Parker also announced she has accepted the Houston Food Bank’s Food Stamp Challenge.
Over the weekend, Parker said she would do her best to turn down food at community events and eat only what she can buy for $4 a day — the average daily amount an individual receives under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.
“One nice coffee at Starbucks will blow your SNAP budget for the day,” Parker said. In a press release, she noted 785,000 southeast Texans rely on the program to help them purchase nutritious food from local grocery stores. Only about half of the Houston area residents who are eligible for the assistance sign up, the mayor said.
Brian Greene, food bank president, said the nonprofit hosts the challenge every year. While food banks are important to reducing hunger, they contribute much less than the federal assistance program, he said.
“We’re actually the last thread of the safety net,” he said. “If you added up the contributions of all of the nation’s food banks it would be less than the SNAP appropriation to Texas.”
What this article really does is put to bed the right-wing notion that somehow nonprofits and churches, rather than tax dollars (food stamps), can take care of those in poverty. If anything, it’s an outright right-wing lie.
I commend the Mayor for doing this, although the article states its over the weekend (although the challenge is supposed to last a week) and didn’t include other challenges that regular poverty-stricken people experience. Our leaders have a stage on which to send strong messages about the realities of thousands of people–over 700,000 in the area alone–and I’m glad the Mayor tried to make a point. I just wish this wasn’t overshadowed by the back-and-forth with her opponent.
When my hard-working Dad was forced to leave his state-salaried and benefited job as a maintenance worker with the Texas Highway Department because of a disability, it was food stamps, government cheese, and a federally funded nonprofit health center that kept us afloat, and it lasted a lot longer than a weekend. The local Catholic Church wasn’t doing much to help families in need, and other churches required membership. No, it was the government which right-wingers love to hate that helped us, and continued to help my parents once I left for college.
So, since not much else what said about this, I figure I’d put out a post about it. We need to somehow get back to the realities of a huge number of Houstonians–whether they appear on a voter database or not.