*Newark, NJ mayor Cory Booker is in the midst of a self-imposed food stamp challenge inspired by a Twitter debate about the responsibility of government to provide food for its people – and let’s just say his stomach is on growl.
As previously reported, Booker opted to live for a week on the monetary equivalent of food stamps. He had $30 for the whole week — a mere $4.32 a day — to pay for all of his meals and beverages.
After a few days of eating mostly vegetable-based foods, Booker is famished. “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,” he wrote on his blog.
“Not being able to stop and drop a few dollars for a Venti coffee or Diet Mountain Dew is really raising my consciousness about the food choices I often take for granted,” Booker observed.
Morning talk show host Michael Strahan has joined the food stamp challenge.
The former NFL linebacker, who now hosts ABC’s “Live with Kelly and Michael,” tweeted a picture Wednesday of the first meal he ate living off the equivalent of what people receive in government assistance for food. Breakfast for the former New York Giants defensive end consisted of an omelette made with three eggs and black beans, with a side of mashed sweet potato.
Booker, who began his week-long SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) challenge on Tuesday, says he’s trying to raise awareness about food security and what he calls the “inequities” of the American food system.
In a video about his first day, the mayor holds his dinner (a bowl of salad) and talks about how he didn’t plan well and wasn’t near the food he purchased.
On Twitter, Booker posted Wednesday afternoon he’s starting to feel “caffeine withdrawal.”
“The second day on the #SNAPChallenge, I ate salad for breakfast, a can of peas and corn mixed together for lunch, and cauliflower, broccoli and a sweet potato for dinner,” he wrote. “In hindsight, investing more of my SNAP budget in eggs, and perhaps some coffee might have helped me later in the week. I am growing concerned about running out of food before this is over — especially as I try to resist the urge now to have another sweet potato before I go to bed tonight.”