Mayor on food stamps Cory Booker starts his Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program challenge today after a Twitter debate with a conservative woman in North Carolina who criticized the program.
Cory Booker became the “mayor on food stamps” when he vocally opted to spend a week eating just via the allotment despite his mayoral salary and higher-than-average means to combat prejudice and stigma associated with the program. He challenged the woman on Twitter to do the same.
Booker is, aside from now notably the mayor on food stamps, a vocal advocate for social justice and fighting poverty, seeing the residents of his city as people he serves personally. Whether it is dispatching help to stranded residents dealing with Hurricane Sandy or a bad snowstorm or racing into a flaming building to rescue a tenant threatened by a fire, Booker tends to work in a hands-on way that is notable among politicians of his rank.
Now, as Booker begins the SNAP challenge, he has some initial reflections on the project. On Monday, a day before the SNAP challenge made Booker the nationally-known mayor on food stamps, the Newark pol tweeted and Facebooked an image of the receipt from his weekly shopping at Pathmark.
Taking to Twitter to share the pic, Booker tweeted of his first steps in the SNAP challenge:
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) December 3, 2012
— #waywire (@waywire) December 4, 2012
Booker has been up and at it today on his food stamp challenge, posting links to Waywire (a social media outlet he himself helped found to get youth involved in media and politics) where he is documenting his experience using SNAP level food budgets.
Over on LinkedIn, Booker explains his feelings on SNAP, food justice, and food insecurity, beginning:
” … a simple conversation on Twitter drew me into the #SNAPChallenge I am beginning today. My goals for the #SNAPChallenge are to raise awareness and understanding of food insecurity; reduce the stigma of SNAP participation; elevate innovative local and national food justice initiatives and food policy; and, amplify compassion for individuals and communities in need of assistance.”
“As I begin this journey, I am doubling down on my commitment to the Food Justice Movement that is gaining awareness and participation in this country. We have much work to do at the local level to address a legacy of structural inequities in the American food system. As more and more working people and families – many holding down more than one job – face greater and greater challenges to juggle housing, medical, and transportation costs, meeting nutritional needs becomes a serious problem and a social justice issue. The struggle of children, seniors, and families to have access to essential nutrition is a struggle we are all invested in and we all benefit when families succeed. Now more than ever we are all in this together.”
In addition, Cory Booker has put a series of videos on Waywire discussing the SNAP challenge, the stigma of food stamp use, and several other observations as he begins the program. You can see the full set and updates at waywire.com/SNAPchallenge.
Below is one of Booker’s new mayor on food stamps Waywire videos. Have you been following the Newark leader’s challenge to use SNAP for a week?