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.
After a week, Sheila Steffen went back to her life filled with numerous options and plenty of food. Not true for the millions of Americans across the country who face this challenge every. It continues week in and week out.
One in four families – according to the Food Research and Action Center – worry about having enough money to feed themselves and their families. And for those who may get the help of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food stamps, it still may not be enough to buy the minimum amount of food the United States Department of Agriculture says people need to survive. But these programs that do provide for the hungry, are now in danger of disappearing as Congress looks to make more spending cuts.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – how can we even consider cuts to these types of programs, while we won’t even consider taking away subsidies to the oil companies – the richest and most profitable companies in the world? We are all in the food business, which means we should be concerned that we are about to make it even more difficult for those who need it most to actually have food. We need Congress to start acting like compassionate, responsible human beings. Oh well… I can dream.