“I’m tired, and it’s hard to focus,” commented Mayor Greg Stanton after trying to live on the $29/week food budget that too many in his city subsist upon.
For most Americans, it’s hard to imagine a single trip to the grocery store that costs less than $29, let alone an entire week on less than 30 bucks. But Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton decided to step up to a challenge presented by local activists, who wanted the mayor to live on the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) that 1.1 million Arizonans take part in weekly.
OK- ran out the door today with no time to scramble eggs or even make a sandwich. So I’m surviving on an apple and handful of peanuts, and the coffee I took to the office until dinner. I’m tired, and it’s hard to focus. I can’t go buy a sandwich because that would be cheating- even the dollar menu at Taco Bell is cheating. You can’t use SNAP benefits at any restaurants, fast food or otherwise. I’m facing a long, hungry day and an even longer night getting dinner on the table, which requires making EVERYTHING from scratch on this budget. It’s only for a week, so I’ve got a decent attitude. If I were doing this with no end in sight, I probably wouldn’t be so pleasant.
Most of us have had meager times in our lives, when money for food and bills is tight or even scarce. You learn how to buy the cheapest meats, freeze and thaw them when needed, use the cheapest veggies (potatoes and canned corn anyone?) and eat beans and canned tuna like a pro. But it’s hard on kids not to have healthy, natural foods on a budget like this and for so many kids that means they go to school hungry or after a meal of processed cereals that are high in sugar.
And it’s not just kids whose parents are subsisting on food stamp programs, but also kids in working class families whose parents do their very best. Good, healthy food is expensive and time is short.
You’ve gotta give props to Mayor Stanton for giving it a shot. It’s so easy to forget the ways in which people struggle when you’re in the upper classes. Sometimes we all need to walk in someone else’s shoes.
Also read “From the Bottom of the 47%” by Sean Davis