Congressman John Carney takes the SNAP Challenge

Lives on $31.50 food budget per week
June 27, 2013
Congressman John Carney distributes food to SNAP-eligible seniors at the Food Bank of Delaware’s Mobile Pantry in Milford. SOURCE SUBMITTED

Congressman John Carney recently visited the Food Bank of Delaware in Milford to help distribute food from its mobile pantry to low-income Delaware seniors and sit in on a nutrition education class. Carney’s visit coincided with the week he was completing the SNAP Challenge.

From June 18 to 24, Carney lived off a food budget of $4.50 per day, the average budget for people living on food stamps, to learn more about the challenges of Delaware families struggling to get by, and to gain a better understanding of the current structure of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“The last several days have been a learning experience for me,” said Carney. “SNAP is an important topic right now in Washington as Congress debates and votes on the next version of the Farm Bill, which provides funding for the program. Doing this for one week is not the same as the struggle that many Delaware families face every day. But, I think this is an opportunity for me to learn as much as I can about the SNAP program and the choices that so many Delawareans have to make.”

Carney’s participation in the SNAP Challenge coincides with the House of Representatives’ consideration of the 2013 Farm Bill. The House of Representatives’ version of the bill would reduce funding for SNAP by $20.5 billion over the next 10 years. He voted against the bill for that reason.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 155,000 Delawareans receive SNAP benefits. Of the families receiving benefits, 82 percent had at least one person working in the last 12 months. In addition, 85 percent of Delaware families receiving SNAP benefits have children under 18 or one or more person over the age of 60 living with them.

“SNAP represents an effective way for people to feed themselves and their families,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “With Delawareans attempting to weather the national economic downturn, it is imperative that we continue to provide them with the tools to do so. It does not make economic sense to reduce SNAP benefits either for the individual or for the $9 generated in community economic benefits derived from food expenditures for every $5 the individual spends on SNAP.”

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