Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker is living on a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program budget of $30 a week, or $4.23 a day.
And according to his blog and tweets chronicling the effort, he’s struggling. A lot.
But of course, that was the idea behind the challenge. Booker decided to eat only the food he could afford on the equivalent of the allowance provided to participants in the program (formerly known as food stamps) for seven days, to better understand how SNAP assistance works and to raise awareness about food insecurity.
The mayor, who has been eating mostly vegetables in various combinations (his first meal was lettuce and chickpeas, and things didn’t improve much thereafter) and has complained of experiencing hunger pains, says he could have planned his shopping better.
“The second day on the #SNAPChallenge, I ate salad for breakfast, a can of peas and corn mixed together for lunch, and cauliflower, broccoli and a sweet potato for dinner,” he wrote. “In hindsight, investing more of my SNAP budget in eggs, and perhaps some coffee might have helped me later in the week. I am growing concerned about running out of food before this is over — especially as I try to resist the urge now to have another sweet potato before I go to bed tonight.”
But what he lacks in meal-planning foresight and food-preparation creativity, he makes up for in sincerity. Hopefully the publicity surrounding this experiment will have as notable an effect on the issues it is meant to address as the experiment has had on Booker’s diet this week.
Read more at the Huffington Post.