Celebrities on the "Food Stamp Challenge"

How bout let’s not: Celebrities Bring Back The ‘Food Stamp Challenge’ and attempt to “endure poverty” on a strict budget for one week (SMH). Check please! …But seriously the latest to sign up for New York’s #FoodBankNYCChallenge has caught a lot of flack, many say rightly so. Is this a good thing, the definition of being “on the wrong side of right” or just one big nah???

It was late last year when President Obama’s move to cut billions from the food stamp program over the next ten years sent rips through the airwaves and only a few months ago when a group of hungry New Yorkers got caught in a food stamp fraud scandal, also (quietly) changing the face of the stereotypical “welfare queen.” Now in a new *plot twist,* one section of society tries to ‘walk in the shoes of others’ as Celebrities Bring Back The ‘Food Stamp Challenge’ to blasts, shrugs and controversy.

A lot can be said for “good intentions” but Celebrities Bring Back The ‘Food Stamp Challenge’ has already begun to rub people in all the wrong ways. For one, it was done before and didn’t exactly bring the kind of success that says “sequel.” Two–it’s slightly illogical, insensitive and really, what IS the point???

Apparently “The Food Stamp Challenge” was a real thing originally created to back up the “Food Stamped” documentary by Shira and Yoav Potash, exploring whether one can eat healthy while living off a SNAP budget of around $1.25 a meal–members of Congress also participated and everyone was encouraged to “share their story.” The Food Bank for New York’s challenge is an ongoing upgrade. Taking place officially May 11th through May 17th this year it’s an open campaign with allegedly 300 supporters attempting to identify with the 1.8 million NYers on approximately $1.38/meal or $29/week on food. This effort is chaired by founder Mario Batali (who’s also doing food related work with Action Bronson) who has this to say on the website:

“For one week, walk in someone else’s shoes. Knowledge is power, and by truly understanding what our friends and neighbors are going through, we will be better equipped to find solutions.” — Mario Batali, Chef, Author, Restaurateur, Food Bank Board Member

Hmmm…#valid? For those of us who have or are ‘living this life’ there’s still that sense of distant if not patronizing classism in the air on this one–though Food Bank does incredible work year round and the results are clearly well meaning. Gwyneth Paltrow who’s now a “lifestyle guru” besides actress is the latest of the Celebrities Bring Back The ‘Food Stamp Challenge’ –despite bringing that bitter Hollywood flair to the project she tweeted her $29 supermarket run after being nominated by Batali. Sting and Deborah Harry were also nominated though by the blasts at Gwyneth’s choices might think twice about their grocery lists for the week (SMH).

Many say people if you have the resources to “play games” out of poverty then you have enough to share–give groceries not empathy. Thoughts??? You definitely want to check the vid and the gallery up top for more!

Emilia A. Ottoo: IG || Twit || Pin