Cory Booker complains of hunger pains during food stamp challenge

Mayor Cory Booker (City of Newark, New Jersey) speaks at the Tech:Crunch Disrupt SF 2012 Conference on September 10, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)

Mayor Cory Booker (City of Newark, New Jersey) speaks at the Tech:Crunch Disrupt SF 2012 Conference on September 10, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by C Flanigan/Getty Images)

Cory Booker is on day three of his food stamp challenge, which, so far, has resulted in hunger pains and a caffeine withdrawal.

The Newark, New Jersey mayor challenged a Twitter follower to live on food stamps for a week after he and the follower got into an online debate about the government’s role in providing nutritious food for citizens. With only $30 in hand, Booker had to buy enough food to last him seven days, and he’s been documenting the challenge online.

“Not being able to stop and drop a few dollars for a Venti coffee or Diet Mountain Dew is really raising my consciousness about the food choices I often take for granted,” he wrote on his blog. “The constrained food options I have for this one short week highlight for me (with the hunger pains I felt today between small meals) what many hardworking families have to deal with week after week.”

Booker, a vegetarian, posted a photo of his groceries, which included several yams, canned corn and beans, two bags of lettuce and frozen vegetables, and olive oil. He later wrote that he regretted not thinking out his food choices more thoroughly.

The result of Cory Booker's grocery shopping trip for his food stamp challenge. (Photo: @CoryBooker)

The result of Cory Booker’s grocery shopping trip for his food stamp challenge. (Photo: @CoryBooker)

“In hindsight, investing more of my SNAP budget in eggs, and perhaps some coffee might have helped me later in the week. I am growing concerned about running out of food before this is over.”

Booker also wrote that he hopes his challenge will “raise awareness and understanding of food insecurity; reduce the stigma of SNAP participation; elevate innovative local and national food justice initiatives and food policy; and, amplify compassion for individuals and communities in need of assistance.”

Booker is not the first politician to take on such a challenge, preceded by others like Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter, but he has gained some company during his journey. Inspired by Booker’s actions, Michael Strahan, co-host on Live with Michael and Kelly!, has joined the mayor in eating on a small budget for a week.

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