Famed chef Mario Batali has announced that in order to bring more awareness to the cuts looming over the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, he’s launched a campaign called the Food Stamp Challenge Friday. According to Crain’s New York, participants in the challenge will live within the constraints of $31 for an entire week of meals – the average “food stamp” weekly allotment. Thus far, nearly 200 people have signed up, including New York meat man Pat LaFrieda and Food Bank for New York City CEO Margarette Purvis.
“While a one-week food stamp challenge can’t compare to the real challenges of living on a food stamp budget, it’s a meaningful way to build awareness and understanding of the importance of ensuring low-income families have access to needed food,” Ms. Purvis said.
With the Farm Bill currently in movement through Congress, as well as whole host of looming proposed budget cuts to the food assistance program, support is critical in order to shed a light on the impact such reduction and restructuring can potentially have on the community as a whole.
Mr. Batali, also a trustee of the Food Bank for New York City, urged people to take the challenge. “For one week, walk in someone else’s shoes,” he said in a statement. “Knowledge is power, and by trying to understand what our friends and neighbors are going through, we will be better equipped to find solutions.”
You can sign up to take the challenge here. Others across the nation have taken up similar challenges this spring, including folks in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Students at the University of Maryland blogged about their Food Stamp Challenge as well.