lifestyle blogger Gwyneth Paltrow is attempting to understand the life of the
masses by responding to celebrity chef Mario Batali’s invitation to take the
Food Bank NYC Challenge. The challenge requires participants to live on a food stamp budget for one week ($29). Considered a “food snob” by many, the skinny actress’s decision to
treat the challenge like a new diet is receiving criticism.
important for celebrities to understand that many people struggle to put food
on the table, but problems arise when the situation is treated like a game. The
Food Bank NYC Challenge was created to raise awareness of the struggles that
1.7 million New Yorkers living on food stamps (SNAP) face every day.
Surprisingly, donating actual money is just an afterthought on the organization’s
There are several
problems with the “food stamp diet,” the first of which is the seemingly
arbitrary number 29. According to the USDA, a single person can receive $45.30
per week with SNAP. Not to mention the S in SNAP stands for supplemental, implying
that food stamps are not a person’s only income.
Paltrow, who is
often seen as “out of touch,” faced harsh comments after posting a picture to
Twitter of her $29 purchase, a purchase that included items like limes, kale, and
other fresh vegetables. Those living on a budget would spend their money
differently, choosing non-perishable and filling foods from the cheapest stores.
Food pantries and soup kitchens in New York are overflowing as a result of the painful SNAP budget cuts made by Congress during the past three years. Asking celebrities to live on limes and kale for a week isn’t going to help. Volunteers, donations, and solutions to unemployment are what the city really needs.