Could you survive for a full week on just $5 a day for food? Take the Food Stamp Challenge April 23 through April 30 and find out firsthand what life is like for the nearly one in three Philadelphians who rely on food stamps for their sustenance and survival.
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is teaming up with the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger to give legislators, sports figures, media celebrities, rabbis, ministers and ordinary citizens an opportunity to walk in the shoes of those individuals who must subsist on a daily food budget of just $5.
This challenge is being issued to alert people to legislation proposed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett that would impose asset testing on food stamp eligibility. If implemented in May, food stamps would not be available to households with people under 60 who have $5,500 or more in assets. For households with people 60 and older, that cap would rise to $9,000.
Food stamps, now called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), are the nation's most important weapon in the fight against hunger, but are often too meager to enable recipients to purchase nutritious food and prepare healthy meals for themselves and their families.
Yet, without access to these food stamp benefits, qualifying individuals and families would have little or no money to purchase food after paying for housing, utilities and other costs of daily living.
Those who sign up for the Greater Philadelphia Food Stamp Challenge will find out that it is definitely not a snap to shop wisely and eat well on SNAP resources. Participants will never again take for granted the high costs of fresh fruits and vegetables, coffee and other items that most of us consider as staples in our diets.
Strong participation in the Greater Philadelphia Food Stamp Challenge will help draw public attention to the importance of food stamps to the nearly 180,000 Philadelphians who currently qualify for this life-saving benefit. This grass-roots initiative will help communicate to Harrisburg that assets testing will unfairly penalize those individuals and families who rely on food stamps for their health and well-being and it punishes people for saving, a sure way to climb out of poverty.
Individuals can demonstrate their support either by personally participating in the Food Stamp Challenge or by donating the amount that they would normally spend on groceries for the week or a dinner out to Federation.
For more information and to register, visit: www.jewishphilly.org and click the Greater Philadelphia Food Stamp Challenge button.