No matter how much you keep up with the proper paperwork, maintain your records with your caseworker, or try to maintain your food stamp benefits there are times when food stamps may be denied.
Numbers have shown that Nevada has the highest unemployment rate, something that the state has been trying to fight. In addition to high unemployment, there is also a rather large homeless population in Nevada as well. Both of these factors have placed heat on Nevada lawmakers to address the state’s financial problems. In a recent challenge by the Las Vegas food bank, the mayor of Las Vegas decided to live on $4.06 a day, the average amount a single person who qualifies for food stamps receives. Carolyn Goodman has expressed her concern for the city’s growing homeless and hungry population, and wanted to take the challenge to really understand.
”I didn’t get to put any fruit on my meal plan this week. And, there’s not much variety in my vegetables. It’s a good thing that I love tomato soup,” Goodman wrote on her blog for SNAP Experience.
The challenge lasted for a week, and was organized by Three Square Food Bank in Las Vegas, an organization that helps individuals and families receive food benefits whether they qualify or not for food stamps.
John Livingston, a spokesman for Three Squares, said at 6-foot’6 and 250 pounds, he has been struggling to live on just $4.06 per day. He stated that the biggest problem is that his cognitive skills have gone down because of the hunger and that it takes him longer to process things. The sentiments have been reflected by others who took the SNAP Experience challenge.
Mayor Goodman spoke to the local news that it was difficult to scale back her usual eating habits to fit into the tight budget. She admitted that her life was busier than she thought and that the diet didn’t respond well to what she needed. She couldn’t have the foods that she always ate either, because some of them were too experience on the budget.
”I sort of respond to the needs of my body when it says, ‘Help! I’m starving!’ and I think, ‘oh, what shall I have today? Shall I have a bag of potato? Oh no, you’re on the program,” Goodman stated.
Livingston said that the food bank wanted to show others what families and individuals struggle with every day. There are 47 million Americans on food stamps according to recent statistics, and those families have to really pick what they eat and choose wisely in order to make the money last for an entire month.
”The main thing we really want is to let people understand this so we protect the benefits and they don’t go cut or lessened,” Livingston added.
As recent budget cuts frequently mention scaling back funding for food stamp programs, lawmakers were encouraged to take part in the challenge to see what it is like to live on this meager amount for only a week. However, those who are on food stamps may have to do this for months at a time without a job or steady income. For that reason, Three Squares hopes to affect change in Nevada and also provide a way for organizations in other states to challenge their lawmakers to see what the food stamp program really offers participants.