Hungry And Frustrated, Lawmaker On Food Stamps Visits Food Pantry
05/15/2007 09:03 AM
Queens City Councilman Eric Gioia has run out of money in his quest to live on food stamps for a week and says he must now rely on a food pantry to get his meals.
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The Queens councilman says the average weekly allotment of stamps — $28 worth — is not enough to get by.
"This is not a Democratic issue, this is not a Republican issue, this is a moral issue,” said Gioia. “In the greatest city on earth there are hundreds of thousands of children who are underfed and under-nourished and there is something we can do about it; there is something we can do about right now, and I hope they will act."
Gioia is taking part in the National Food Stamp Challenge, spending a week eating only meals that can be bought with food stamps and trying to call attention to the tough decisions those who rely on the stamps must make every week.
Since Gioia's $28 dollars ran out before the week was up, he must now rely on a food pantry to get his meals.
"I tried as hard as I could to ration out the food day by day. But I ate all the fruit, because I was hungry,” said Gioia. “What I'm experiencing is what over a million New Yorkers are experiencing when their food stamps run out. That's why by the third and fourth weeks of the month the soup kitchens and food pantries are literally bursting at the seams."
The challenge ends on Thursday. Food stamp recipients receive an average of $1.30 per meal.
Gioia will be in Washington Thursday to lobby federal lawmakers for more money for the food stamp program.