1.    What is the Food Stamp Challenge?

The Food Stamp Challenge is a personal opportunity for you to experience the challenges of a food-stamp recipient for one week, living on the food budget of the average food stamp recipient – just $29.40 for the week, a scant $1.40 per meal.

2.    Who is organizing the Food Stamp Challenge?

The Food Stamp Challenge is being organized by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, MAZON:  A Jewish Response to Hunger, the Rabbinical Assembly, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, The Cantors Assembly, and the American Conference of Cantors. 

3.    How do I register to participate in the Jewish Community Food Stamp Challenge?

Register to participate in the Food Stamp Challenge online at www.foodstampchallenge.com. When you register, you’ll sign the pledge to participate in the Food Stamp Challenge and be prompted to reach out to your network to ask for support of your participation. You will also receive up-to-date information about the Food Stamp Challenge, the SNAP program, and continued opportunities for involvement.

4.    How can I extend the Food Stamp Challenge/How do I turn my Food Stamp Challenge into a long term action to overcome hunger?

To multiply your impact of your taking the Food Stamp Challenge, we encourage you to reach out to your networks to raise money and to help us make hunger and poverty alleviation a key priority, both in government and within the organized Jewish community.  When you reach out to your network – family, friends, colleagues, and other contacts – for their financial support, you are enabling them to join you in taking action to overcome hunger. Your personal page can serve as portal to raise funds to benefit the anti-hunger efforts of the JCPA and the denominations in the United States and Israel. 

5.    Why is supporting anti-hunger advocacy  important?

This situation is simply unacceptable. As Jews, and as Americans, we are guided by a moral vision of how we must treat the most vulnerable members of our society. We cannot stand idly by. As the prophet Isaiah says, “If you offer your compassion to the hungry and satisfy the famished creature, then shall your light shine in darkness.” (58:10) 

Taking the Food Stamp Challenge and asking those close to you to make a contribution to support your participation is a meaningful way to demonstrate personal commitment to the cause of ending hunger and poverty in the United States.  By participating in the Food Stamp Challenge and helping to raise funds to benefit the anti-hunger efforts of the JCPA  and the denominations in the Unitest States and Israel, you are supporting Jewish leadership that makes a meaningful difference in the struggle to fight hunger and poverty.

6.    What if I want to participate but cannot take the Food Stamp Challenge from December 1-7, 2014?

If you cannot participate on these specific dates, we encourage you to schedule your Food Stamp Challenge before the new year.

Even with this flexibility, you may find it difficult to complete the Challenge due to schedule or other factors. We still encourage you to register to participate and to complete as much or as little of the Food Stamp Challenge as you are able.  We also encourage you to make a contribution to the Confronting Poverty campaign and reach out to family, friends, and colleagues to encourage their support of this effort as well.

7.    Why should we do a Food Stamp Challenge now, in 2014?

The Food Stamp Challenge is important in 2014 for several reasons. Food stamps and many other federal feeding programs are facing steep cuts and possible restructuring in the federal FY2015 budget. These cuts would severely restrict many families’ access to healthy food and could also limit spending, thus impeding economic growth. Block granting the food stamp program would greatly restrict its flexibility, which could prove traumatic for many families in the event of another economic recession or economic disaster.

8.    The food stamp program, also known as SNAP or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is meant to be supplemental. Why is it worthwhile to attempt to live on food stamps alone for this Food Stamp Challenge?

Although the food stamp program is meant to be supplemental, it represents the majority of the food budget for many families enrolled.

The Food Stamp Challenge provides a tangible demonstration of how food and other resources are inequitably distributed in the United States. As such, the Food Stamp Challenge experience can only begin to touch upon these issues. We cannot fully recreate the many complex ways poverty manifests itself. We cannot address all the problems associated with lack of access to healthy food, healthcare, education, and employment opportunities, and the realities of the day-to-day struggle in one breath. But we have to start somewhere. And learning about hunger and the food stamp program through a personal experience is a powerful and effective place to start.