Mayor on food stamps? Cory Booker to live on $1.40 per meal

Mayor on food stamps: N.J. Mayor Cory Booker will live on food stamps next week for seven days. Mayor Booker is following in the footsteps of the mayors of Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, who have taken the 'food stamps challenge.'

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Grace Harris gives her hand to Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker to show just how cold she is as she waits in line to get clothing donations after superstorm Sandy earlier this month in Newark, N.J. The N.J. mayor plans to live on food stamps next week.

Mayor Cory Booker said he will live on food stamps for a week starting Tuesday.

Booker told The Associated Press on Thursday that he will honor the challenge he made to a Twitter follower earlier this month and try living on the monetary equivalent of food stamps for at least a week.

"December 4 to 11. Seven days," Booker said after the ribbon cutting for new loft apartments in Newark. He said he will be limited to $1.40 for each meal.

The North Carolina woman Booker challenged plans to accept, but she is not sure she will do it next week.

The woman, who uses the Twitter handle @MWadeNC and goes by the name TwitWit, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because she says she has received threats.

RECOMMENDED: 8 food and garden tips from Michelle Obama

She said she is upset that Booker didn't consult with her before picking the dates. She said Booker sent her a tweet this week saying his staff would be in touch, but she has heard nothing since.

"I don't think it's fair to be challenged and just find out from the Internet when I'm supposed to take part," she said in a telephone interview. "I would have appreciated the consideration that I have a life as well."

Nevertheless, she said she will participate in the challenge for at least a week, possibly two.

The average monthly food stamp benefit was $133.26 per person in New Jersey in fiscal year 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As mayor, Booker makes about 100 times that amount, $13,400 a month.

Politicians and community leaders around the country have taken on similar challenges in recent years to highlight the difficulty of relying solely on government aid for nutrition.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and U.S. Rep. Bob Brady lived on food stamps for a week earlier this year, and the mayors of Las Vegas and Phoenix, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and the former governor of Oregon all did so within the past few years.

Most participated in the "Food Stamp Challenge," a program from the nonprofit Food Research and Action Center that gives out tools to help organizations and individuals live on a food stamp budget, typically for a week. It even developed a how-to-guide for members of Congress, which includes testimonials from eight politicians.

Celebrity chef Mario Batali and his family also did the challenge earlier this year. An AmeriCorps member serving as the community service coordinator at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut challenged her campus to try it for a week.

Booker, a prolific Twitter user who has 1.2 million followers, has said he wants the public to participate and on Thursday said he will soon announce a celebrity who will also take part.

The North Carolina woman said she thinks it would be "great" if high-profile people tried to live on the equivalent of food stamps.

"I think everybody should do this," she said.

RECOMMENDED: 8 food and garden tips from Michelle Obama

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Mayor on food stamps? Cory Booker to live on $1.40 per meal
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Latest-News-Wires/2012/1130/Mayor-on-food-stamps-Cory-Booker-to-live-on-1.40-per-meal
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe