You may have heard over the weekend that Gwyneth Paltrow decided to see if she could live off of a food stamp budget and purchase a week’s worth of groceries for $29.
Here’s what she came up with:
You guys… when I saw this photo, my jaw dropped. I mean, really? Who would make these food choices if they only had $29?
I’m not sure what rock Gwyneth Paltrow is living under or where her publicist is these days, but I think her photo illustrates the misunderstanding about food insecurity in this country (and made her look like a giant asshole in the process).
I worked with the free and reduced meal program as a school nutritionist for 6 years. I don’t know everything about food insecurity and public assistance, but these are some things I have learned:
– Transportation is a HUGE issue. Lots of food purchases are made somewhere on the walk from the bus stop to home. People buy food where they can find it, even if it’s at a convenience store.
– Some people have major rodent and pest issues, which prevent them from pulling out pots and pans and cooking.
– Shelf-stable products are a necessity for some if electricity is not reliable.
– Some people can’t afford enough kitchen equipment to cook with.
So I will give it to Gwyneth that she is drawing attention to the SNAP program and opening up a dialogue about the difficulties some families face putting food on the table. But perhaps a less insulting photo would have included canned fruits and vegetables, bread, peanut butter, canned meat, etc. All healthy foods that can help stretch your dollar (rather than things like fresh herbs- wtf?)
Okay, I’ll step off of my soapbox now