Food Stamp Challenge started in Oregon, spreads to D.C. via Ohio U.S. Rep., Tim Ryan

Read about the instigating event here. Read U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan‘s blog about the food stamp challenge here.

Note that the Oregon governor, Theodore R. Kulongoski, used $21 because, according to the NYT article, that is the “average amount allowed Oregon food stamp recipients.” I’m going to guess that food prices in Oregon are different than in D.C. – I wonder if Ryan considered calibrating his weekly amount to an Ohio or D.C. equivalent.

Regardless, it ain’t a lot of money. When I lived on $70/month in Israel in the mid-1980s, I ate a lot of ratatouie and challah. I had meat during only one week – when my parents were visiting, and I only drank orange juice if someone else had it (way too expensive). I tried to get myself to people’s home for Shabbat or sign-in with a convert-type group that would host me for a Sabbath and house me for the meals. I even ate at a couple of convents and churches with non-Jewish friends who were vagabonding through the country to get fed. And having a boyfriend who lived with three other guys ensured that I wouldn’t go hungry – because they always were eating.

You make do. And then you return to the States anemic after getting deathly ill backpacking and sleeping on trains with five other people in one train car.

Ah yes. Those were the days…

4 thoughts on “Food Stamp Challenge started in Oregon, spreads to D.C. via Ohio U.S. Rep., Tim Ryan

  1. I understand what you’re saying, Tom. I think that’s fair and that’s pretty much what I was implying – the number is abyssmal whatever it is. I also don’t think it’s realistic for him to not eat at any receptions etc. That would be to say that no one ever eats in another person’s home and so on.HOWEVER, the lesson remains: it is very, very difficult to sustain oneself, let alone a family, on that sum of money – whichever it is. Let’s use that as a starting point and continue to examine what we believe the amount should be and how we get people there.

  2. The $21 figure is bogus:HEREHEREI’m not saying that the govt. is being overly generous or that I don’t empathize with Food Stamp recipients. But $21 isn’t the right number, and people pretending that it is are misleading the public, and reporters lapping it up aren’t doing their jobs. Obviously, trying to get by on anywhere from $27 – $36 per person per week, depending on family size, as seen at the first link, isn’t very easy. But if you’re going to get sympathy for govt. benefits being inadequate, it sort of helps to have your facts right.

  3. Thanks for commenting about that, Lisa Renee. You’re absolutely right. Without such a component, it comes off more as a stunt, which, in part, I guess it is. But it could have been more, as you say.

  4. I see this as missed opportunity to educate people on what it is possible to accomplish on a limited budget with his statement that he was going to live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cottage cheese.I went thru years as a single parent where I managed to feed a family of five children for under $5.00 a meal, at times $3.00 a meal. It’s possible, it takes hard work and planning but it doesn’t have to be hopeless if people are given helpful information as to assisting with better choices.

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