Mayor on food stamps: N.J. Mayor Cory Booker will live on food stamps next week for seven days. Mayor Booker is following in the footsteps of the mayors of Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, who have taken the 'food stamps challenge.'
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Mayor Cory Booker said he will live on food stamps for a week starting Tuesday.
Booker told The Associated Press on Thursday that he will honor the challenge he made to a Twitter follower earlier this month and try living on the monetary equivalent of food stamps for at least a week.
"December 4 to 11. Seven days," Booker said after the ribbon cutting for new loft apartments in Newark. He said he will be limited to $1.40 for each meal.
The North Carolina woman Booker challenged plans to accept, but she is not sure she will do it next week.
The woman, who uses the Twitter handle @MWadeNC and goes by the name TwitWit, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because she says she has received threats.
She said she is upset that Booker didn't consult with her before picking the dates. She said Booker sent her a tweet this week saying his staff would be in touch, but she has heard nothing since.
"I don't think it's fair to be challenged and just find out from the Internet when I'm supposed to take part," she said in a telephone interview. "I would have appreciated the consideration that I have a life as well."
Nevertheless, she said she will participate in the challenge for at least a week, possibly two.
The average monthly food stamp benefit was $133.26 per person in New Jersey in fiscal year 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As mayor, Booker makes about 100 times that amount, $13,400 a month.
Politicians and community leaders around the country have taken on similar challenges in recent years to highlight the difficulty of relying solely on government aid for nutrition.