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New Jersey Mayor Accepts Food Stamp Challenge

For people living on food stamps, it’s always been frustrating how authorities never seem to know how hard it actually is. Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker accepted a food stamp challenge that will have him living on a food stamp menu for at least a week after Thanksgiving Day.

Had it been any other politician (say Chris Christie) living on food stamps for a week would be quite the diet. But for Cory Booker, the food stamp challenge doesn’t mean he’s going to cut on fancy meat meals, since he’s a vegetarian. However, the food stamp challenge the Newark Mayor accepted could help authorities understand the hurdles so many families are going through each month.

Cory Booker is the mayor that saved a woman from a house on fire and also one of the few that engages in constant Twitter activity. Recently, a tweeter accused the mayor of looking to redistribute wealth and the discussion ended up in a challenge. “Lets you and I try to live on food stamps in New Jersey (high cost of living) and feed a family for a week or a month. U game?” the mayor reacted to a user arguing food stamps would be enough to get a family breakfast for a month.

For the moment, there’s no official confirmation other than Cory Booker’s tweet saying he was challenged to live on food stamps for a week and that he will start after Thanksgiving. Fox News writes that even if the Newark Mayor is vegetarian he will still have a hard time creating a week’s menu without making “some lifestyle adjustments [and]…a dash of creativity”.

Cory Booker isn’t the first to try the food stamp challenge. Rucha Gadre, director of Food Bank Services at Mercer Street Friends, took on the challenge in 2011 and said it is “very difficult” since a family of four with a paycheck under $3,447 per month only gets $150 to $250 a month in food stamps.

“I think [Booker] will understand that the minimum benefit of $16 or trying to live on $30 for the whole week is not sufficient. There’s no way you could eat nutritious food” Rucha Gadre warned.

Other mayors took on the food stamp challenge too. Mayor Carolyn Goodman of Las Vegas, Michael Nutter of Philadelphia and Greg Stanton of Phoenix tried eating on a budget. “It’s only for a week, so I’ve got a decent attitude. If I were doing this with no end in sight, I probably wouldn’t be so pleasant” Mayor Greg Stanton confessed.

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