good skill to have if you're
thinking about how to make things work nutritionally on a tight budget. But reading
labels to be sure the cheaper brand of cheese or chicken broth doesn't have gluten
in it (many do) meant I had to look at the name of every preservative and filler and
chemical in everything I was eating. And that's no fun.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/11/27/1034186/-Learning-from-the-food-stamp-
challenge?via=user




                                                                                  - 192 -
The Democratic Daily –




How Much Will $31.50 Buy?: Administration Officials, Lawmakers To
Experience Food Stamps
October 27, 2011 10:50 am

By Scott Nance




Top Obama administration officials and lawmakers will be taking part in the National Food Stamp Challenge, to see what it is like to buy
                                           groceries on a food-stamp budget of $31.50.


What if you had just $31.50 to spend for a week‘s worth of groceries?

That‘s the average allotment to those who receive federal assistance through Supplemental Nutritional
Assistance Program (SNAP), the program formerly known as Food Stamps.

Top Obama administration officials, including senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, several members of
Congress, and others plan to find out on Thursday during a shopping trip to a Capitol Hill grocery store as part
of the National Food Stamp Challenge.

With Congress considering cutting the budget for SNAP, the religious community is leading an effort to focus
the country‘s attention on the realities of hunger and poverty.

Poverty is at an all-time high in the United States, and more than 45 million Americans rely on SNAP funds to
buy food.

The national challenge event marks the beginning of the fourth annual Fighting Poverty with Faith
mobilization. Fighting Poverty with Faith, cosponsored by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Catholic
Charities USA, and the National Council of Churches includes more than 50 national faith organizations
brought together to act on behalf of those living in poverty in America.

                                                                                                                               - 193 -
Aside from Jarrett, others taking part include Democratic Reps. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri and Jan
Schakowsky of Illinois.

Other members of Congress taking the Fighting Poverty with Faith Food Stamp Challenge include Reps. Jim
Moran (D-Va.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.),
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), and Del. Donna Christensen (D-V.I.).

―The goal of the Food Stamp Challenge is to engage Americans of every faith and bring the realities of hunger
to those across the country unaware of its pervasiveness and challenges; especially here, at Congress‘s
doorstep,‖ says Rabbi Steve Gutow. ―If we are to get serious about ending hunger, which we have the tools to
do, it cannot be an abstract idea for us. Understanding the challenges of feeding yourself — let alone providing
healthy meals for kids, who make up over half of SNAP recipients –- on just $31.50 for one week will help
others know just how valuable SNAP is. America is an abundant nation, but that abundance is not seen in the
carts of the tens of millions who live on SNAP. Before Congress decides that this program can be cut, we urge
them to look at how little we‘re able to put in our carts with this budget and see how millions are getting by.‖

The 45 million Americans who require SNAP to survive aren‘t strangers, says Rev. Peg Chemberlin, president
of the National Council of Churches.

―They are our neighbors, co-workers, family members, and they are us. I have been on food stamps,‖ she says.
―I am in better times now. But I remember how much we tried to hide it from those around me. We stand
together in grocery check-out lines, yet so many of us have no idea what it is like to struggle to feed families
on $4.50 a day. I challenge all of us to share in that struggle for a week, not merely to attract attention to the
growing needs of persons in poverty, but as a reminder that God does not expect any of us to turn our backs on
others in need.‖

Anyone can sign up to take the National Food Stamp Challenge by going online here.

Scott Nance is the editor and publisher of the news site The Washington Current. He has covered Congress
and the federal government for more than a decade.

http://thedemocraticdaily.com/2011/10/27/31-50-buy-administration-officials-lawmakers-experience-
food-stamps/




                                                                                                           - 194 -
Ekklesia –




'Food stamp challenge' poverty wake-up call to US politicians
A US interfaith TV cable channel has highlighted the recent "food stamp challenge" to challenge poverty
and attitudes towards it in America.

The programme also looked at the effect the challenge had on Congress members who took it. The
initiative was developed by the organisation Fighting Poverty with Faith, a multi-faith collaboration lead by
the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the National Council of Churches USA, Catholic charities and over
50 other faith-based groups to cut domestic poverty in half by 2020.

The challenge requires participating representatives to eat on a food stamp budget for a week, which
provides $4.50 per day for food, or $31.50 for the week. The purpose is to allow those entrusted with
legislative power to walk in the shoes of the 46 million Americans who live on food stamps, so that they
might understand why the amount should be raised.

Odyssey Networks reveals the emotional reactions and thoughtful conclusions of two Congress members
who lived the challenge: Rep. Keith Ellison (Democrat, Minnesota) and Rep. Eleanor Homes Norton
(Democrat, District of Columbia).

Norton laments that nutritional favorites like fruit and fish are too expensive to purchase on the stamp
budget. She says that as Americans wait for the new super-committee to determine what spending cuts
will be made, it is important to remember the hungry and struggling.

Ellison realizes that the frustratingly difficult challenge will be over in a week for the Congress
participants, but "for some people this is their life, and I think we need to have a little more compassion
and remember that a budget is a moral document, and in that document we specify who matters and who
doesn't, what matters and what doesn't..."

Rabbi Steve Gutow, President and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs says of the challenge, "It
feels a little like being enslaved because once you purchase what can purchase, you can't eat another
thing."

Ellison reflects on the fact that "the values of love and charity are shared by many faiths," and the
opportunity to join with people of different faiths who care about the plight of others gives him hope for the
future.

Established in 1987, Odyssey Networks is a service of the National Interfaith Cable Coalition, Inc. It has
over 100 denominational, organisational and individual members, representing Christianity, Judaism,
Islam, Baha'i, Sikh, Buddhism and Hinduism.

* The video can be viewed at odysseynetworks.org

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/15704




                                                                                                       - 195 -
ENews Park Forest –




Rep. Schakowsky Participates In National Food Stamp Challenge
THURSDAY, 27 OCTOBER 2011 17:03 PRESS RELEASE LATEST LOCAL NEWS

WASHINGTON D.C.--(ENEWSPF)--October 27, 2011. Today, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) joined other
members of Congress, national religious leaders and current Supplemental Nutritional Assistance
Program (SNAP) recipients at a Safeway supermarket to kick off the week-long national Fighting Poverty
with Faith Food Stamp Challenge. For a week Rep. Schakowsky will live on $31.50 worth of food, the
average weekly benefit for a food stamp recipient.

SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps, provides an essential safety net for American families and more
than half of SNAP recipients are children.

At the same time as there is an unprecedented demand for services, House Republicans have voted to
drastically slash SNAP funding. The Republican budget that passed in the House earlier this year would
cut $127 billion from SNAP over the next decade - a 20 percent cut. The Republican-backed House
Agriculture Appropriations bill would also cut SNAP funding.

“I participated in this challenge in 2007 and it is still extremely difficult to eat a healthy diet on such a
limited budget,” Rep. Schakowsky said. “Yet, SNAP is the difference between chronic hunger and a basic
meal for 45 million Americans. In the wealthiest nation on earth, this is immoral. We must ensure that
everyone has adequate resources to put food on the table. This challenge helps to raise the visibility of
hunger among American families and children.”

The food stamp challenge is organized by Catholic Charities USA, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs,
and the National Council of Churches to raise awareness about the realities of hunger in America.
Dramatic cuts to SNAP funding at a time of financial insecurity is bad news for many American families
who rely on the program as a critical safety net.

http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/latest-local/28280-rep-schakowsky-participates-in-national-
food-stamp-challenge-.html




                                                                                                       - 196 -
Examiner.com -




A budget is a moral document: Congress and the food stamp
challenge


Lori Henshey ,Charleston Spirituality Examiner
November 11, 2011

As part of an ongoing, intimate look into poverty in America, Odyssey Networks features a video
story today about the recent food stamp challenge and the effect it had on Congress members who
took it (see accompanying video).
The challenge was developed by the organization Fighting Poverty with Faith, a multi-faith
collaboration lead by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the National Council of Churches,
Catholic Charities, and over 50 other faith-based groups to cut domestic poverty in half by 2020.

The challenge requires participating representatives to eat on a food stamp budget for a week, which
provides $4.50 per day for food, or $31.50 for the week. The purpose is to allow those entrusted with
legislative power to walk in the shoes of the 46 million Americans who live on food stamps, so that
they might understand why the amount should be raised.


http://www.examiner.com/spirituality-in-charleston/a-budget-is-a-moral-document-congress-and-the-
food-stamp-challenge




                                                                                                 - 197 -
Faith in Public Life –




Faith Leaders and Members of Congress Take the Food Stamp
Challenge
Outside a Capitol Hill Safeway last Thursday morning, faith leaders and members of Congress, made
a pledge to take the Food Stamp Challenge--joining local SNAP (food stamp) benefit recipients in a
rather challenging grocery trip: figuring out how to feed themselves for the week with only the
program's weekly benefit allotment of $31.50 to spend.

The program, sponsored by Fighting Poverty with Faith, is part of the organization's effort to cut
domestic poverty in half by 2020. A group led by Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), Barbara Lee (D-CA),
Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Donna Christensen (D-VI), officials from the
Department of Agriculture (that administers the SNAP program) spoke about their own pledge to take
this challenge with Reps. Norton and Christiansen joining clergy from the Christian, Jewish, and
Muslim faiths to snake their way through the aisles of Safeway making the same difficult decisions
millions of Americans are forced to make every day.

Before the challenge, the participants echoed the protesters of the Occupy movement as they shared
their thoughts on the millions of Americans in food insecure households.

Watch Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs explain the event:




                                                                                              - 198 -
Members of Congress also spoke about the ways that myths about poverty undermine support for this
crucial program.

"I resent any notion that people are poor because of some perverted enjoyment in being poor, " said
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

"Let me assure you that it's not fraud that's causing the rise of demand for nutrition assistance in
American, but it's the years of failed economic policies that have...lined the pockets of corporate
billionaires and left that average American behind," added Rep. Barbara Lee, former Chair of the CBC
and Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

http://blog.faithinpubliclife.org/2011/10/faith_leaders_and_members_of_c.html




                                                                                               - 199 -
First Focus –




Food for Thought: Food Stamp Challenge Helped Me Empathize With
Homeless Families and Individuals
By Cara Baldari

November 8, 2011


This past week, a few colleagues and I participated in a Food Stamp Challenge, where for one week we
lived as if we were receiving food stamps. The average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) allotment for a single person for one week is only
$31.50, which averages out to be $4.50 a day and $1.50 a meal.


I knew this would be a tough undertaking, but I was not prepared for just how challenging it would be. I do
not enjoy cooking and although I try to go food shopping on a weekly basis, I often do not plan out my
meals ahead of time and instead end up picking up something quick for lunch or dinner.


However, upon starting the challenge I learned that in many states, food stamps cannot be used in
restaurants or to buy prepared food. While the federal government gives states the choice to allow the
homeless, elderly, and disabled to use their SNAP benefits at restaurants, only a handful of states have
taken advantage of this option. After learning this, I decided that if I wanted to really understand the
experience of Americans receiving SNAP benefits, I needed to try to avoid eating out altogether for the
remainder of the challenge.


Not being able to eat out was challenging as the closest grocery store to my apartment is a mile and a
half away, and without a car I found myself lugging the heavy groceries onto the metro or walking. There
was also the time factor. Besides the time it took to get to and from the store, I realized how much time
and preparation it takes to plan ahead for every meal, and I was only preparing meals for myself, not a
whole family.


However, having the ability to prepare, cook, and store food is a luxury I had that homeless families and
individuals often lack. Even if they are living near a grocery store, they are often living in temporary
situations that that do not have a kitchen or even a microwave or refrigerator. I realized that if I did not

                                                                                                           - 200 -
have access to a grocery store or kitchen throughout this challenge, I don’t know how I would have fed
myself. If children were involved, I have no idea how I would have kept them fed.


This is a terrifying thought, yet it is the challenge that homeless families and individuals face every day.
Working as an advocate on behalf of the homeless and those at-risk of homelessness, I have always
been sympathetic to the struggles of those less fortunate. Yet it took this challenge for me to also be
empathetic.


SNAP is a lifeline for millions for Americans. It has responded to the economic crisis and the rise in
unemployment by keeping millions, including over 20 million children, from going hungry every day. In
fact, because SNAP has responded so well and appropriately to the recession, enrollment has risen 53%
since 2007. While SNAP can still be a lifeline for homeless Americans, the only way to truly prevent
homeless families and individuals from going hungry is to ensure that they can utilize their SNAP benefits
for prepared food.


Luckily for some homeless individuals, a few states are working on ways to ensure that SNAP benefits
are used for healthy prepared food. For example, Rhode Island is launching a pilot program that will allow
the homeless, elderly, and disabled to use their SNAP benefits at four Subway restaurants in Providence.


We should look to these programs as potential ways to combat hunger and ensure that all Americans
have access to not only enough food, but food that is nutritious and will support a healthy future.


http://www.firstfocus.net/news/reading-list/food-for-thought-food-stamp-challenge-helped-me-
empathize-with-homeless-families-a#.TrmNpDXrN8Y.twitter




                                                                                                         - 201 -
Gather -




It's Food Stamps for CA Congresswoman Jackie Speier
October 31, 2011 08:15 PM EDT

comments: 6

Can a politician live on food stamps? CA Congresswoman Jackie Speier plans to find out. She's going
to spend the next five days feeding herself on $4.50 a day in an effort to spotlight the plight of those
in her district who rely on the $140 monthly allowance paid by the state.

Speier will be chronicling the experience on her Facebook page, but so far the items she picked up
from a dollar store show that nutrition may be a lower priority than convenience for those
who count on food stamps throughout the entire month.




                                   On her first day she purchased a bag of coffee, a loaf of bread
and a can of Campbell's chicken noodle soup. Sounds more like a light breakfast and a quick lunch.

Speier also picked up a can of sweet peas, to beef up a tuna casserole she'll be making later in the
week. Once she can afford some tuna.

The effort should help to illustrate the difficulty of staying healthy with the food people are practically
forced to purchase on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. It sounds like people
can get enough to stay alive, but too little to thrive. Imagine raising a family on such a paltry amount.

What do you think? Could you survive on $4.50 a day?

http://politics.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474980694858




                                                                                                      - 202 -
Huffington Post -


Also appeared in:




Food Stamps: Democrats In Congress Attempt To Eat On $4.50 A Day
To Protest Potential Budget Cuts




The Huffington Post Luke Johnson First Posted: 10/31/11 06:48 PM ET Updated: 11/1/11 04:29 PM ET

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) along with eight other congressional Democrats are eating on a budget of
about $4.50 a day to show solidarity with food stamp recipients who receive $32.59 a week.
The personal thrift, which is part of a challenge organized by Fighting Poverty With Faith, was reported
by Pacifica Patch. The site also listed the food items that Speier was now buying.

Speier displayed some of the items she was able to purchase for her first day of living on a food stamp
budget: a bag of coffee and a loaf of bread from the Dollar Warehouse; a can of Campbell's low sodium
chicken noodle soup; and a can of sweet peas, possibly to put in a tuna casserole later in the week.

"And this is my treat for the week," Speier said, holding up a box of microwave popcorn packets.

Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), along with his wife and daughter, chose to live on a food stamp budget of
about $1.59 per meal. He tweeted about the challenge, relaying that he ate "generic cereal and part of a
banana for breakfast."




                                                                                                       - 203 -
Food stamps have been a target of Republican-led budget cuts. House Budget Committee Chair Rep.
Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) proposed transfering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known
as the Food Stamp Program, into a block grant program administered by the states.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) recently told ABC's "Top Line" that the food stamp program was "out of
control" and being abused by "multimillion-dollar lottery winners." (After a Michigan man drew attention for
still receiving food stamps despite winning the lottery, state lawmakers began asking recipients about
their financial assets.)
The number of people relying on food stamps has risen as a consequence of the recession. Over 40
million individuals and 19 million households used the program in 2010, according to the U.S. Department
of Agriculture.

In addition to Speier and Courtney, Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jan
Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), Jim Moran (D-Va.) and Tim Ryan (D-
Ohio) have also decided to trim down their food budget in solidarity.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/food-stamps-congress-budget-cuts_n_1068336.html




                                                                                                     - 204 -
Rep. Jan Schakowsky

U.S. Representative for Illinois's 9th congressional district

Taking the Congressional Food Stamp Challenge
   Posted: 11/1/11 12:20 PM ET


   Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), other members of Congress, and national religious
leaders are participating in a week-long national Fighting Poverty with Faith Food
Stamp Challenge to raise awareness about the challenges for Supplemental
Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients and the realities of hunger in
America. For a week Rep. Schakowsky has lived on $31.50 worth of food (about $4.50
a day), the average weekly benefit for a food stamp recipient.
   SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps, provides an essential safety net for American
families and more than half of SNAP recipients are children.

DAY 1, OCTOBER 27: At 10 a.m., I joined Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Delegates
Eleanor Holmes Norton and Donna Christiansen, and representatives of religious
organizations in front of Safeway supermarket in Washington, D.C. to announce the
Food Stamp Challenge and our focus on widespread hunger in America. My plan was to
go into the store and shop for my food along with an expert -- a woman who relies on
the SNAP program (formerly food stamps). Instead, I had to rush back to the Capitol
where a vote was called, and as a result had no food, even for the day. I was going to wait
until I got home that evening to shop, but hunger got me, so I had 2 pieces of whole
wheat bread that we had in my D.C. office (I pro-rated the cost at $.25) and bought a
$1.00 apple from the cafeteria.
    I finally was able to go shopping at the Jewel store down the street from my home in
Evanston, Illinois, at about 7:30 p.m. I spent $29.93, which means I have $.32
remaining once I subtract what I already spent. I got some good buys. Big chicken
breasts were on sale for $.99/lb and I bought a package of five for $4.62. Three pounds
of apples were $3.49 and bananas were $.39/lb.

    It took me significantly longer to shop. I added up the cost as I went. I weighed the
produce before I put it in the cart. I checked out the sodium in canned veggies and
soups. Yikes! I have high blood pressure, so I put them back. I forgot to calculate the tax
so I had to pull some things out when the checker finished tabulating. We'll see how well
I shopped as the week goes on.

   Here's what I bought:


                                                                                     - 205 -
        1 can 29 oz can of yams
        1 box of rotini pasta
        1 wheat bread
        5 bananas
        Dozen large eggs
        3 yogurts
        Bag of fresh whole carrots
        5 plum tomatoes
        1 head of lettuce
        2 yellow onions
        2 cans of tuna in water
      1 box of spaghetti
   1 jar of spaghetti sauce
   .90 pounds of broccoli crowns
   Very small bag of coffee (1.75 splurge)
   1 frozen dinner
   5 chicken breasts
   3 lbs of Gala apples
   Using my Jewel discount card, I saved $6.58. I relied heavily on the house brands
and items that were on sale. I have basil that I grow in my yard to add to the salad.

  DINNER: 1 baked chicken breast, yams, salad. Apple for dessert.
  DAY 2, OCTOBER 28: Took part in a listening tour being conducted by the Illinois
Commission to End Hunger at Saint Ignatius Church in my district.


BREAKFAST: 1 piece of whole wheat toast


LUNCH: Tuna salad sandwich on whole wheat with lettuce, carrot sticks and apple. I
was attending an event at a fancy hotel, and asked the waiter to just bring me an empty
plate. Less awkward than I had anticipated.
   DINNER: Spaghetti and sauce, salad and apple
   Lots and lots of water. I really miss my Coke Zero and Diet Pepsi. (I know. I know!
Really bad for me.) I carry my cool water bottle with me everywhere.

   ---

   DAY 5, October 31, 2011
   BREAKFAST: Yogurt and a banana

                                                                                 - 206 -
   LUNCH: Tuna salad sandwich, carrot sticks, and an apple
   DINNER: Chicken breast, noodles, pasta sauce


    Before I went trick or treating with my four grandchildren, I put a chicken breast in
water in my slow cooker with 1/2 an onion, one carrot, one plum tomato and some
seasoning. I also had a weak cup of coffee made from the little packet I had bought for a
treat. By the time I came home, the chicken was done but the broth was really watery
and boring. I added the half jar of my left over pasta sauce and half a box of noodles,
diced some of the chicken into it, and it tasted pretty good. (I've never been much of a
cook.) I confess I took a couple of candies from my daughter's trick or treat offerings

   Tonight I also baked the remaining two chicken breasts and will take them to
Washington for my last 2 days. In my suitcase will also be what's left of my loaf of bread,
3 apples, 2 carrots, 1/2 a head of lettuce, broccoli, 1/2 a box of noodles, 1 can of tuna,
two plum tomatoes and two bananas. I hope they don't ask me to open my suitcase at
security.

    I went to the grocery store today to buy dog treats for Lucky and Buddy, my golden
retrievers. I was very aware of walking by many aisles filled with items I would have
loved to buy. I miss cereal and milk, cheese, frozen fruit bars, good coffee, Coke Zero
and Diet Pepsi (no lectures please!). I wanted some oranges, and mushrooms for my
salad, 100-calorie Cheetos packs, and a nice piece of salmon. I never think about
wanting something at the store that I can't get, except maybe for the reason that it's too
fattening, but never because I can't afford it. That, of course, is the whole point of the
Food Stamp Challenge -- to get a small glimpse into what the 48 million Americans who
are "food insecure" experience day in and day out.

   I also thought how lucky I was today to have a job, a slow cooker, a fridge and freezer
and stove, and to have grandchildren to trick or treat with on Halloween.

Follow Rep. Jan Schakowsky on Twitter: www.twitter.com/janschakowsky


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-jan-schakowsky/congressional-food-stamp-
challenge_b_1069461.html




                                                                                     - 207 -
Rabbi Steve Gutow

President and Chief Executive Officer of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Water on the Omelet -- The Food Stamp Challenge: Day Two
   Posted: 11/2/11 02:19 PM ET


    Having dinner with two friends, Geri and Jared, the first Shabbat after starting the
food stamp challenge, under the watchful eyes of aWashington Post reporter and
photographer, Teresa and Sarah, turned out to be both a treat and a moment for levity.
Eating this way gives one a great need to search for levity.
    Friday itself, the second day of the challenge, became challenging as soon as I left the
Moskowitz-Rabinowitz home, a family of close friends, who often generously host me
when I am in D.C. I was walking to work out and I suddenly wanted to eat a little
something. I had 58 cents of my food stamp allotment left over after my shopping at the
Capital Safeway on Thursday. The shopping experience had been very difficult, simply
because the very idea of gathering everything I could possibly eat for a week at $31.50
for myself was both daunting and stressful, particularly because the press with cameras,
other religious representatives, and Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton from D.C.
were shopping at the same time. It was a whirlwind.

    Back to the pre-Shabbat, Friday, food-seeking. 58 cents does not buy a heck of a lot.
Potato chips, pretzels, candy -- you name it -- were out of my economic reach. I finally
settled on a banana that weighed in at 40 cents, still having a whopping 18 cents
remaining in my food-for-the week account. Thinking about that caused me to realize
that I was imprisoned in a funny sort of way, just like millions of poor people in America
and in the world. When you cannot purchase a bag of potato chips or a bottle of orange
juice, you are suddenly and frighteningly aware that severe limits are upon you -- and
this was only the second day of what will be a difficult and complicated week. Imagine
living one's life under such a restraint.

    Then came dinner. The Post wanted to watch me prepare the food, and they did. The
meal consisted of mujadarah and an omelet. Mujadarah is a Middle Eastern dish made
up of lentils, rice, and caramelized onions -- quite delicious, quite fattening, relatively
healthful and inexpensive but basically a pleasure at least for a few days. The other dish
was an omelet -- with four eggs, a third of an onion, and a sliced up zucchini. When I
slipped the omelet out of the pan onto a serving dish, I did that in the sink to prevent
any spillage on the counter. I never imagined the potential for disaster. My host, Geri,
not looking in the sink, accidentally poured water on the omelet causing all five of us to
gasp suddenly, worrying that a fundamental part of a not-so-large meal was now

                                                                                      - 208 -
inedible. Between the good fortune of a quick response and the fact there was a ready
microwave, we saved the day and all was fine. We had a good laugh, in fact kept
laughing about the near food catastrophe all through the meal.
   What caused us consistent mental consternation, though, was the realization that the
problem could have been more severe. The omelet might have been ruined -- not just
threatened -- and the recognition that if we actually lived in poverty, that accident might
have changed our diet considerably. Even living under the rules of the challenge, I could
not purchase any more food. What if I had no more money at all?

   The meal went well. We did all the blessings over the candles, the wine [grape juice],
the handwashing, and the bread [two rolls]. Both the juice and the rolls were relatively
inexpensive. We had a good time speaking with each other. The reporter did what
reporters do well, asking insightful questions. All of us laughed a bit, particularly about
the water that soaked the omelet.

    Two lessons learned in just a day or so about this journey: Eating on a food stamp
budget can feel like a form of imprisonment -- being deprived of the basic freedom of
choosing the food one could want and having such limited funds means that the normal
choices afforded Americans of simply buying on a whim are no longer possible. The
other was the precarious nature of eating while poor. One accident, a burned main dish,
salting accidentally beyond edibility, spilling water all over an omelet could change the
fabric and the nutrition value of an eating experience. What may have seemed quite
funny to us could be a tragedy for a family living in poverty. I learned this and I am still
just beginning my week-long journey.

  Rabbi Steve Gutow is the President of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. For
more information and updates, visitjewishpublicaffairs.org and follow @theJCPA on
Twitter.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-steve-gutow/food-stamp-
challenge_b_1065964.html?view=print&comm_ref=false




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Rabbi Steve Gutow

Food on My Mind -- All the Time -- the Food Stamp Challenge: Day Six
Posted: 11/3/11 06:12 PM ET
I am not ever sanguine about food. But right now, in an uncomfortable way, food occupies my mind all the
time. There is little I can do to stop the takeover.

On the train coming back from an all-day meeting in D.C. yesterday I kept thinking and thinking of what I
would eat when I arrived back at my home in Manhattan. I had the money to buy something in the train
restaurant car but I was living under the challenge of $31.50 for a week and I had spent all but 18 cents of
my daily allotment. I had one apple left somewhere in my bag and I found it. Plus I saw a friend on the
train and she had this tiny tangerine which she assured me cost no more than 10 cents. I ate it. Now I have
8 cents remaining and some lentils, rice and a few other food items left. This is going to be a slow race to
the finish on Thursday and I am not enjoying it. When I arrived home last night, I cooked up another
batch of the never-ending, somewhat comforting Middle Eastern staple, mujadarah. Probably the last one
I have enough ingredients for.

It is six a.m. and soon I will be at a study session on the Hebrew prophet, Amos. I believe he would have
appreciated the challenge. He challenged the people in the northern nation of Israel to change their ways
and deal with the poor. He was gutsy , coming up from Judah in the south, but he was not very successful.
I fear the same result.

Looking at the Google press hits about the challenge coming from across the country, I realize with great
gratitude that there are a great number of people taking the challenge. We will never know the exact
number for sure, because in hamlets and cities reports are streaming of people stepping up to the plate. I
know we have nearly a thousand already listed, but the reality is clearly in excess of that. Still, will it do
any good?

In biblical times, the northern tribes were conquered and dispersed after Amos' time. I imagine that, in
his estimation, the dispersal occurred because of their moral decay and failure to live up to their basic
mandates as a caring people and humane people. Is my beloved country on the same path? I fear so and I
hope not.

The next two days will be dreadful. I will be tired and bored and hungry, yearning way too much. I could
break my oath and grab something, but I will not. I made a promise. I will keep it. Chocolate, particularly
chocolate ice cream, will be on my mind. It is now time to go to the kitchen and eat a small amount of corn
flakes with a drop or two of the remaining milk. Thursday, there will be chocolate ice cream for me but
still very little for the over forty million people who live this way fifty-one weeks more than I will have --
just because they are poor. We need to find a successful Amos to stand up and say loud and clear that this
is no way to be a decent country.


                                                                                                           - 210 -
Rabbi Steve Gutow is the President of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. For more information and
updates, visit jewishpublicaffairs.org and follow @theJCPA on Twitter.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-steve-gutow/food-stamp-challenge-food-on-my-
mind_b_1072206.html




                                                                                                 - 211 -
  Rabbi Steve Gutow

The Food Stamp Challenge: The Challenge Has Been Met -- The Work
Begins
Posted: 11/9/11 03:20 PM ET

Looking at my dwindling stash of food the last few days caused me strange sensations of fear, fragility,
and questions about the world. I admit I was a little dizzy at times and euphoric at other times. I was
bored with what I was eating, concentrating on husbanding my last drops of yoghurt, milk, and corn
flakes. Eating my first non-food stamp meal yesterday at a New York Indian restaurant with my good
friend, John Ruskay, where the meal itself cost close to $25.00, showed me in high relief what the
challenge could not allow.

As a Jew I remember that in Egypt my people were enslaved thousands of years ago. Hunger is a form of
slavery and my mind kept focusing on the time in Egypt. On Passover we say that we were slaves in Egypt
intending to show that we are part of an ongoing recollection of that period in the history of my people.
The end of the food stamp challenge filled me with a deeper capacity to empathize. I felt that not only
were we slaves but as I stared at the attrition of my food supply, I felt like I understood the Israelite
condition more than I had ever understood it before. We were slaves as the liturgy taught but I felt like I
was a slave and that I will now be even more a slave to the ongoing need to stop hunger among my people
all through the world.

I also began to think each day about an English poem I had read as a child which had always haunted me
but I now understood it better. Thomas Gray wrote 'Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard' about a
pauper's graveyard in eighteenth century England filled with people whose lives had been so diminished
by the tragedy and the burden of poverty that they did not become even a part of what they could be. The
lines came poignantly into my psyche, truer today than I had ever contemplated. Gray wrote while
walking the graveyard about those suffering under the yoke of poverty:
......
"Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the Poor.
..........
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre:


                                                                                                            - 212 -
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul. "
How many in our society never feel the nobility of their souls, the privilege, perhaps the human right, to
feel their 'noble rage,' or to awaken great music that would fill their hearts and our hearts just because
they live in the dullness of hunger, in the tragedy of a form of slavery that prevents them from becoming
John Miltons or Robert Frosts or Presidents of our nation or even less felicitous leaders like Thomas
Cromwell. So many in America and the world are relegated to lives of looking at empty refrigerators if
their refrigerators even work or if they even own refrigerators.

I have always believed in educating and organizing to help impel ourselves to combat poverty in our
world. I feel that urge, even more than I felt it just a week ago. There is a time to 'rise up' and to say,
particularly to those dwelling in the richest country in the world, 'It is enough!' Our battles to help
America prioritize its values and its willingness to spend money on those who are hungry must be waged
with a new vigor. In every state, in every city and hamlet, there is no excuse to tolerate 48 million of us
living under the threat of hunger. Whatever the economic state of the country, we must not forget the
moral state of our souls. The Talmud, one of the greatest teachings of the Jewish people states:
'Whoever destroys a single life is as guilty as though he had destroyed the entire world; and whoever
rescues a single life earns as much merit as though he had rescued the entire world.'
It is a time for us to earn merit and to go into the mode of rescue.

Rabbi Steve Gutow is the President of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. For more information and
updates, visit jewishpublicaffairs.org and follow @theJCPA on Twitter.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rabbi-steve-gutow/the-food-stamp-challenge-_b_1076731.html




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Jewcology –




Take the Food Stamp Challenge!

Join me for the 4th annual Fighting Poverty with Faith mobilization this week by taking
the Food Stamp Challenge from Thursday, October 27th through Thursday
November 3rd. The challenge is to limit yourself to a food budget of $31.50/week,
$4.50/day or$1.50/meal. This is the average amount allotted a person who qualifies to
receive food stamps.

Almost 46 million or 15% of Americans live on food stamps or SNAP. I imagine that
many are hungry, undernourished and live food insecure lives. Food insecurity exists
when the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the ability to acquire
acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways is limited or uncertain.

Living on food stamps forces people to make unhealthy food choices (cheap carbs
rather than more expensive fresh fruits and veggies). Poor food choices often lead to
serious health problems like obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. How does this
affect learning in schools and productivity in the workplace?

I don’t need to live on SNAP or food stamps. By making this choice for just one week
and inviting others to join, I hope to raise awareness and advocate for those who have
no choice. How can we change a food system that is clearly not working for 15% of our
population? How do we create food security or having enough food to lead an active,
healthy life where food insecurity presently exists? How do we right what is not just?

Experience, even as brief as a week can raise awareness and lead to advocacy. Please
join me and invite others to take theFood Stamp Challenge this week!
Babylonian Talmud, Hagigah 12b

Rabbi Yossi said: Alas for people who see but know not what they see and for people
who stand but know not on what they stand.


http://www.jewcology.com/content/view/Take-the-Food-Stamp-Challenge




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Jewish Reconstructionist Federation –




Fighting Poverty With Faith: Thursday October 27th- Sunday,
November 6th, 2011
June 10, 2010 - 11:55am — Rabbi Shawn Zevit

Fighting Poverty With Faith: Good Jobs Green JobsFor the fourth year in a row, JRF is supporting
the "Fighting Poverty with Faith" initiative, a national, interfaith movement working to overcome
poverty in the United States. Everyone is invited to participate, as an individual, family, congregation,
community or youth group, school, or faith-based organization. All you need is the will to work to end
hunger and poverty, and faith that, together, we can make real change in ourselves, our communities,
and our country. The 2011 theme is ―Working Together to End Hunger.‖ Please use this website to
learn about the mobilization and find programming and advocacy resources for your community. We
hope you will join us in our fight against poverty. (see http://fightingpovertywithfaith.com/f2/).

As Jews, we celebrate a tradition of justice and compassion, and we are called upon to hold ourselves
and our communities accountable to the moral standard of this tradition. However, as we look across
our country today, we see a nation where millions of people are lacking the basic necessities of life;
we see growing numbers of jobless individuals, and even more people who are working, but whose
wages are not enough to keep them out of poverty.


Fighting Poverty with Faith is our response to this painful reality. Fighting Poverty with Faith (FPWF) is
building a nationwide movement to cut domestic poverty in half between 2010 and 2020. We are a
diverse coalition of national and local faith groups that refuses to accept the status quo of poverty in
United States. We bring the moral authority and the organizing power of the faith community to
ensure that meeting the needs of those living in poverty is a national priority, and to highlight
solutions that policy makers, community leaders and concerned individuals can take to address the
root causes of poverty.


We are asking Reconstructionist clergy and community members to join individuals,
synagogues, Jewish Community Relations Councils and federations to join together in the
month of October and November 2011, to educate and to advocate around poverty in
America.

http://jrf.org/fight-poverty-with-faith




                                                                                                     - 215 -
JTA –




Lawmakers, JCPA join in food stamps push
October 28, 2011

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Eleven Congress members and a top adviser to President Obama are joining an interfaith
challenge to live on food stamp money for a week.

Leaders of a number of faith organizations, including the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the community's public

policy umbrella, met Thursday at a supermarket near Capitol Hill to buy $31.50 worth of groceries -- the equivalent of
what food stamp recipients get.

The event came as Congress is considering cutting subsidies in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program,
the formal name for food stamps.

"Understanding the challenges of feeding yourself -- let alone providing healthy meals for kids, who make up over half

of SNAP recipients -- on just $31.50 for one week will help others know just how valuable SNAP is," said Rabbi Steve

Gutow, JCPA's president. "America is an abundant nation, but that abundance is not seen in the carts of the tens of
millions who live on SNAP."

Among the 11 Congress members participating this week are Jewish Reps. Jan Schakowksy (D-Ill.) and Ted Deutch
(D-Fla.).

One of the Obama administration participants is Valerie Jarrett, one of the president's closest advisers.

http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/10/28/3090019/lawmakers-jcpa-join-in-food-stamps-push




                                                                                                                - 216 -
Steve Gutow‟s food stamp diet and his omelet near-disaster
By Ron Kampeas · November 7, 2011

Steve Gutow, the president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, is sticking to a food-stamp diet for a week to
make a point of how catastrophic he believes it would be if Congress makes cuts to the program

A Washington Post reporter tracked him. Read about the water-in-omelet near disaster, and how quick thinking

averted it, both from the perspective of the Post, and then in Gutow's blog post at the Huffington Post.
Who says new and old media can't complement one another?




                                                                                                                 - 217 -
Op-Ed: Take the Food Stamp Challenge
Also included in:




By Conrad Giles and Steve Gutow · October 27, 2011

OPINION

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- We have decided to take a journey. We will take the Food Stamp Challenge and live for one

week on an average SNAP (food stamp) benefit of $31.50 per week. We are organizing and encouraging others to
join us.

Yet we hear one question again and again: Why?


                                                                                                        - 218 -
We have heard the statistics. Poverty rates are climbing and millions of people are out of work, out of food or without

homes. To be more specific, 45.2 million Americans in July alone filed for SNAP benefits; more than half were

children. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reported that more than 48 million Americans struggle to find

adequate food and experience the bitter reality of hunger. Looking at the devastating numbers alone can be
dehumanizing.

We are taking the Challenge to experience and remind ourselves of what hunger feels like in our nation of plenty.

Studies and reports describe the pervasiveness of hunger in America, but they don’t convey the humanity of those

caught in its wake. Hungry children suffer from impaired development and poor performance in school. Tens of

thousands of adults, possibly millions, endure illnesses caused by the vestiges of hunger and malnutrition. Some who

struggle with hunger resemble the iconic young man crouched in the corner of a subway portal with a simple sign:

"No food, no job, no home." Others suffer from hunger out of sight of the outside world. They are our neighbors and

members of our own Jewish communities who have fallen on hard times. They have been caught and protected by

the most vital of our national safety net -- one that provides food. The average SNAP benefit for these families,
children and seniors is just $31.50 per week per person -- roughly $1.50 per meal.

Hunger is an urgent challenge for millions of Americans, and before Congress considers cutting SNAP benefits, we

are asking citizens across this nation to go further than knowing the statistics. We are asking them to understand the

realities of hunger. We urge you to join us on our journey. Visithttp://www.foodstampchallenge.com to learn more

about the Food Stamp Challenge and register to join us.

The Food Stamp Challenge has attracted support from religious, political and community leaders from across the

country. But this is not just a Jewish effort. We are being joined by a number of leaders from the wider faith

community. They are bearing witness to the growing number of Americans facing hunger in our towns and on our

streets. Members of Congress and other statewide and local civic leaders also will be taking the Challenge. This is a
nationwide effort to raise awareness and break through the sterile statistics.

As Jews, we have just finished the High Holy Days with the powerfully poetic closing of the gates of Heaven and our

fates sealed by God. But Yom Kippur is a beginning not an end. Our work to better ourselves and our world is begun

anew each year, and to prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually we fast. We are warned by Isaiah on Yom Kippur,

however, that the fast is not ―a day for men to starve their bodies‖ or "to lie in sackcloth and ashes." Rather, the fast is
about "sharing our bread with the hungry and satisfying the famished creature."

The Food Stamp Challenge, like the fast on Yom Kippur, is meant to teach us to feed hungry people and to imbue
ourselves with a more complete understanding of the quality of life of those in need.

Hunger in America is not just about numbers. It is living without security or energy. It is living on the edge. These

truths about hunger are not gleaned from statistics. And they are truths we need to share with each other, and




                                                                                                                    - 219 -
importantly, our leaders. We are living in a political world. We will need to put all the pressure we can on members of
Congress and the administration to show the "derech eretz" to do the right thing.
(Dr. Conrad Giles and Rabbi Steve Gutow are the chair and president, respectively, of the Jewish Council for Public
Affairs.)




                                                                                                                 - 220 -
    Mahwah Patch –




    Rabbi To Take The "Food Stamp Challenge"
    He encourages others in the community to live on $31.50 worth of food for a week

   By Jessica Mazzola
    &nbps;0 Comments




    One member of the Mahwah Community wants to find out what it is like to live on a food stamp budget. From
    this Wednesday, November 9, through next Wednesday, the 16th, Rabbi Joel Mosbacher of the Temple Beth
    Haverim Shir Shalom, will be taking the ―Food Stamp Challenge.‖


    During the challenge, he will live on only the food he can purchase with $31.50, the weekly budget of the
    average food stamp recipient. That works out to $4.50 per day, or $1.50 per meal. As Mosbacher notes, ―even
    the McDonald's ‗Dollar Menu‘ is out.‖

    ―I want to raise awareness about food injustice issues that are happening not only all around the world, but
    right here in our own community,‖ Mosbacher, who is taking the challenge through theJewish Council on
    Public Affairs‘ Confronting Poverty Campaign, said.


    Mosbacher said the challenge caught his attention during the Jewish High Holidays (Rosh Hashana through
    Yom Kippur) this fall. ―We did a food drive here in the congregation and brought 400 bags of food to
    the Center for Food Action right here in Mahwah,‖ he said. ―That really just opened my eyes to the serious
    issues of food justice that we are facing,‖ he said.


    The national campaign, which is being organized by the ―2011 Fighting Poverty with Faith‖ coalition of
    religious-based organizations across the country, has the goals of raising awareness about and finding ways to
    fight poverty and hunger in the United States.


                                                                                                              - 221 -
Mosbacher says he and many others taking the challenge also aim to urge Congress to raise the monetary
amount of food stamps eligible families receive. Mosbacher said he is writing to Representative Scott Garrett
to ask him to take the Challenge as well.

―I think this problem was easier for people to ignore before 2008. But now, with so many of our neighbors
confronting hunger, I think we really need to do something about it,‖ he said.

According to the Center for Food Action‘s website, the charity organization had 2,153 clients in Mahwah in
2010. Throughout Bergen and Upper Passaic counties, the CFA provided over 53,000 ―emergency food
packages‖ to families who could not afford meals last year.

According to USDA statistics, in 2010, over 40 million people nationwide participated in the Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the new name for the ―Food Stamp‖ program, at a cost of over $68
billion.
On a personal level, Rabbi Mosbacher said the Food Stamp Challenge will help him to not take his day-to-day
life for granted. ―I hope that at the end of it, I will be more actively aware of the food injustice issues in our
community and in our country, and I won‘t be so able to ignore them.‖

Rabbi Mosbacher will be blogging on Patch throughout the week to update the community on the progress of
his challenge, how much he is eating, and what he is learning.


Mosbacher is challenging others in his congregation, and in the community, to join him in eating a week in the
life of an individual on food stamps. More information is available at the Food Stamp Challenge website.
―I encourage people to reach out to me if they want to take the challenge too. I‘d be really happy to know if
others in our community are engaged in doing this as well,‖ he said.


http://mahwah.patch.com/articles/rabbi-to-take-the-food-stamp-challenge




                                                                                                               - 222 -
Local Voices




Joel Mosbacher
Rabbi of Beth Haverim Shir Shalom synagogue

The Food Stamp Challenge
Posted on November 7, 2011 at 10:00am
&nbps;0 Comments
In the midst of economic turmoil and threats of severe cuts to government programs to address our nation‘s
debt and deficit, hunger in America has reached historic levels with no relief in sight. Recent studies by a
number of agencies and organizations highlight this disturbing trend: between 2007 and 2009, the number of
food insecure households increased more than 33%; nearly one in four U.S. households with children reported
an inability to afford enough food. And the U.S. Census Bureau just reported that the U.S. poverty rate rose to
15.1% in 2010, with one out of every six Americans, or 46.2 million, living in poverty last year.

Not surprisingly, enrollment in federal food and nutrition programs is dramatically on the rise. In May 2011,
SNAP/food stamp participation rose to a record level of more than 45.7 million Americans – an increase of
more than 4.9 million people compared with one year before.

Yet even as the number of Americans enduring the gnawing pain of hunger increases, proven federal hunger
relief programs such as SNAP are being targeted for significant cuts and potential restructuring that would
irreparably limit the government‘s ability to bring relief to millions of Americans suffering from hunger.

Yet sadly, there is a deafening silence when it comes to protecting pro-grams that serve the poor, the hungry,
and the downtrodden.

Not surprisingly, enrollment in federal food and nutrition programs is dramatically on the rise. In May 2011,
SNAP/food stamp participation rose to a record level of more than 45.7 million Americans – an increase of
more than 4.9 million people compared with one year before. The program is designed as a safety net to help
ensure that people have access to food during difficult times, with the majority of people leaving the program
within nine months. Half of food stamp recipients are children; eight percent are over 60 years of age.

Yet even as the number of Americans enduring the gnawing pain of hunger increases, proven federal hunger
relief programs such as SNAP are being targeted for significant cuts and potential restructuring that would
irreparably limit the government‘s ability to bring relief to millions of Americans suffering from hunger.

Yet sadly, there is a deafening silence when it comes to protecting pro-grams that serve the poor, the hungry,
and the downtrodden.




                                                                                                             - 223 -
For these reasons, I have signed up to take the Food Stamp Challenge with the Jewish Council for Public
Affairs. The challenge is part of the national Fighting Poverty with Faith mobilization, a coalition of faith-
based groups working to cut poverty in half by 2020.

From Thursday, November 9 through Thursday, November 16, I will live on the average food stamp allotment
of $31.50, or just $1.50 per meal. It won‘t be easy, but personally experiencing the challenge of daily hunger
will help me better understand the struggles too many Americans face daily. If you are interested in taking the
Food Stamp Challenge with me, check out the food stamp challenge web page to learn more and to sign up. I‘ll
be blogging about my experience here, and I invite your comments and thoughts.
This effort couldn‘t come at a more critical time.

We must ensure that SNAP and other programs that alleviate hunger are protected by the Super Committee, in
the federal budget process, and the 2012 re-authorization of the Farm Bill. Now is the time to say ―enough.‖
Even in these difficult economic times, no one in the United States should go hungry.

http://mahwah.patch.com/blog_posts/the-food-stamp-challenge




                                                                                                            - 224 -
Day 2: Hungry for Dinner at 4:30 p.m.
Posted on November 11, 2011 at 6:49am Print

Oatmeal with bananas for breakfast; peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch; baked potato, black beans,
steamed broccoli for dinner.

Sounds fine, except, for the second day in a row I was hungry for dinner at 4:30. So, ironically in light of my
rant yesterday about corn, I ate popcorn for a snack. Actually, as I think about it, popcorn is the only snack
food I could afford to squeeze in to the budget.

The Food Stamp Challenge is part of the fourth annual Fighting Poverty With Faith nationwide mobilization
co-sponsored by Jewish Council on Public Affairs and two national Christian organizations. Its purpose is to
enable people to better understand what it is like to live in poverty, and to encourage them to voice opposition
against possible pending deep cuts to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, still referred to in the
vernacular as Food Stamps.

If the goal of the challenge is to raise my awareness of the inadequacy of the food stamp benefit, I am already
keenly aware on day 2.

Among the immediate lessons I've already seen are the limitations in food variety, the inability to shop in bulk
and the difficulties of maintaining a nutritious diet.

By the end of this week, I'm sure I'll be sick of peanut butter, craving fresh vegetables and frustrated by my
options within the grocery store. I had to buy more than I needed of certain items, forcing me to neglect others.
I don't need a full box of pasta for the week or a whole bag of rice, and that money could have gone to other
items like vegetables.

Granted the challenge occurs in a vacuum, and if I were to live on this budget for more than seven days I
would probably have a stock of certain items that I did not need to buy every week. However, the challenges of
timing - and of the very adequacy of benefit - are quite real for actual food stamp recipients.

Food banks around the country, and the Center for Food Action in our own community, provide anecdotal
reports that their client load increases at the end of each food stamp period. That would suggest that while it's
true that the program was designed to be a supplement, people don't have enough resources. Furthermore, far
more people are eligible for benefits than those that receive them.

If you care about this issue, I'd encourage you to reach out to Representative Scott Garrett, NJ 5 (or whoever
your Representative is) and ask him to take the Food Stamp Challenge, as I have. Ask him to ensure that the
Farm Bill coming to Congress includes adequate funding for SNAP. Ask him to ensure that the food stamp
allotment will allow people to buy healthy food.

We must raise our voices on this issue of food justice.


                                                                                                            - 225 -
http://westwood-washington.patch.com/blog_posts/day-2-hungry-for-dinner-at-430-pm




                                                                                    - 226 -
National Council of Churches News –




45.2 million know what it's like;
Could you survive on food stamps?

Washington, October 5, 2011 - The director of the National Council of Churches Poverty
Initiative is calling on Americans to feel a greater empathy for persons struggling to survive
in the current economy.

"In everything do to others as you would have them do to you," said the Rev. Michael
Livingston, quoting from Jesus' sermon on the mount, Matthew 7:12. "This golden rule has
been cited or rephrased in nearly every religion known. It is the glue that binds us together
as a human family, especially in times of common need."

Livingston noted that a member of Congress has challenged her colleagues to spend a week
finding out what it is like to live on food stamps, and he challenged members of churches
and religious groups to do the same.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), co-chair of the Congressional Out of Poverty Caucus, issued the
2011 Food Stamp Challenge to last from October 27 to November 3.

"The USDA recently reported that 14.5 percent of Americans are food insecure," Lee
reported to members of Congress. "In June of this year, a staggering 45.2 million Americans
filed to get food stamps because they either are facing or living in poverty. More than half of
food stamp recipients are children and 8 percent are individuals over the age of 60."

She challenged her colleagues to spend a week attempting to live on "what a person on
food stamps survives on."

Persons on food stamps receive $133.79 per month, Lee said, which amounts to $31.50 a
week, $4.50 a day, or $1.50 a meal.

Livingston said millions of Americans would be hard put to live on the food stamp program.
"We often hear people express the belief that persons living in poverty are well cared-for in
this country," Livingston said. "Anyone who accepts Representative Lee's challenge to step
into the shoes of food stamp recipients will quickly realize how difficult their lives must be."

Livingston said he hoped the exercise will convince members of Congress "that there is also
an urgent need to protect the budget of all government programs that support persons
living in or facing poverty.




                                                                                           - 227 -
"Doing unto others must be a fundamental rule of government," Livingston said.
"Experiencing how others live is a first step toward putting that rule into action."

Persons interested in participating in the food stamp challenge as well as other Mobilization
related strategies should check out the fighting poverty with faith webpage.


http://www.ncccusa.org/news/111005foodstamps.html




                                                                                        - 228 -
Network –




Blog: Fighting Poverty with Faith
Sep 23, 2011 | By Jean Sammon
NETWORK is a partner in Fighting Poverty with Faith, is an interfaith effort to call
attention to a critical issue that is often neglected: poverty in our country. Since we
have just seen the Census data on the dramatic increase in the number of people
living in poverty, now is the time to build some political will to do something about it.

The Fighting Poverty with Faith coalition is calling for local actions across the
country during the week of October 27 – November 6, to raise awareness about
poverty. (The FPWF coalition partners will be doing events in Washington and
around the country that week, but if you can’t organize something for that week, you
can still participate in the preceding or following weeks.)

We are encouraging people to participate in the Food Stamp Challenge or a
Hunger Banquet. You can find detailed information about how to do either of these
here: http://fightingpovertywithfaith.com/f2/actiontoolkits/

Both of these activities can help illustrate the gap between the ―haves‖ and the
―have-nots‖ in engaging ways. You can also plan other events that may
involveprayer, education, or engagement with public officials.

To show Congress, the media, and people in our country how many people are
concerned about poverty, we need you to post a notice about your event – no matter
how big or small – on the FPWF
website: http://fightingpovertywithfaith.com/f2/thanks/.

You can also sign up individually for the Food Stamp Challenge
here:http://engage.jewishpublicaffairs.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=7261
NETWORK staff will be participating in the Food Stamp Challenge. We invite you to
joins us, keep a journal about your experience, and send us your thoughts and
reflections.

http://www.networklobby.org/blog/2011-9-23/fighting-poverty-faith




                                                                                   - 229 -
The Oakland Post Online –



Lee Joins Food Stamp Challenge
November 1, 2011 Articles, Berkeley, Marin, Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco, South
County, Vallejo No Comments


Congresswoman Barbara Lee joined national faith leaders from the Fighting Poverty with Faith
coalition, senior members of the Obama Administration, and many of her Democratic colleagues at a
Washington, D.C. supermarket to announce the start of the Food Stamp Challenge 2011.

The Food Stamp Challenge is a nationwide event intended to preserve funding for vital nutrition
benefits during a time of record poverty and unacceptably high unemployment. Fighting Poverty
with Faith challenges everyone to live for one week on the food budget of someone surviving on
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or what is commonly called, food stamps.

The average benefit for an entire month is $133.79, which works out to $4.50 a day or $1.50 a meal.
Participants are being asked to limit their entire food budget for the week of October 27 to November
3 to $31.50.

Visit: http://fightingpovertywithfaith.com/

http://content.postnewsgroup.com/?p=14854




                                                                                               - 230 -
    Petaluma Patch –



    Congressional Candidate Tries Living on Food Stamp Budget
    Norman Solomon, who is running to replace Lynn Woolsey in Congress, says he wants to bring attention to
    proposed cuts to CalFresh, which feeds millions of low-income Californians

   By Karina Ioffee




    In an ongoing effort to reduce spending, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have been eyeing
    the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.
    Under the House Republicans‘ plan for fiscal year 2012, SNAP funding would be cut by $127 billion over ten
    years and the program converted to a block grant. For California, that translates into an estimated $10 million
    in cuts, resulting in either a reduction in benefits to low-income families or stricter guidelines about who is
    eligible.

    Some 3.7 million Californians are currently enrolled in the program, more than double the number from ten
    years ago, which helps low-income families purchase groceries.
    To raise awareness about the impending cuts, Congressional candidate Norman Solomon went food shopping
    in Petaluma on Monday kicking off his Food Stamp Challenge, an experiment about what living on food
    stamps is really like.

    A single person on the program receives $126 a month or just $31.50 a week, making grocery shopping more
    than challenging.

    Click on the video on the right to hear Solomon discuss why he's embarking on his "Food Stamp
    Challenge"




                                                                                                                - 231 -
Solomon is pledging to not spend any more than the alloted amount for an entire week (including going out to
eat) to bring attention to what he believes is a vital program that sustains low-income families, especially
during difficult economic times.

―The war in Iraq costs us $1 million a year per soldier, while Washington says it can‘t afford the program that
feeds millions of Americans,‖ Solomon told Patch as he shopped on Monday. ―I feel a very powerful
commitment to getting our priorities straight.‖

Solomon, 60, is one of seven candidates running in the newly created District 2, which runs from Marin
County to the Oregon border. Whoever wins will replace Rep. Lynn Woolsey, who has represented the smaller
District 6 in Washington for nearly 20 years and is retiring at the end of next year.

The anti-war and anti-nuclear energy activist says he has personal experience being on food stamps for more
than a decade in the ‗70s and early ‗80s.

―It‘s gut level for me,‖ said Solomon, who now lives in Inverness and considers himself middle class. ―I know
what it‘s like to run the gauntlet of filling out the application and then living on $28 a month for groceries.‖

On Monday, Solomon shopped briefly at the Lucky on Lakeville Highway—buying some discounted
avocados, bell peppers and apples—before deciding that the store was too expensive for his budget. He then
headed to Grocery Outlet where he stocked up on a bag of yams, a block of cheese, bread, rice and lentils.
Between the two stores, he had spent $14.24, meaning he still had $17 to spend on other meals during the
week.
―It was very challenging,‖ Solomon said about his "first day" on food stamps, adding that he was now headed
home to start cooking.

Do you have experience living on food stamps? Share your story with us.


http://petaluma.patch.com/articles/congressional-candidate-launches-food-stamp-challenge




                                                                                                            - 232 -
Petoskey News -




Screening of "Food Stamped" offered locally
In an attempt to stamp out hunger, area faith groups will sponsor a screening of the new documentary,
―Food Stamped,‖ from 3:30-5:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 30, at Temple B’nai Israel in Petoskey.


The film is an informative and humorous account of a couple who try to eat a healthy, well balanced
dieton a food stamp budget, and through their adventures, take a deep look at America’s broken food
system.


The free screening is cosponsored by Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, Emmanuel Episcopal Church,
First Presbyterian of Petoskey, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Petoskey and the Charlevoix-
Emmet Poverty Reduction Initiative, a local human services coalition.


The screening is planned in conjunction with the annual Fighting Poverty with Faith and ―Circle
of Protection‖ mobilizations, which are national, interfaith movements to cut domestic poverty in half by
2020.
The 2011 theme is, ―Working Together to End Hunger.‖


―According to the latest U.S. Bureau of the Census 2011 report, more than 44 million Americans rely on
the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to provide food for their families. Forty-seven and a half
percent are children and 8.3 percent are seniors,‖ said Lisa Luebke with the Char-Em United Way.


Following the screening of the film, participants will discuss how they can unite together to protect and
strengthen the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.


―It is our conviction to our faith that calls us to speak up to protect Supplemental Nutrition Assistant
Program from funding cuts and significant structural changes that would lead to a weakened program and
lesser accessibility for those in need,‖ said Matthew Zerwekh, a student rabbi with Temple B’nai Israel.


―The poor do not have powerful lobbies, but they have the most compelling claim on our conscience and
common resources,‖ added pastor Sherry McGuffin, of Cross of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church.


Attendees are requested to bring two cans of fruits or vegetables if they are able, to be donated to the
Manna Food Project.


The screening is open to the public, and local, state and federal elected officials have been invited to
attend.


For more information and to RSVP, contact Pam Ovshinsky at (231) 622-8611.


                                                                                                       - 233 -
http://www.petoskeynews.com/entertainment/pnr-screening-of-food-stamped-offered-locally-
20111025,0,3590415.story




                                                                                           - 234 -
Politic 365 -




12 Members of Congress Live Like 49 Million in Poverty




 (Special from Crewof42)
Members of Congress are accustomed to making $174,000 a year and $476 a
day before taxes. That changed for seven days for 12 members last week. For
seven days they lived on $4.50 per day for food … for a week. One in 7
Americans live on $4.50 or $31.50 a week for food, the average for a food
stamp recipient in the U.S.
A record 49 million Americans live in poverty, more than at any other time in
American history. Forty-four million Americans use food stamps.
Last April, House Republicans passed the Ryan Budget (named after the
House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan) which would cut $127 billion from
the food stamp program over ten years. As the debt Super Committee nears
its deadline on November 23, $1.5 trillion in mandatory ―trigger‖ cuts to
                                                                          - 235 -
Medicare and defense over 10 years is a possibility. Next week a new poverty
report will detail levels of poverty among minorities and the elderly. Social
Security represents 41% of the income of the elderly. There are 55 million
Americans on the program.
―As a person who grew up in public housing I knew what it was like to be poor
but being poor when I was a boy was dramatically different than being poor
now,‖ CBC Chair Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) said. ―This is a level of poverty we
have not seen in this country since the turn of century,‖ Cleaver added.
Cleaver stuck to large apples and cheap eats while on $4.50 a day.
―Food stamps are the difference between chronic hunger and a basic meal for
45 million Americans. In the wealthiest nation on earth, this is immoral,‖ Jan
Schakowsky (D-IL) said. Schakowsky participated in a week of self imposed
austerity along with Cleaver. Last week a report by the Brookings Institution
showed that those living in ―extreme poverty‖ grew by a third over the last
decade. Extreme poverty is defined by $5,570 earned by an individual or
living on $11,157 for a family of four. ―I realized how differently people live
who are on the edge,‖ said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), another member who
ate on $4.50 a day.
More Americans use food stamps now than at any time in the 72 year history
of the program which was started in 1939. The twelve members who lived on
$4.50 a day for food wanted to spotlight attention on poverty as part of The
Food Stamp Challenge conceived by the Fighting Poverty with Faith coalition.
Members skipped banquets, dinners and other food related occasions during
their week on the food stamp challenge.
―Never three full meals a day. You had to choose between an apple and a
banana … sometimes neither,‖ Rep. Barbara Lee said (D-CA). ―I started
looking up where all the food pantries were… All you do is concentrate on
food — it’s survival. All you do is think of how you’re gonna get through the
day,‖ she said. In her life before politics, Rep. Lee was once on welfare and
wrote in a memoir published this year that, ―being on welfare was a
humiliating experience but it was also enlightening because I now know
firsthand how stressful and frightening it is to think that you can’t meet your
family’s basic needs for food…‖
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), the ranking member of the Senate Budget
Committee, is proposing a $9 Billion dollar cut to the food stamp program. ―No
program in our government has surged out of control more dramatically than
food stamps. And nothing is being done about it,‖ Sessions told ABC News.
―Multimillion dollar lottery winners are getting food stamps because the money
is considered to be an asset not an income,‖ Sessions said on October 20.

                                                                            - 236 -
Republicans have chosen to couch the issues of poverty and income
inequality by defining it as ―class warfare.‖ But the statistics are daunting.
The Social Security Administration recently released statistics showing that
half of all working Americans are making $26,364 or less — the lowest
average wage since 1999. At the same time the number of millionaires
increased by 20%. Fifteen million Americans are now unemployed. In 2009,
USA Today reported that half of all American children lived in a household
requiring food stamps.
No Republicans are known to have taken the Food Stamp Challenge. Four
members of the Congressional Black Caucus including Chairman Cleaver,
Del. Donna Christensen (D-USVI), and Reps. Lee, Alcee Hastings (D-FL) and
Marcia Fudge (D-OH) participated.
http://politic365.com/2011/11/07/12-members-of-congress-live-like-46-million-in-poverty/




                                                                                           - 237 -
Public News Service –




Fighting Poverty in Indiana by Challenging and Listening

October 27, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS - With one in five Hoosier children living in poverty, efforts are under way to better
understand and combat the issue.

David Sklar, president of Indianapolis' Jewish Community Relations Council, says there's a need for
children in poverty to eat better...

"We really need to make sure that kids are getting good nutrition and getting healthy products and not just
living off of chips and soda and peanut butter and jelly and things like that."

Sklar is helping organize Indiana's food-stamp challenge, where people are urged to try and spend only
$31.50 on a full week of meals. Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana's Hungry, the
state's food-bank association, is taking part in the challenge.

"Some of the folks that are engaging in this food stamp challenge with us have done a little research and
are sharing some recipes and some shopping lists and things like that. Frankly, I'm not at all much of a
cook, so it will be interesting for me to see what happens."

All Hoosiers can help fight hunger in Indiana, says Weikert Bryant.

"Donating either your time, your resources, or your food to a food bank or a local pantry. There are 11
member food banks, and you can see from our website, which is feedingindianashungry.org."

She says the organization serves food pantries in all 92 Indiana counties.

Indiana's Commission on Childhood Poverty, chaired by Dean Michael Patchner of the Indiana University
School of Social Work, is working toward an end-of-the-year final report, according to Josephine Hughes,
executive director of the Indiana chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

"The goal of the commission is to bring public and private entities together and reduce childhood poverty
by 50 percent by 2020."

More information on the challenge is online at feedingindianashungry.org.

Leigh DeNoon, Public News Service - IN

http://www.publicnewsservice.org/index.php?/content/article/22795-1




                                                                                                      - 238 -
    Redwood City Patch -



    Congresswoman Jackie Speier To Live on Food Stamp Budget
    Speier will live on a food budget of $4.50 a day.

   October 31, 2011




    Congresswoman Jackie Speier plans to spend the next five days limiting herself to eating on a budget of $4.50
    per day -- which she says is the budget of a typical food stamps recipient.

    At a community roundtable in Millbrae this morning, Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, said she hopes her
    experience will help highlight some of the difficulties facing the estimated 45 million Americans who use
    food stamps to survive.

    "It is the lifeline of people who are poor," Speier said. "The alarming part about this is that the numbers are
    growing."

    The poverty rate in the U.S. is at a historic high of more than 15 percent, and roughly 100,000 people in San
    Mateo County use food stamps,
    Speier said.

    Under two separate budget proposals currently being considered in Congress, the food stamp program could
    face huge budget cuts, Speier said.

    "The program is in jeopardy right now," she said.

    Speier displayed some of the items she was able to purchase for her first day of living on a food stamp budget:
    a bag of coffee and a loaf of bread from the Dollar Warehouse; a can of Campbell's low sodium
    chicken noodle soup; and a can of sweet peas, possibly to put in a tuna casserole later in the week.

    "And this is my treat for the week," Speier said, holding up a box of microwave popcorn packets.


                                                                                                                - 239 -
May Fong, chairwoman of the Consumer Education Department at City College of San Francisco, said that
making nutritionally sound choices when shopping for food is important, but that people on food stamps rarely
have the time or means to comparison shop, or consider alternatives to ready-made meals or fast food.

"Nutrition is secondary," Fong said. "You also have to think about survival."

Speier said she plans to chronicle her five-day experience on her Faceboook page
at http://www.facebook.com/#!/JackieSpeier.


- Bay City News
http://redwoodcity.patch.com/articles/congresswoman-jackie-speier-to-live-on-food-stamp-budget




                                                                                                        - 240 -
Religion News Service –
Included in:




Faith, political leaders find out how far food stamps go

By Josef Kuhn| Religion News Service, Published: October 27

WASHINGTON — Religious leaders and members of Congress this week are getting
a firsthand taste of what it‘s like to eat on $4.50 a day as part of the ―Food Stamp
Challenge.‖

In the challenge, participants try to live for a week on the average amount received by
people who use food stamps, now known as the federal Supplemental Nutritional
Assistance Program (SNAP).

―We do need to put ourselves sometimes in other people‘s shoes so we can really feel
what they have to go through every day,‖ said Donna Christensen, a Democrat who
represents the U.S. Virgin Islands as a nonvoting delegate.

The Food Stamp Challenge is part of Fighting Poverty with Faith, an annual interfaith
initiative endorsed by 50 national religious organizations.

This year is a particularly critical one for the cause, faith leaders said, because
Congress is considering significant cuts to the more than $64 billion program.

On Thursday (Oct. 27), religious and political leaders teamed up with current SNAP
recipients to shop at a Safeway grocery store near Capitol Hill.

One of them was the Rev. Peg Chemberlin, president of the National Council of
Churches and a former adviser to the White House‘s Office of Faith-based and
Neighborhood Partnerships.

Several decades ago, unable to find a job after leaving a seminary program,
Chemberlin signed up for food stamps. But she had forgotten what it was like to shop
on such a tight budget.
                                                                                      - 241 -
―No soda, no magazines, no coffee,‖ said Chemberlin as she pushed her cart by each
item. She tried not to look at the donuts, croissants and Doritos.

―Absolutely no specialty items,‖ she said.

Chemberlin shopped with Vernell Livingston, 72, a local resident whose only sources
of income are Social Security payments and SNAP.

At one point, Chemberlin suggested some $6.99 beef patties to Livingston, who shook
her head and said, ―No, no, no, no.‖ She selected less expensive ground turkey
instead, which she planned to eat with cheese on 99-cent wheat bread for dinner.

At another point, Livingston put a $1.29 can of Campbell‘s chicken noodle soup in
her cart, and then opted for a generic chicken noodle soup for 89 cents.

Livingston‘s three small bags of groceries totaled $29.93, just under the average
SNAP allotment of $31.50 per week.

Although SNAP is called a ―nutritional assistance‖ program, good nutrition may be
unattainable for many of those receiving benefits.

Chemberlin said she wished Livingston could have bought more fruits and vegetables,
―because it‘s clear she‘s very oriented toward eating healthily, but we had to choose
between fruits and vegetables and protein.‖

―The health risks are terrible, when you look at sugar, sodium and fats in the foods
you must buy on $4.50 a day,‖ said Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., who once received
food stamps as a single mother.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat from Washington, D.C., said one in
four families in the nation‘s capital are on SNAP.

Since the beginning of the recession, she noted, the number of those on SNAP
nationally rose from 27 million to 44 million, and nearly half are children.

Eight members of Congress, all Democrats, have agreed to take the Food Stamp
Challenge.

Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, said religious
groups‘ efforts to support the poor need to be complemented by government policy.

―Don‘t dare take issue with the SNAP program. ... It has to be funded and it has to be
continued,‖ Gutow said.
                                                                                    - 242 -
Chemberlin echoed his thoughts: ―Does God want us to give individually in a
charitable way, or does he want us to give as a nation? I think the answer is yes to
both of those.‖

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/faith-political-leaders-find-out-how-far-food-
stamps-go/2011/10/27/gIQAzf50MM_story.html




                                                                                                 - 243 -
    San Mateo Patch -



    Speier Takes 'Food Stamp Challenge'
    Lawmaker, faith leaders to try living on $4.50 a day -- a dilemma faced by one in seven Americans.

   By Rebecca Rosen Lum

   October 31, 2011
    &nbps;0 Comments




    A total food budget of $4.50 a day may be tough to swallow, but Congresswoman Jackie Speierplans to try.
    Starting Monday, the Peninsula Democrat will begin a five-day challenge to live on a food stamp budget.

    Participants, including faith leaders, anti-poverty groups, students and eight members of Congress, hope the Food Stamp
    Challenge will instill empathy, which they say is especially critical with Congress considering deep cuts to the $64 billion
    federal program.
    With the poverty rate "at a historic high of over 15 percent," Speier said she wants to "experience firsthand how a growing
    number of Americans are forced to live in this tough economy."

    Californians on food stamps received an average monthly benefit last year of $136.75 -- a bit more than $32 a week or
    roughly $4.50 a day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which administers the Supplemental Nutrition
    Assistance Program (SNAP).

    "I believe that it is unconscionable to make cuts to programs that feed America‘s poor and our nation‘s children during the
    height of an economic crisis,‖ said U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland. ―We must fight against any efforts to balance the
    budget on the backs of the most vulnerable Americans."
    Formerly known as the Food Stamp Program, SNAP provides more than 3.6 million Californians with benefits to help
    them purchase food for them and their families.
    SNAP benefits can be used to buy foods such as breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and meats, fish,
    and poultry.




                                                                                                                         - 244 -
Benefits cannot be used to purchase food consumed onsite, hot foods, or alcoholic beverages, cigarettes or tobacco,
according to the USDA.

Speier is assembling a group in the community to participate in the Food Stamp Challenge. Students, faculty and staff at
one Southern California college are undertaking a similar challenge this Sunday in which members of Occidental College
will try to feed themselves for a week on the same $4.50 per day budget.

California's median household income plunged by 6 percent to $57,708 between 2006 and 2010, and nationwide, earnings
fell by 4.4 percent, according to a recent census report. The gap widened between rich and poor throughout the state, with
the wealthiest 40 percent enjoying a spike in income.

The percentage of people living below the poverty line San Mateo County fell from 7.4 percent in 2006 to 6.8 percent last
year.

Read more about the Food Stamp Challenge or Fighting Poverty with Faith.
-- Bay City News Service contributed to this story


http://sanmateo.patch.com/articles/jackie-speier-takes-food-stamp-challenge




                                                                                                                      - 245 -
Sojourners -




Fighting Poverty with the Food Stamp Challenge
by Anne Marie Roderick 10-24-2011 | 7:47pm

What would it be like to eat on a budget of $4.50 a day, the average daily allotment for the 45 million Americans who
use food stamps? This week, the Sojourners interns are joining other faithful folk nationwide in finding out! We're
taking the challenge sponsored by Fighting Poverty with Faith, part of a year-long campaign called "Working Together
to End Hunger." The campaign hopes to bring awareness to the great need for government food assistance-which is
threatened by recurring efforts to cut food stamp funding.

Our decision to participate in this challenge grows out of our deep commitment to help build a world that is free of
poverty, inequality, and social injustice. We strive to live in the example of Christ, who fed the hungry, healed the sick,
welcomed the stranger, and embraced the outcast. We will be focusing our prayers this week on our brothers and
sisters around the United States who are hungry, who struggle to feed their children and families, and who rely on
much needed social services to sustain their lives.


Please think and pray about issues of food scarcity and policy with us this week. Below, read a short prayer from
each intern and offer any prayers or prayer requests in the comments section below.




Joshua Witchger, web assistant: This week, as we eat in solidarity with the poor, we ask for a fresh understanding of
what it means to pray "give us this day our daily bread."


                                                                                                                   - 246 -
Jack Palmer, communications assistant: Lord, would you move in the hearts of those officials who have the ability to
make hunger a thing of the past.


Elisabeth Preisinger, development assistant: God, please be with those throughout our country and the world who
struggle to find the resources for each meal. May you provide them with daily nourishment



http://blog.sojo.net/blogs/2011/10/24/fighting-poverty-food-stamp-challenge




                                                                                                              - 247 -
Think Progress –




Morning Briefing: November 1, 2011
By ThinkProgress on Nov 1, 2011 at 9:00 am




A dozen Democratic lawmakers are taking part in a food stamp challenge organized by religious
groups, which encourages them to spend no more than $31.50 a week on groceries. That comes to
just $4.50 a day. It’s an effort to help lawmakers understand what it’s like to rely on the program.

http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/11/01/357861/morning-briefing-november-1-2011/




                                                                                                - 248 -
United Church of Christ News –




Faith groups take on Food Stamp Challenge

Written by Jeff Woodard
October 31, 2011




National religious leaders, Congress members and recipients of the Supplemental Nutritional
Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) gathered at a Washington, D.C., Safeway
supermarket Oct. 27 for a press conference and a shopping trip for a week's worth of groceries.
Their challenge was to spend no more than the weekly SNAP allotment of $31.50 per family.

With Congress considering cuts in SNAP, the religious community is focusing the country's attention
on the realities of hunger and poverty. An estimated 45 million Americans currently receive food via
SNAP.

"The timing is very important in that comes when the Super-Committee is deliberating and will soon
be delivering its recommendations for deficit reductions to Congress by Nov. 23," said Sandy
Sorensen, director of UCC offices in Washington, D.C. The Super-Committee comprises 12
members charged with submitting the proposal.

"Faith leaders were accompanied by recipients of food stamps," said Sorensen. "It was interesting to
watch because (the food-stamp recipients) know this territory and know how difficult it is to find
quality, nutritional food and still remain within the budget of $31.50 a week to feed a family."

Sorensen said one team of shoppers found itself $6 or $7 over budget. "The things they needed to
put back were peanut butter and rice," she said. "We're talking about choices involving peanut butter
and rice. We're not talking about steaks here."

The national event marks the beginning of the fourth annual Fighting Poverty With Faith mobilization.
Co-sponsored by the Jewish Council for Public affairs, Catholic Charities USA and the National



                                                                                               - 249 -
Council of Churches, Fighting Poverty With Faith comprises more than 50 national faith
organizations.

Among featured guests and speakers Oct. 27 were: Fr. Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities
USA; Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; the Rev. Peg
Chemberlin, president of the National Council of Churches; Sayyid Syeed, director of Interfaith and
Community Alliances, Islamic Society of North America; Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D – Mo.); Kathleen
Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture; and local SNAP recipients.

"So many of us have no idea what it is like to struggle to feed families on $4.50 a day," said
Chemberlin, who once had been on food stamps. "I challenge all of us to share in that struggle for a
week, not merely to attract attention to the growing needs of persons in poverty, but as a reminder
that God does not expect any of us to turn our backs on others in need."

Added Sorensen, "The notion that these baseline programs that help people survive from day to day
could be threatened is just really alarming. You can just see that what we have now is barely enough
for people to get by."

More information about the Food Stamp Challenge is available at
<foodstampchallenge.typepad.com/>.

To learn about the upcoming UCC Mission:1 campaign to fight hunger, please visit
<ucc.org/mission1>.

http://www.ucc.org/news/faith-groups-take-on-food.html




                                                                                               - 250 -
Vindy –




Mahoning Valley leaders to kick off Food Stamp Challenge
Published: Sat, October 29, 2011 @ 12:04 a.m.

Youngstown

Area public officials and community leaders will join national religious leaders,
members of Congress and senior Obama administration officials in the national
weeklong Food Stamp Challenge to focus attention on hunger and poverty.

From Monday through Nov. 7, those taking the Food Stamp Challenge will eat
only the food they can buy with $31.50, the average weekly Supplemental
Nutritional Assistance Program allotment for a single adult.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17, and other participants will kick off the
challenge at a press conference at 11:30 a.m. Mondayat Save-a-Lot at Gypsy Lane
and Belmont Avenue.

Also participating are Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro of Liberty, D-32nd;
State Rep. Sean O‘Brien of Brookfield, D-65; John McNally, Mahoning County
commissioner; Brian Corbin and George Garchar of the Diocese of Youngstown;
Bonnie Deutsch Burdman of Youngstown Area Jewish Federation; the Rev. Lewis
Macklin from Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church; and Joe Rossi, executive
director of the Area Agency on Aging.

This local challenge is held in conjunction with the fourth annual national
Fighting Poverty with Faith mobilization.

Fighting Poverty with Faith, co-founded by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs,
Catholic Charities USA, and the National Council of Churches, includes more
than 50 national faith organizations brought together by shared traditions of
justice to act on behalf of those living in poverty in America. Ryan is one of nine
members of Congress, and the only member of the Ohio delegation, to
participate.

http://www.vindy.com/news/2011/oct/29/local-leaders-to-kick-off-food-stamp-cha/



                                                                                  - 251 -
Voice of America –




Also appeared in:




October 28, 2011
Rabbi, Imam and Pastors Defend US Food Subsidy Program
Jerome Socolovsky | Washington




                                                                                                                Photo: VOA

A group of Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders protest proposed cuts to a government food subsidy program for
tens of millions of Americans, in Washington, D.C., October 28, 2011.

A group of Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders pretended to be poor, as they went
shopping in a Washington supermarket this week. Their aim was to protest proposed cuts to a
government food subsidy program for tens of millions of Americans.

Rabbi Steve Gutow led the way.

An imam went down the cereal aisle.

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And a priest got some help with numbers from one woman assisting.




And there was a challenge - spend no more than $31.50. That is the average sum distributed by the
government's Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. It is popularly known by its former
name, Food Stamps.

The federally-funded program is for Americans living in what is known as "food insecure
households."

How many Americans live that way?

"Forty-eight million of us. That's not 48,000, that's not 488,000, that's not 4.8 million. Forty-eight
million of us who struggle under the threat of hunger every day," said Rabbi Steve Gutow of the
Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

These clergy plan to live on the food stamp budget for one week. And they are calling on other
Americans to do the same to protest proposed cuts to the program's 2012 budget.

Participation in the program has increased by more than 60 percent since the 2008 recession. Critics
say the program does not reduce hunger.

Reverend Canon Peg Chemberlin used to live on food stamps and said Americans face a decision.

"Will we be a nation of compassion, the one God calls us to? Or will we be a nation of greed?" asks
Chemberlin.

Rabbi Gutow says poverty is not a popular topic for politicians.

"So they talk a lot about things that help the middle class. And they don't talk about things that help
the poor," said Gutow.

But he said helping the poor is so ingrained in religious tradition that these leaders are left with no
choice but to defend the food subsidy program.


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http://www.voanews.com/english/news/religion/Rabbi-Imam-and-Pastors-Defend-US-Food-Subsidy-
Program-132822788.html




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Wauwatosa Now -


Food Stamp Challenge raises awareness about local need for food




 Hunger Task Force Executive Director Sherri Tussler checks the shelf for other options when the pasta she
              bought on sale last week went back to its regular price. Photo By C.T. Kruger




By Stefanie Scott
Nov. 2, 2011 | 5 comments

Sherrie Tussler is hungry. The more she tries to forget about food, the more her mind focuses on it and her frustration
and stomach gurgles increase.

"You feel lethargic and crummy and I've been searching for words all day," she said.

The executive director of Hunger Task Force and Wauwatosa resident has been following a food stamp diet since
Oct. 27. While she wouldn't be eligible for the actual food assistance program, she agreed to live on the average
individual allocation of $31.50 per week until Nov. 3.

As of Tuesday, she was joined by more than 50 other people in the area who had signed up for the Food Stamp
Challenge through Hunger Task Force. The program is actually part of a national interfaith effort called Fighting
Poverty with Faith meant to draw attention to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, often known as food
stamps.

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"In Milwaukee County, 225,000 people are using food stamps and struggling to make ends meet," she said. "People
are quick to judge, like this is living the high life. If you haven't felt what's like to be hungry or experienced deprivation,
then you should try the challenge."


Counting her pennies
On Tuesday, Tussler headed to the Pick 'n Save on State Street to pick up some groceries. This trip took far less time
than her initial food stamp shopping experience the prior week when she did her research, she said.

"You have to comparison shop everything," Tussler said.

She had previously purchased a bag of carrots to provide some crunch and texture. This time she again grabbed a
bag as well as celery, but that was the extent of the vegetables in her cart.

She cruised past the fresh fruits, bakery, deli, cheese section and prepared entrees - all too expensive for her budget
- and headed for the shelves of peanut butter.

"There's a lot of protein in peanut butter and you can eat it for breakfast lunch or supper," she said.

Along with black beans and rice and eggs, those items have replaced the meat she couldn't afford to buy.

She tried to pass quickly by coffee, sweet treats and even olive oil that would provide more flavor to her meals. Her
one "treat" could be found in the dairy section. She purchased a pack containing two sticks of real butter so she could
make buttered noodles with garlic for her 14-year-old daughter that night.

By the time she made it to the dairy section, she was counting her pennies. The 18 eggs also have provided
breakfast food, egg salad sandwiches on crackers - bread doesn't last as long and costs more - and a quick protein
pick-me-up when she's feeling weak.

Even at more than $3 she grabbed a gallon of milk. She has tried to use rice and milk and cinnamon from her home
spice collection to make a rice pudding.

"We're allowed to use our own condiments," she said.

But taking food from well-meaning family and friends - including trick-or-treat candy or a corporate luncheon she had
scheduled that day - were no-nos during the challenge. Participants don't have to live on food stamps for long and the
idea is to make it as realistic as possible, Tussler said.

But she hopes that people who are on food stamps have people and places to turn to for extra support because it's
not meant to be the sole source of nutrition.


Food pantry use on rise
In Wauwatosa, people generally turn to local food pantries to fill the void.

The Tosa Community Food Pantry is seeing an increase in clients who are now receiving food stamps, President
Mary Ann Hamill said. "In addition, we find that the clients feel the need to visit the pantry more frequently than in the
past."

Because in-kind and cash donations are down significantly, the pantry has a greater need of items than in the past,
especially pasta, canned fruits and vegetables, cereals, soups, peanut butter and jelly, tuna and spam.

At Tosa Cares food pantry, "Our guests find that the food assistance program does not sustain their families for the
month," President Tom Ertel said.


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Both local pantries collect and distribute personal hygiene and paper products, which aren't able to be purchased with
food stamps.

"These items are some of the most requested and are as needed as food," Ertel said.

Still, Tussler said, the financial assistance provided by food stamps does provide some perks, such as the ability to
get fresh milk instead of powdered, or a healthy cereal vs. a box full of sugar.

This time, Tussler hit $33.42 because the pasta and peanut butter were no longer on sale. After sliding a debit-style
card and using their allotment, people on food stamps can choose to pay the difference on their own or they have to
leave items behind.

Tussler was able to stay on budget last week because she returned a can of juice to the shelves.


At a Glance
The following is Tussler's shopping list. The prices include using Roundy's shopper discount card:

long-grain rice, $1.88

Corn Chex cereal, $2.99

Saltine crackers, $2.99

Skippy natural peanut butter with honey, $4.57

black beans, $1.79

fettucine microwave meal, $0.89

cheddar macaroni microwave meals, two at $0.89 each

apple juice concentrate, $1.65

frozen pizza, $1.98

carrots, $0.48

pasta, $1.89

celery, $0.98

unsalted butter, $2.63

gallon of milk, $3.29

large eggs, $2.23

yogurt, two at $0.70 each

http://www.wauwatosanow.com/news/133068253.html



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The White House Blog –




Standing Up for SNAP
Posted by Valerie Jarrett on October 28, 2011 at 02:29 PM EST

Yesterday morning, I visited a local grocery store as part of Fighting Poverty with Faith, an interfaith campaign co-
sponsored by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Catholic Charities USA, and the National Council of Churches.
While I was there, I had the chance to speak about the Obama Administration’s commitment to fighting hunger
through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. For many of the 45 million Americans who rely on
SNAP each year, these benefits are an economic lifeline. They can be the difference between going hungry, and
putting food on the table.

President Obama knows that many Americans were struggling to afford food before the economic crisis of 2008, and
that the recession only made things worse. He believes that our government must follow what he has called, ―a
common creed.‖ I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper.

That is why, when President Obama took office, he enhanced and expanded the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program. The investments we made kept 3.9 million Americans, including 1.7 million children, above the poverty line
in 2010. They prevented child hunger from rising, even as poverty and unemployment levels increased in the wake of
the economic crisis.

These investments also benefited our economy as a whole. In fact, every five dollars in new SNAP generates up to
nine dollars in increased economic activity, for stores, warehouses, truck drivers, and farms.

Of course, expanding SNAP benefits is just one of many ways the Obama Administration has supported low-income
Americans. Two weeks ago, the White House released a report entitled ―Creating Pathways to Opportunity,‖ which
goes into these initiatives in greater detail.
As President Obama seeks to protect our most vulnerable citizens, he is proud to work with religious leaders from all
faiths. A few months ago, I joined the President for a meeting with the Circle of Protection, a national religious
coalition committed to speaking up for ―the least of these.‖ Together, we held hands and prayed for the well-being of
our most vulnerable neighbors, and for the wisdom to remember our obligations toward one another.

This will not be easy. Even now, Congress has proposed making drastic cuts to the SNAP program, and to other
programs which benefit our economy while helping Americans make ends meet. But we believe that if we work
together with citizens and leaders of every faith, we can do the right thing, fight poverty, and make sure our economy
reflects our highest American ideals.

Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor to the President




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