Mayor Cory Booker Accepts Twitter Challenge, To Live On Food Stamps For A Week

By this point, we're desensitized towards larger-than-life headlines of Newark Mayor Cory Booker. This guy is saving people from fires, handing out toilet paper to the distressed during blizzards, mediating on bulletproof vests for bodega owners and, who knows, maybe even preparing a Presidential run. So is there anything he can't do? Well, we're about to find out.

Called out by a Twitter follower (one out of his 1.2 million) named TwitWit on the role of government in citizenry nutrition and food stamps, Booker got into a verbal back-and-forth that led to him asking a simple question: "Let's you and I try to live on food stamps in New Jersey (high cost of living) and feed a family for a week or month. U game?"

The tweeter agreed and, since then, attention has been building towards the challenge as Mayor Cory Booker affirms to followers that he's ready to do this to prove a point. TwitWit identified herself as a 39-year-old woman from North Carolina to the Associated Press but has chosen to remain anonymous due to threats from users over her views on food stamps. For this reason, the tweets between the Mayor and the user have been deleted.

In New Jersey, the average monthly benefit of food stamps (NJ Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program, or NJ SNAP for brevity) is around $133.26 as of the last fiscal year. If you do some simple division, that's $33.32 a week. Damn.

According to the Mayor, the challenge will begin after Thanksgiving - he has confirmed the start date as December 4th and to end on December 11th. He's in the process of drawing up the rules and guidelines to how it's going to work (from now on, call it the #SNAPChallenge) and it may go longer than a week if need be:

Bare in mind that it will be video-recorded - the Mayor has always been a fan of broadcasting his activities, just like when he lost weight and kept followers in the loop on Facebook and Twitter. If this is political transparency in the Digital Era, well, alright then.

The challenge will be rigidly organized in order to show citizens skeptical of the food stamp program that the raw safety net is a necessity for many of those barely eking it. If that's the case, let the challenge begin.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

What does this really mean? He won't actually be dependent on the food stamps. He won't have to go into a store with nothing but his food stamps and pay for his $30 weekly groceries. If he did, and he accidentally tried to buy more food than he could afford, it wouldn't be humiliating. It would be a joke. 


The most that is going to happen is that a team of people will help him appear to live on this budget. The team will include personal staff and doctors and someone will cook for him food that "could" have been purchased for the amount to which he will pretend to be restricted. I can't say he will cheat, but he must constantly be at events where free food is served. Since people on food stamps do eat other things they buy with cash, or food that comes from friends or family, he will probably be allowed to take advantage of this, too. He certainly won't get home with his carefully selected groceries and then discover he forgot to purchase cooking oil and has no money to buy it. 


The thing about living on budgets like that, as I do, though I am not on food stamps, is that you have to plan it or you go hungry. You forget all those little extras you need like spices and condiments. I'm not expecting anyone to cry because someone had to eat a bean burrito with no hot sauce, but I'm saying that if anyone really wanted to try this you would have to spend your first check buying a lot of basics 


I believe I could probably live on what he eats for free during the day. I think it's beside the point whether he actually does this or not. What they really ought to do is have a lottery and make someone on assistance the new mayor. This clown can do a reality show which is basically what he's doing, anyway, 


what a fool.  


Grow a garden instead.

Lauren Elizabeth
Lauren Elizabeth

Except that he has a college education and got a job ... So what's the point? maybe ppl on food stamps should learn from him instead of the other way around. This country is so fucked!


I don't know why folks go nuts over food stamps; I really don't.  And I don't know why Democrats don't mention that food stamps are way below even just fifty bucks a week!


Hey, listen, I've lived on $25 a week for maybe a month or two at a time myself as a student -- and even later on, after formal education -- so I know it's just eat veggies and tuna fish and bread and water...every day...yeah, I know, it's possible...but honestly, that's crazy, and food prices are going through the roof these days, paying more for less!

Now Trending

New York Concert Tickets

From the Vault