Four members of Congress are trying to feed themselves on $21 this week.
That’s the amount a week’s worth of food stamps is worth – that’s right, $21.00. $3.00 per day, $1.00 per meal.
The group consists of two members of the House Hunger Caucus and two (count ’em, two) members of the House who took the “Food Stamp Challenge” that the Caucus created to raise awareness of the plight of Food Stamp recipients and of the hunger that shadows those living in poverty. Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), Tim Ryan (D-OH), and Janice Schakowsky (D-IL) are all trying to live for a week on $21.0 in groceries.
What have the House members learned?
1) Healthy eating costs money: “‘No organic foods, no fresh vegetables, we were looking for the cheapest of everything,’ McGovern said. ‘We got spaghetti and hamburger meat that was high in fat — the fattiest meat on the shelf. I have high cholesterol and always try to get the leanest, but it’s expensive. It’s almost impossible to make healthy choices on a food stamp diet.'”
2) $21.00 doesn’t go very far to feed an adult: “‘I don’t know if this is going to make it,’ said the third-term Democrat (Ryan), who is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 215 pounds. ‘By the end of the week, I’m going to be eating cornmeal and strawberry preserves.'”
Let’s hope that at least the House members who refused to participate in the Food Stamp Challenge (I’m sure labeling it a political stunt – which it is, of course, but sometimes political stunts serve a useful purpose, so there we are) will at least read these blogs and get some sense of the difficult life choices that the poor are faced with. Then maybe instead of engaging in their favorite game, blaming the victim, they might develop a sense of compassion – and behave accordingly to useat least a little of our tax money to “promote the general welfare.”