Councilman to live on food stamps for 1 week
(Queens - WABC, May 10, 2007) (WABC) -- Queens Councilman Eric Gioia has announced he will live for one week, starting Thursday, on the average food stamp allotment for one person.
Gioia says he will live on $28 worth of groceries as part of a national push to increase the federal subsidies.
"The goal is to raise awareness about how difficult it is for so many New Yorkers to put food on their table," Gioia told the Daily News.
Budgeting $1.30 a meal, Gioia plans to load up his cart with peanut butter, beans and the cheapest bread he can find at the local supermarket, Food Dynasty, he said.
"Often the cheapest food isn't the healthiest," he said.
Officials say more than a million New Yorkers currently collect food stamps, which reportedly average $113 a month for an individual and $200 for a family.
In the nation's first "food stamp challenge," anti-poverty advocates, politicians and clergy are feeding themselves for a week on the federal amount given to needy people for food. They are calling on Congress to pump about $20 billion more into the federal food stamp program over five years.
"We know that food stamps used to last three to four weeks," New York Coalition Against Hunger in Manhattan executive director Joel Berg told the Daily News. "Now they last two to three weeks and then the recipients start showing up at soup kitchens."
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