Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, is considering a bid for New Jersey governor.(Photo: Mel Evans, AP)
Newark Mayor Cory Booker on Tuesday began his food stamp challenge, living on the groceries he can buy for about $30 a week.
the amount that New Jersey residents receive if they qualify for the
federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, as the food stamp
program is officially known. It comes out to $4.32 a day, Booker said.
Booker's food stamp challenge
was born out of a conversation he had on Twitter with a woman who uses
the handle, @MWadeNC. In a blog post on Waywire.com, Booker said he
wants "raise awareness and understanding of food security."
Democrat has already posted his grocery receipts on Facebook and
Twitter. Among other items, the vegetarian bought beans, corn and an
apple. But he said on Twitter that he has to give up coffee because "it
isn't in the budget."
"We have much work to do at the local level
to address a legacy of structural inequities in the American food
system," Booker wrote in the blog post.
"As more and more working people and families -- many holding down more
than one job -- face greater and greater challenges to juggle housing,
medical, and transportation costs, meeting nutritional needs becomes a
serious problem and a social justice issue."
Booker, who said
this weekend that he is "definitely considering" running for governor
next year, plans to document his experiences this week on social media
sites such as Twitter and Facebook. He is the co-creator of Waywire, a
video news sharing service.
Booker is not the first politician to
do something like this. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Rep. Bob
Brady, D-Pa., both lived on food stamps for a week this year. In the
past, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and the mayors of Las Vegas and
Phoenix have also done the same to highlight the challenges of relying
on government assistance for food.