Food Stamp Challenge on “The Chew”

16 May

Let’s just say that daytime television can often be as deep as a puddle.  If I hear one more story about color blocking, I might lose my mind.  And let’s not even discuss all the stories about products that are “reasonably priced,” but seem rather outrageously priced to me.  A guest on the “Today Show” suggested buying a $50 candle that looked pretty similar to a $10 candle I saw at Walmart.

So, you can understand why I was relieved to here chef Mario Batali describe the “Food Stamp Challenge” he is doing with his family on “The Chew.”  As part of the challenge, Batali is limiting his family’s food budget to “$31 per person per week or $1.48 per meal.”  Batali’s goal is to bring awareness to the possibility that Congress may soon drastically reduce funding for the food stamp program (more information can be found at the Food Bank for New York City website).

I want to try this challenge in the next few weeks to see how well I do using just $31 in a week for groceries.  I think the advantage for a person who is merely trying to see if they can live on limited funds is the fact that I can plan ahead.  In reality, poor people don’t get to plan for being poor.

Also, I wonder if many people who qualify for food stamps have access to the internet where they can compare the sales at different grocery stores.  And that is only presupposing that these same folks can drive all over town to shop.  In poorer areas of Columbus, OH, there aren’t grocery stores nearby.  Often, the closest grocery store is also more expensive than a larger store like Meijer or Walmart.

It seems almost like an art to figure out what is most cost effective and yet nutritious.  On the local radio show “All Sides with Ann Fisher,” Fisher and her guests discussed the very issue of maintaining nutrition on a budget.  At the 38 minute mark, they specifically addressed how food banks want people to use services like food stamps to cover most of their food needs and visit food banks to fill any further needs.

Unfortunately, food banks are serving more people with fewer funds, so cutting federal funding for foods stamps would put even more stress on local food banks.

5/16/12—I saw these stories today and thought I might add them:

“Taking the Congressional Food Stamp Challenge” from Huffington Post was written by  Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.  She lists what she purchased for the week and   how she was able to keep up with the challenge and her congressional duties.  (11/01/11)

“Marion Batali Food Stamp Challenge” from the Huffington Post (5/14/12 )

“The Food Stamp Challenge: The Challenge Has Been Met — The Work Begins” from the Huffington Post was written by Rabbi Steve Gutow and he discusses the religious implications of the challenge. (11/9/11) 

Hope you find these stories as interesting as I did!

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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Politics, Pop Culture


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