Have you ever heard of the Food Stamp challenge? If not let me fill you in quickly, it’s where rich people graciously throw away all their access to fancy restaurants, artisanal cheeses, wine and fresh vegetables to live on $33.26/week, the budget for one family on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aka SNAP, in an effort to bring awareness to how hard it is to survive on food stamps (insert shocked face here).

The latest in this crazy fun experiment is Gwyneth Paltrow (nominated by Chef Mario Batali, who also took the challenge). Setting her budget at $29 (probably what she had in her glove compartment), Gwyneth headed out to the store and picked up her items and then tweeted a picture.

The backlash was swift on the twitter streets. Anywhere from speaking about the insufficient calories to calling her basket the ingredient for a cleanse, No one was here for it.  I was so happy to finally see this as I’ve been fuming since the first challenge. None of the participants, with maybe the exception of maybe Corey Booker, spoke about the other challenges people on food stamps face. Here are a few:

  • Access to quality grocery stores, also knows as food deserts
  • Transportation: Not everyone has the means to get to better stores. I remember growing up my mom would take a bus to another side of Brooklyn to make sure we had fresh foods and veggies. She hated (Still does) the low quality fruits, veggies and junk meat that our neighborhood stores had.
  • Education: I went to a daycare recently and spoke to with the Director about a wellness program. It broke my heart when she told me at a trip a few summers back many of the kids didn’t even know what fresh broccoli looked like.

Without turning this post into a listicle, these are just a few of the many challenges SNAP recipients face and if not address these “challenges” are a waste of time. I’d advice those challenged going forward to donate money to a food pantry or an awesome program like Food Fight, that teaches inner city school children about healthy food choices or use their money to lobby for better access to food for ALL Americans.