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In The Bank

Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2012

“Nutrition is not the responsibility of the government”- @MWadeNC, twitter user

This single tweet to Newark, N.J. mayor Cory Booker sparked his participation in the SNAP Challenge, a week of eating on a SNAP (food stamp) budget. The popular mayor’s decision to experience the hardships felt by nearly 50 million Americans who rely on SNAP  led to a wider national discussion about the program. This graph illustrates the tremendous spike in the conversation relating to the SNAP challenge that pushed the issue of hunger and food insecurity to the headlines for an entire week.

The SNAP Challenge afforded Mayor Booker just $30 for food for seven days, which breaks down to $4.32 a day, or $1.44 per meal (if 3 meals a day are eaten). The amount is the financial equivalent of the budget provided to households participating in SNAP in the state of New Jersey. Mayor Booker reflected on his challenge throughout the week, and kept his constituency (and the rest of the country) posted online.  Below are a compilation of quotes from Mayor Booker’s blog outlining each day of his challenge:

“ I am unable to afford coffee or other caffeinated beverages on the SNAP budget.  I cannot remember the last time I started the day without a cup of coffee.” – Day 1

“…the constrained food options I have for this one short week highlight for me (with the hunger pains I felt today between small meals) what many hardworking families have to deal with week after week.” –Day 2

“I will likely not eat again until tomorrow morning in order to maintain enough food.” –Day 4

“I know that folks on SNAP don’t always have an abundance of wholesome food available to them and end up consuming many empty calories.” –Day 6

“I wanted to personally confront what I know millions of Americans deal with everyday— the lack of sufficient, safe, and nutritious food.” –Day 7

You can read the full text from each of Mayor Booker’s entries here.

While the attention Mayor Booker received for his SNAP Challenge will eventually subside, the need for healthy nutritious food felt by 50 million Americans facing hunger (135,000 of whom live right here in Western Mass.) will not. Visit our about us page to find out what role The Food Bank of Western Mass. plays in fighting hunger in our communities.

Photos from Cory Booker’s Instagram feed:

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