Local Leaders Try Living on Food Stamps

Dec 17, 2012

Local leaders are following Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker’s lead and taking the challenge to live on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program.

Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Ballard and research specialist with OU-Tulsa’s Center of Applied Research for Nonprofit Organizations Randy Macon will live on just $4.23 per day today and tomorrow.

That’s the equivalent of what someone on SNAP receives for groceries each day.

Shopping yesterday, Macon said he spent $6.51, “which should be enough to provide six meals, and I use the word ‘meal’ here very loosely.”

The remainder he’ll spend on coffee; he calls himself a “caffeine junkie.”

The meals will be sparse: instant oatmeal for breakfast, bananas and baby carrots to snack on, and plain pinto beans for lunch.

For dinner, he’ll make spaghetti with no meat.

“Typically I purchase wheat noodles, but I didn’t have that option with this program, so I’ll be making just very basic spaghetti for dinner both nights,” he said, “with no cheese or anything added to it.”

He says he spent a couple of hours shopping at two different stores in order to make his budget, though he points out that many on SNAP don’t have the luxury of that kind of time to shop, or transportation to visit multiple stores.

The challenge runs today at tomorrow. It’s sponsored by the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, as a way to highlight the challenges of living on SNAP and the importance of keeping the program funded.

You can follow Macon's efforts on Twitter: