OAKLAND (KCBS) — A program that helps 44.5 million Americans put food on the table is coming under fire by Republicans, but Congresswoman Barbara Lee is calling on them to take the Food Stamp Challenge.

The challenge is to live for a week on the $31.50, the average a food stamp recipient receives. That’s $4.50 a day or $1.50 a meal.

East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee is taking the challenge for the second time. She said during the early 70’s, she was a single mother on public assistance.

Lee explained the challenge is aimed at warding off a Republican proposal that would mean $2 billion less for the food stamp program than President Obama requested.

She added that people aren’t on food stamps to avoid working.

“More of the right wing says they want to be on it just to be on it, but the reality is, just like me, nobody wants to be on food stamps,” Lee said.

A record number of Americans rely on food stamps to put food on the table. Lee said any cuts or changes to the food stamp program are simply an attack on the poor.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (6)
  1. j says:

    FBI and DEA have a second income… stealing from suspects.

  2. kathy says:

    Thankyou for participating in the foodstamp challenge. I feel you have a unique insight on this subject

  3. kathy says:

    I feel the foodstamp program needs changes! It has been my experience that families with young children who qualify for WIC or who’s children participate in the free breakfast and lunch school programs have more food stamps than they can use!

    On the same note families with children over 12 years old do not have enough resources as these childrens caloric requirements are similar to adults and often free breakfast programs are eliminated in their schools.

    Single household families should receive more foodstamps as it cost more to cook for one.

    I feel if the eligibility requirements are based on these specifics rather than income and household size alone, the program would be more efficient. In this way the US could avoid the economic hardship of raising food stamps overall.

    In addition lets utilize UPC symbols to reject items like soda and candy from being covered by food stamps. At the same time healthy choices like produce and dairy could be rewarded with large discounts (like coupons). All these items could be clearly marked in the same manner eligible WIC items are marked in the grocery stores..

  4. Kim2C says:

    Would CBS and the congresswoman please release the receipt? I want to know what these items she bought, if she wisely used store coupons or if she just blindly bought items at full price for the sake of making a point.

    There should be a challenge in the Bay Area for coming up with the best list and best tips for maximizing the purchases.

    My problem is these politicians take the challenge and I see them just walking through aisles with no real menu for the week, and didn’t do research about the items on sale.

    Then they complain that it is not enough to feed themselves tuna and dinner rolls.

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