PHOENIX MAYOR GREG STANTON ACCEPTS SNAP CHALLENGE; WILL LIVE ON $4.16 A DAY FOR FOOD FOR ONE WEEK: A FOOD STAMP BUDGET
PHOENIX, Ariz.: (Sept. 12, 2012): Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton will join staff and board members from the Arizona Community Action Association (ACAA), the Valley of the Sun United Way and others in the community in the weeklong SNAP Experience when they’ll limit total food purchases to the weekly budget of a typical SNAP participant: $4.16 a day.
That’s about $29 a week for one person and $97 a week for a family of four. The SNAP Experience, through which participants also will be asked to blog about its impact, is scheduled Sept. 15-21. September is Hunger Awareness Month.
With American poverty levels approaching the highest levels since 1965, 1.1 million Arizonans rely on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly food stamps) to feed their families.
“This exercise is a great awareness tool to help us all understand how difficult it is for struggling families to get by during tough times, even with help,” Stanton said. “The real challenge is creating healthy, balanced meals on such a tight budget, especially for growing children. Rising out of the recession takes all of us together as a city working toward a strong economic future for everyone.”
Katie Kahle, ACAA Outreach and Community Development Manager, said the SNAP Experience is designed to “help others understand the challenges too many of our neighbors face every day trying to feed their families. So many of these men and women are working two and three jobs to help make ends meet. It is not an easy time.”
Arizona has the fifth-highest poverty rate in the nation, and results of the 2011 census due out this month are expected to paint an even more drastic picture.
“Today, 1 in 4 children in Arizona live in poverty,” Kahle said. “Every night when I sit with my children at dinner, I think about what other families are going through. There’s a very thin line between where they are and where we are.”
SNAP Experience participants can find guidelines as to what they can and cannot buy and how to blog about their experiences at https://arizonasnapexperience.wordpress.com
Established in 1939 as the Food Stamp Program, as of May 2012, more than 49 million Americans, or more than 1 in 7, relied on food stamps to purchase needed food each month. Eligibility is based on income and assets depending on household size. Eligibility for SNAP also includes work requirements, with all non-elderly adults required to be employed or to register for employment.
SNAP encourages people to transition from welfare to work by supplementing their food budgets and gradually decreasing benefits as income increases.
To register for the SNAP Experience, visit the Join the Experience tab (above).
Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton