Food Stamps Challenge

The first full week of May was the Food Stamps Challenge.  Students Taking on Poverty planned the Food Stamps Challenge as a way to show people one (small) piece of what it’s like to be in poverty.  The challenge was to eat as if on food stamps – meaning you had a $4 allowance for food – for a day.  Some of the STOP members did it for longer than a day.  I only did the one day.  One thing is for sure, though: the money from food stamps isn’t enough to get a nutritionally balanced 2000 calorie diet.

The day before the challenge, they had a few speakers come in.  Two of the people on a panel were involved in administering food stamps programs, and the third was a recent Stanford graduate and food stamps recipient.  The Stanford grad said that he knew a lot of graduates from top colleges on food stamps in the current economy.  It’s those types of things that make you realize that the image of welfare recipients as unproductive leeches on society is just right wing propaganda: the people who are the most eager to get into the work force and who are intellectually qualified can’t get jobs because our economic system doesn’t value stability, and welfare is there to make sure that the instability of our economic system doesn’t mean the death of our citizens.