Philadelphia Congressmen Take on Food Stamp Challenge

Nearly 45 million people rely on food stamps, so congressmen see what it's like to live on $5 of food a day

Could you live on $5 of food per day? The cost of approximately one Starbucks latte or half a sandwich? That's what one Philadelphia charity is challenging the city's residents to do — including its congressmen. 

The challenge comes as new numbers emerge from America's population on food stamps; since 2007, the number of Americans on food stamps has jumped 70 percent. That's 45 million Americans, or one in seven people who rely on governmental help to eat, CNN reports. 

To give a better perspective of what being on food stamps is like, one Philadelphia charity is issuing the Greater Philadelphia Food Stamp Challenge. Running through April 30, particpants are asked to spend no more than $35 on food for the entire week. Joining the challenge is Pennsylvania congressman Bob Brady, who spoke with the Philly Post about the reality of the challenge. Brady not only said he was hungry, but that he may not have enough money to stretch the entire week. He said, "I’m trying to stretch it. I do know one thing. I’m not eating the right things. I didn’t even have enough money to buy fruit."

Despite the staggering small budget for those on food stamps, Congress faces a tricky situation. While the number of Americans on food stamps is expected to rise through 2014, reports the International Business Times, the cost of the food stamp program nationwide totaled $78 billion in 2011. Now, the food stamp program is the newest target of Republicans looking to slash the federal budget; they proposed a $33 billion cut to the program.