Congressman Bob Brady, whose First Congressional District is one of the nation’s hungriest and neediest, took on the “Food Stamp Challenge.” Yesterday he, Mayor Michael Nutter and State Senator Vincent Hughes began the seven-day trial. For the rest of the week each of politicians will subsist only on the amount of food that the average food stamp benefit can pay for. And that works out to a measly $5 a day. Brady, Nutter and Hughes are participating in the challenge to raise awareness about the importance of food stamps (now called SNAP), and the difficulties that those who depend on them to feed their families face everyday. The challenge comes a week before the controversial asset test for SNAP recipients goes into effect, and ultimately disqualifies thousands of low-income families from receiving food assistance.
In an official statement, Brady called the asset test “stupid” and an “assault on the poor.”
To kick off the challenge, Brady embarked on a $35 spending spree at West Philly’s ShopRite Market, where he was able to fill his cart with chicken cutlets, a loaf of wheat bread, peanut butter, jelly, milk, rice, spaghetti sauce, pasta, fresh carrots, lettuce, bran cereal and store brand decaf tea bags. Highlighting the dire situation faced by food stamp recipients every day, Brady’s grocery bill would’ve easily exceeded the $35 limit had not been for his ShopRite discount card.
“This is going to be a real challenge for me,” Brady added. “But I’m only doing it for a week. Poor families have to make do on this budget week and week after week.”