Could you get by on $4.50 a day for food?
While participants in Occupy Wall Street garner headlines in drawing attention to the imbalance of financial power in the U.S., a growing number of prominent Americans are taking the Food Stamp Challenge this month, a low-key but meaningful effort to draw attention to hunger in this country. They have agreed to spend a week on the average food stamp allotment of $31.50 per person, which comes out to $1.50 a meal.
Among the participants are members of Congress, clergy and civic leaders, but everyone is invited to step up and experience what it is like to live on such a limited budget to provide for basic needs as we approach the holiday of Thanksgiving.
The Challenge is being sponsored by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) as part of a national interfaith coalition of anti-poverty advocates seeking to cut domestic poverty in half by 2020 — at a time when Congress is proposing to reduce funding for food stamps by $127 billion over the next 10 years.
Rabbi Steve Gutow, executive director of JCPA, notes that Jewish tradition is as the forefront of the moral imperative to provide for those most in need.
He cites the Prophet Isaiah, who said, “If you offer your compassion to the hungry and satisfy the famished creature, then shall your light shine in darkness.”
The JCPA is a leader in the Jewish community nationally in calling for public policies and programs dealing with poverty. The group has joined with other faith-based groups in raising funds, and consciousness, to deal with helping the most vulnerable members of our society at a time when federal food programs are facing deep cuts and possible budgetary restructuring.
In addition to asking people to experience firsthand how hunger impacts the lives of so many Americans, the Food Stamp Challenge is seeking volunteers to contribute and/or raise funds to make the fight against poverty a priority in government and within the organized Jewish community.
We encourage our readers to learn more about the program by visiting the JCPA’s website and learning how to fulfill the prophet’s call to shine light in the darkness.