Group to try out ‘food stamp’ budget

Interfaith Coalition on Poverty members will try to eat on $4.50 per person a day for a week.

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs: www.fns.usda.gov/snap

Food Research and Action Center: frac.org/initiatives/snapfood-stamp-challenges

People wishing to participate in the Interfaith Coalition on Poverty’s food stamp challenge may contact Tim Meliah at tmeliah@ccspokane... or by calling Catholic Charities of Walla Walla at 525-0572.

WALLA WALLA — Can you eat for just $4.50 a day?

That’s the question a group of local residents intend to try and answer next month.

Members of the Interfaith Coalition on Poverty, a local group concerned about homelessness, hunger and other issues, have decided to try to eat on that amount per day per person, for a week.

Coalition member Tim Meliah said the $4.50 figure is about the average amount 45 million low-income people get each day from the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the federal food stamp program. Coalition members will take the challenge from Feb. 18-24, he said.

Participants hope to use email to share tips and recipes during the experiment, Meliah said. “Their goal is a greater understanding of what struggling families in our community experience daily. And, perhaps, over the long-term, that understanding could lead to better programs to help low-income families,” he said.

About 8-10 coalition members have pledged to take the challenge, but the exact number of participants won’t be certain until the week of the challenge, Meliah said.

There are 33,317 households receiving SNAP benefits in the 12 eastern Washington counties which form U.S. Congressional District 5, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The average median income of those households was $16,825 in 2009 inflation-adjusted dollars.

Washington is one of 24 states which had SNAP participation rates that were significantly higher than the national rate. the USDA reported.

According to the Food Research and Action Center, the food stamp challenge first captured public attention in 2006 when FRAC allies in Philadelphia hosted one, followed by groups in Wichita, Kan. The challenge took the national stage in 2007 when four members of Congress — Reps. James McGovern, D-Mass., Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo., Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Tim Ryan, D-Ohio — pledged to live for week on an average food stamp budget and blogged about their experiences.

Comments

wallyworldguy 1 year, 5 months ago

food stamps were not meant to support all food needs of the low income families, but to supplement the support check from the gov't. Just like the help with the rent from the state, free cell phone, free internet, help with the power bill etc. etc. All told, there probably better off then some working poor that have to pay everything on their own.

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namvet60 1 year, 5 months ago

If you can't live on $31.50 a week you don't have an imagination to survive. I have no problem with that amount after paying my property taxes. :)

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jennybuggs 1 year, 5 months ago

Please remember that that amount is a SUPPLEMENT to the earned income of that family or any other benefits they are receiving. There are definitely people that do have to survive on that small amount for one reason or another, but starving people is not the program’s goal. And I am saying this as the child of a single mother whose family qualified for section 8 and other programs, not as someone who wants to be snarky about it.

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