Entries in Food Stamps (3)


Cory Booker Faces Challenges in First Days on Food Stamp Budget

Cindy Ord/Getty Images(NEWARK, N.J.) -- Chickpeas and lettuce. No coffee. That’s what Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker had for breakfast on his second day living on the food budget of an average American receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

From Dec. 4 to Dec. 12, Booker has agreed to eat only what he could buy with just under $30 – about $4 per day – and with fewer than two days completed, Booker’s already faced challenges.


Politico tried to help the mayor out by suggesting low-cost meals, but Booker rejected their meat-laden ideas, tweeting, “Not helping much. I’m a vegetarian.”

On his first day, Booker ran into scheduling troubles and had to go for a long stretch with nothing to eat since he did not have access to any of the groceries he bought Monday.

Booker told constituents about his first day on the SNAP challenge in a fireside-chat-style video posted to WayWire, the social media site he co-founded.

The Newark mayor agreed to document his experience taking the SNAP challenge on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and WayWire. Booker, known for his social media savvy, has tweeted photos of his grocery receipt and his breakfast so far this week.

Talking with Elizabeth Reynoso, Newark food policy director, in a video posted to WayWire at the beginning of the challenge, Booker said he’s excited “to help people understand these programs aren’t perfect, and we need to start thinking of policy issues in a bigger standpoint.”

“I’ve heard this ignorance sort of spouted about how people just take this money and are buying bad food – it’s just a poverty program that people are taking advantage of,” Booker said. “That’s not what I see on a daily basis as I shop in my low-income community.”

The idea for the mayor’s challenge bloomed out of a Twitter spat with a woman who said nutritional programs weren’t the government’s responsibility.

Another obstacle Booker will tackle this week is the loss of his usual java jolt.

One tweeter asked Booker where he would buy his coffee this week, to which he replied, “It isn’t in the budget. Day one, no caffeine… ”

In his video log, Booker said it was the first time he could remember that he would go a week with no coffee or caffeinated soda.

Almost a decade ago Johns Hopkins Medicine recognized caffeine withdrawal as a disorder that can cause headaches, tiredness, trouble concentrating and even flulike symptoms – hardly conducive to running a city of 278,000 people.

Michael Strahan of Live! with Kelly & Michael is also taking on the SNAP challenge. He kicked off his week tday tweeting a photo of a breakfast much heartier than Booker’s.

“Largest meal of the day,” Strahan tweeted, “three eggs, black beans, and sweet potato.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nearly 15% of US Receives Food Stamps

Ryan McVay/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- The number of poor Americans seeking food stamps has risen sharply to nearly 15 percent, according to a Wall Street Journal report produced with data from the Department of Agriculture.

According to the Journal, the number of Americans seeking assistance through the program formerly known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has increased by more than 8.1 percent to a total of 45.8 million. The one bright spot is that the pace of growth is declining, according to the Journal.

But things are still tough for many people across the nation. States in the Southeast tend to fare worse than in other areas of the country, with some of the largest percentages of people on food stamps, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. In Georgia, 1.8 million people received food stamps.

One of the states hit hardest by the economic climate is Mississippi, where more than 20 percent of the residents receive food stamps, according to the Department of Agriculture, as reported in the WSJ. In four other states, one in five residents receives food stamps from the government, according to the report. Those states are New Mexico, Tennessee, Oregon and Louisiana.

Hardest Hit States

  • Mississippi, 21.5%
  • New Mexico, 20.7%
  • Oregon, 20.6%
  • Tennessee, 20.2%
  • Louisiana, 19.9%

States “made changes to make it easier for residents to tap into the program, such as waiving requirements that limited the value of assets food stamp recipients could own,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


44.6 Million Americans on Food Stamps

George Doyle/Stockbyte(WASHINGTON) -- The number of Americans who rely on the federal government for help buying food continued to increase in March.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 44,587,238 people received SNAP benefits, commonly referred to as "food stamps" -- up 1 percent from February and an increase of more than 11 percent over last year.

Nearly 21 million households are in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Congress is considering plans to make deep cuts in this program.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio