Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex/Morris) on Monday announced that he has accepted the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest New Jersey’s Food Stamp Challenge to increase hunger awareness. From Sept. 8 – Sept. 14, the Assembly Democrat will have a food budget of $30. This figure – which breaks down to less than $1.50 per meal – reflects the average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit for a single person.
“People of conscience have a duty to fight for low-income families with the spirit of anger and frustration those in need must suppress for the sake of mere survival each day. My greatest hope is that I may internalize that spirit through the Food Stamp Challenge,” said McKeon.
“Accepting this challenge is an act of solidarity with the many families in New Jersey and across this nation who struggle to put food on the table on a regular basis. Every day, they must differentiate between wants and needs, forgoing the former only to realize that there may not be enough for the latter, either. As a father, I cannot help but think of the parents who are unable to provide their children with balanced meals, let alone welcome them home with an after-school snack.
“Recent cuts to SNAP funding in the federal Farm Bill, the abysmally slow rate of processing SNAP applications in New Jersey and the ubiquitous effects of the recent economic downturn have come together to form a perfect storm that makes it even harder for low-income families to make ends meet. While hunger is clearly far too complex a problem for a weeklong walk in their shoes to solve, I cannot ignore the power that lies in acknowledging this issue and advocating on behalf of New Jerseyans in need.”