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Living on $31.50 a Week

Posted by Elyssa Koidin  

12:07 PM Oct 06, 2011

A month ago the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a report stating that 48.8 million Americans lived in households that in 2010 struggled with

hunger. 16.2 million of those people were children. While this report is very worrisome, later in the month the Census Bureau  released a report stating that 3.9 million people (including 1.7 million children) were prevented from falling deeper into poverty by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). This statistic demonstrates once again that SNAP is a success story. In a year of massive unemployment, foreclosures, and increased poverty, SNAP was the saving grace for millions of families.

Still, that does not mean that a life of hunger is easy. 45 million Americans rely on food stamps to provide daily food and nutrition for themselves and their family. The average food stamp allotment is $126 a month. This breaks down to roughly $31.50 a week, $4.50 a day, and $1.50 a meal. This is at a time when the average cost for a gallon of milk is $3.50 and a loaf of wheat bread is $4.49. Think about how little you can buy with $31.50 and the quality of food your family would be forced to consume.

This is why from October 27th-November 3rd the JCPA will be participating in a nationwide Food Stamp Challenge. This Challenge is a way for individuals to personally experience the challenge of hunger in the United States. For one week participants will only spend $31.50 for their meals.

This Challenge comes at a particularly poignant time when Congress is discussing rapidly reducing our deficit, and food assistance programs are at risk of massive cuts. At a time when a shocking 1 in 6 Americans are unsure when their next meal will be, we should do all that we can to lessen that insecurity, not contribute to it.

Join us in taking the Food Stamp Challenge and take the first step in educating yourself and your community on what it really means to be hungry in America.

When you register to participate, there is an opportunity to reach out to family, friends, and colleagues to multiply the impact of your taking the Food Stamp Challenge.  You can invite others to join you in taking the Challenge, encourage them to send an email to their Members of Congress in support of the SNAP program, and ask them to show support for your taking the Challenge by making a contribution in increments of $31.50 to benefit the JCPA’s Confronting Poverty campaign.  

We hope that you will consider asking others in your network to take the Food Stamp Challenge to elevate awareness about the difficulties of hunger in the U.S., advocate for the protection of funding for the SNAP program, and help support the important efforts in this area by the JCPA’s Confronting Poverty campaign.  We hope to have a massive number of people joining together to take the Food Stamp Challenge and send a resounding message about the commitment to address hunger and poverty and support programs that make a difference.  

For more information on the Food Stamp Challenge or other hunger issues please contact Elyssa Koidin.

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