Tag Archives: Child Hunger in America

Super Mayor Cory Booker and the Food Stamp Challenge

Man, is Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey for real? People tweet him about traffic signals being out, and he’ll respond, “on it.” I remember my partner showing me one of his Tweets. During Superstorm Sandy, someone asked him about the flooding situation on a certain street in Newark because his grandmother lived there. Mayor Booker offered to check up on her for him. He must have been vying for Superhero status when he rescued a woman trapped in her burning house. He sure is setting a pretty high standard for mayors all over the country.

The latest bit of news about him caught my eye. He will be living for a week (or more) on food stamps. A Twitter conversation on the role of government in funding school food programs prompted this challenge (that was accepted):

I love it! Both will experience what it’s like. I’m pretty sure, by the end of the week, both will be happy going back to their “regular” lifestyle.

A lot of us don’t see it, but kids are going hungry in this country. It’s absolutely shameful. Children benefit from these government funded school food programs, and it’s easy to see how:

These are just three backpack programs where a child’s backpack is filled on Fridays with non-perishable, kid friendly food for them to have on the weekend. Sometimes, their only meals are the ones provided at school. Where does that leave them on the weekend? The last link is for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. They started the backpack program in 2003 when an Oklahoma City elementary student fainted while waiting in line for lunch on Monday because he/she didn’t have enough food over the weekend. Absolutely heartbreaking.

In a country as rich as this one, this should not be happening. Some may say that it isn’t the government’s responsibility to feed kids. Well, ideally, yeah. We could have this debate until the end of time, but in the meantime, there are still hungry kids. The problem is still there.

This is the thing. We spend so much money in aid to other countries. We pay to blow up countries. Then we pay again to rebuild them. We send money to “allies” to help us fight our enemies. Billions of dollars on everyone else. How about taking that money and spending it on feeding American kids?

I’m glad that Cory Booker and this Twitter follower are taking this challenge. I hope they learn a lot from it. It’s easier to be open to alleviating a problem if you remember what it felt like when it was yours.