Written by Travis Waldron
When local activist groups challenged Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to live on a food stamp budget for a week to mark Hunger Awareness Month, he took them up on the offer and found out just how hard it was. Stanton kept a diary on the challenge, which allotted him roughly $29 a week, the same amount 1.1 million Arizonans receive from the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) each week.
By day four, Stanton noted that he was ďtiredĒ and ďitís hard to focusĒ after leaving the house for work without time to scramble eggs or eat a decent breakfast:
OK- ran out the door today with no time to scramble eggs or even make a sandwich. So Iím surviving on an apple and handful of peanuts, and the coffee I took to the office until dinner. Iím tired, and itís hard to focus. I canít go buy a sandwich because that would be cheating- even the dollar menu at Taco Bell is cheating. You canít use SNAP benefits at any restaurants, fast food or otherwise. Iím facing a long, hungry day and an even longer night getting dinner on the table, which requires making EVERYTHING from scratch on this budget. Itís only for a week, so Iíve got a decent attitude. If I were doing this with no end in sight, I probably wouldnít be so pleasant.
Watch a local news report about Stantonís challenge, via Huffington Postís Bonnie Kavoussi:
According to Stantonís Facebook page, the city he governs ranks 34th-worst among Americaís 100 largest metro areas in terms of hunger, and one-in-four Arizona children are food insecure. Across the nation, there are more than 46 million people receiving SNAP benefits.
Despite the challenges presented by poverty and hunger, Republicans have proposed cuts to the programs that help struggling families afford food. The House GOP budget could kick millions out of SNAP and hundreds of thousands of children out of school lunch programs, exacerbating the high rates of food insecurity Americaís families are already facing.
This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.