Thursday, May 17, 2007

Why Won't Dean Heller Participate in the Food Stamp Challenge?

In February 2007, 118,613 Nevadans relied on Food Stamps to get dinner for themselves and their family on the table. Each person in Nevada received an average of $87.86 per month in 2006. That would be an average of about $2,90 a day. Have you ever tried to feed yourself or your kids on a mere $3 a day?

Well, we can be sure our Congressman has never had to deal with the Food Stamp Program. However, he doesn't seem interested in those who do. At least, Dean Heller didn't take up the challenge of his colleagues Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO), co-chairs of the House Hunger Caucus, to live on $21 for an entire week. You can read their letter to their colleagues here (pdf).

Only two of their 433 colleagues took up the challenge. They are Democratic Representatives Tim Ryan of Ohio and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. All of them realize it's a real challenge to live on so little per day. Here's Rep. Schakowsky's meal plan for today:



Puffed Wheat: $0.25

Milk: $0.20

Banana: $0.19

Ramen: $0.17

Pasta a Roni Tomato: $1.00

½ Diced Tomato: $0.46

Lettuce: $0.45

Milk: $0.25


As you can clearly see, it's almost impossible to live healthy on $3 per day but the Food Stamp Nutrition Education in Nevada is still trying to show how. When you take a look at Schakowsky's plan (downloadable at her website) you'll see that it really lacks in variety.

Congressman Ryan is blogging about his experience on his website. Below is his receipt for his groceries for the entire week. Notice how he only managed to stay below $21 by buying items on sale only:

Click on the receipt to enlarge

There is also a Congressional Food Stamp Challenge blog where Congressman McGovern and his wife Lisa chronicle their experience and where you can also read press acounts on the challenge.

The aim of this challenge is to raise awareness and increase appropriation for the Food Stamp Program in this year's Farm Bill. We will keep an eye out on what's happening and how Dean Heller will eventually vote on this.

Click here to read more about the eligibility and payments of the Food Stamp Program in Nevada.

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