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Mario Batali and the Food Bank For New York City Launch the Food Stamp Challenge


Mario Batali and the Food Bank For New York City Launch the Food Stamp Challenge

Challenge Bringing Attention to the More than One in Seven Americans who rely on Food Stamps; Benefits Must be Protected during Farm Bill Negotiations

 

May 11, 2012 (NEW YORK) – The Food Bank For New York City, the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs, today launched the Food Stamp Challenge, inviting the public to live on a food stamp budget for an entire week. Led by Mario Batali, Food Bank staff, and community members, participants in the Challenge will limit their food budget to $31 per person for the whole week, just $1.48 per meal.

While raising awareness about the struggles to stay healthy on a limited budget, participants are also encouraged to tell Congress that low-income Americans need more — not less — support. More than one in seven Americans rely on food stamps to keep food on the table, and any cuts to food stamps will only add to the need that food pantries and soup kitchens are already struggling to fill. Shrinking the food stamp budget would take a lifeline away for millions of vulnerable families across the country.

“While a one-week Food Stamp Challenge can’t compare to the real challenges of living on a food stamp budget, it’s a meaningful way to build awareness and understanding of the importance of ensuring low income families have access to needed food,” said Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City, who is also taking the Food Stamp Challenge. “With critical decisions being made in Washington, it’s time the public and our elected officials put a priority on this basic human right.”

The Food Stamp Program (now known as SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is the nation’s first line of defense against hunger. Right now, this essential program is under threat in Congress. In negotiations for the Farm Bill – legislation that could limit SNAP’s reach for the next five years – proposals are being made to reduce benefits and limit the number of people eligible. The Senate Agriculture Committee approved a Farm Bill draft with billions of dollars in cuts to SNAP; meanwhile, the House of Representatives passed a budget that would slash and restructure the food stamp program. The decisions made in Washington, DC this year will determine whether millions of families are able to keep food on the table.

 “For one week, walk in someone else’s shoes. Knowledge is power, and by trying to understand what our friends and neighbors are going through, we will be better equipped to find solutions,” said Mario Batali, Chef, Author, Restaurateur, and Board Member of the Food Bank For New York City.

About the Food Bank For New York City
Food Bank For New York City recognizes 28 years as the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end food poverty throughout the five boroughs.  As the city’s hub for integrated food poverty assistance, the Food Bank tackles the hunger issue on three fronts — food distribution, income support and nutrition education — all strategically guided by its research. Through its network of  1,000 community-based member programs citywide, the Food Bank helps provide 400,000 free meals a day for New Yorkers in need. The Food Bank’s hands-on nutrition education program in the public schools reaches 35,000 children, teens and adults. Income support services including food stamps, free tax assistance for the working poor and the Earned Income Tax Credit put millions of dollars back in the pockets of low-income New Yorkers, helping them to achieve greater dignity and independence. Ninety-four percent of donations go directly toward programs in all five boroughs.  Learn how you can help at foodbanknyc.org.

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