Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton joined ACAA staff as well as guests from St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance and UCFW (United Food and Commercial Workers) at his local Safeway store in Phoenix on September 18th for a shopping trip on a SNAP budget. Armed with a detailed shopping list and a calculator, the Mayor made his way through the store, choosing his items with care and avoiding the aisles that held food not included on his shopping list.
As the Mayor loaded up his groceries at the register, he questioned whether his total would be under $29, the total allowed for the week under the SNAP Experience. Even with the calculator at hand, he was relying on the store’s savings card to bring his total under $29.
When all was said and done, the total for the Mayor’s groceries came to $28.30. The City of Phoenix charges a tax on food products, which was included in his total, though shoppers using SNAP benefits to purchase food are exempt from this tax.
If you’re wondering what the Mayor of Phoenix purchases when he has to limit his food intake for the week, his cart included: 3 apples, 3 bananas, 1 head of iceberg lettuce, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, 1 package of spaghetti, 1 gallon of fat-free milk, 1 box of store-brand cornflakes, a small jar of peanut butter, a loaf of wheat bread, a cup of noodles, 1 can of beans, ground beef, chicken, cheese, and eggs.
Asked by St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance’s Jerry Brown to talk some about his Experience so far, the Mayor responded, “I’m already to the point where I’ve had to skip meals, and I know that’s not a healthy thing to do. I’m blessed to be in a position to do it by choice. So many people have no other option. Healthy living means three healthy meals and even under the best of conditions, you can see it’s a very difficult on this budget…SNAP is an important program for the livelihoods of people, those who are going through difficult periods in their lives and hopefully a transition period as they are able to pull out of it. These are real human beings, they are the real base of our community and they need support. We have to be mindful of that.”
If you would like to read more about the Mayor’s shopping trip, check out the blog by St. Mary’s Food Bank.