When Florida Congresswoman and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz shared on twitter that she just ate a tuna sandwich, an apple, and had water for lunch, she wasn’t making a statement about the pressures of finding a place to eat in D.C., or a hectic lifestyle that left little time for a big meal. Instead, she was providing a glimpse into her first impressions as she underwent the “Food Stamp Challenge,” a yearly contest to see what it is like to try and survive for one week on the same amount of grocery money provided to those on governmental food assistance.
With $31 a week to spend, Wasserman Schultz posted her first four days of grocery shopping, already totaling $18, more than half her weekly allowance. And, with just one photo, she also displayed one of the biggest issues facing those who are food insecure and are trying to survive on very little grocery budget.
With potatoes, bread, tortillas and two boxes of macaroni and cheese, her diet would be very high on starch, and although she has chili, tuna and peanut butter to provide protein and apples and bananas for fruit, the first half of the week is almost entirely devoid of vegetables or dairy.
Food insecurity isn’t just about being physically hungry, but also about missing key nutrients that allow people to remain healthy simply because those foods just aren’t affordable. As anyone who has been to a grocery store can tell you, a gallon of milk costs about $3 or more, nearly a tenth of the weekly $30 budget.
You can watch the Chairwoman share her experience on twitter here, and provide her with advice on how to best spend her money, too.
For Wasserman Schultz, the challenge will be over in a few days, and she will be back to her normal diet and budget. For one out of five Americans, this is an ongoing struggle.
Photo from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Debbie_Wasserman_Schultz.jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons