Though I live in a thriving area in Montgomery County, Maryland, too often our successes overshadow the ongoing struggles of many of our neighbors. As the economy continues to slowly recover, many are relying on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-formerly known as food stamps) to put food on the table. On February 4-8, Maryland residents and supporters across the nation are joining me in taking the SNAP the Silence Challenge so we can give a voice to the most vulnerable residents in our communities.
The goal of the SNAP the Silence Challenge is to lift the veil on poverty in our neighborhoods and inspire a collective consciousness that can lead to action. This Challenge calls on individuals to experience life on federal nutrition programs by eating on a budget of $5 per day for five days. The average SNAP benefit per person is about $133 a month, or less than $1.50 per meal. While living on a SNAP budget for just a week will not come close to the struggles encountered by low-income working families, it does provide a new perspective and greater understanding for those who take the Challenge.
Beyond raising awareness, the Challenge aims to unite partners from all corners of our communities—residents, elected officials, non-profit leaders, students, and local organizers—in a collaboration that can produce not only a heightened understanding of these issues, but solutions to combat them. I am proud to be partnering with Share Our Strength, which has been working to do this in states across the country by sharing the stories of the millions of Americans who have relied on SNAP and advocating for policy solutions to increase access to healthy food options for those who need it most.
I hope you can join our movement to SNAP the Silence. Your voice is a crucial part of this effort, and your energy will help us generate momentum to get the message out to as many people as possible. Please recruit your family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, politicians, and religious leaders to take the challenge with you and share your experiences.
Click here to learn more about the Challenge and register to participate.
Additionally, please “like” us on Facebook and share your experiences at facebook.com/snapthesilence.
I know that by working together, as communities across the nation, we will accomplish great things.