NJ mayor to honor Twitter food stamp challenge

Newark Mayor Cory Booker said he and a Twitter follower will try living on food stamps for at least a week.
Associated Press
Nov 21, 2012


The idea stemmed from a back-and-forth conversation between Booker and a woman who goes by the name TwitWit and uses the handle (at)MWadeNC. They began talking about the idea Sunday night while discussing the role the government should play in funding school breakfast and lunch programs.

Booker said Tuesday he intends to follow through with the plan. TwitWit said it is "great idea" but wants more information on how it will be carried out.

During their Twitter exchange, TwitWit wrote, "nutrition is not the responsibility of the government."

The conversation soon changed to food stamps.

"why is there a family today that is "too poor to afford breakfast"? are they not already receiving food stamps?" TwitWit wrote.

"Lets you and I try to live on food stamps in New Jersey (high cost of living) and feed a family for a week or month. U game?" Booker responded.

"sure, Mayor, I'm game," TwitWit wrote back.

"Great. Lets do this. I hope you live in New Jersey. Lets film it and see how we do," Booker responded. He later wrote, "We will have to get a referee — DM me your number so we can see if we can work out details."

Booker, a prolific Twitter user who has 1.2 million followers, said Tuesday evening he is committed to living on the equivalent of food stamps, but could not say how he will approximate the benefits, execute the idea or how long it will last.

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.

"We're going to set up the rules," Booker told reporters. "And that's what we're researching right now. This will not be a gimmick or a stunt."

Booker said he wants the challenge to be a chance "for us to grow in compassion and understanding" and dispel stereotypes.

In an interview with The Associated Press Tuesday night TwitWit said she is a 39-year-old married mother of two from North Carolina. She spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because she said she has received threats since her Twitter discussion about food stamps.

She said she is willing to participate in the challenge but wants to know the ground rules before committing. She has not heard from Booker's office and is upset she has not been included in the research process.

"To hear he's planning and setting things up, it makes me feel like I'm a little bit of a prop in the game," she said.

She thinks she and Booker should approximate living on food stamps for a month.

TwitWit said she does not oppose food stamps. But if more taxpayer money is allocated for food stamps, she believes, more people will require them.

"There is going to be a lot more of us needing those food stamps if it doesn't stop," she said.

She thinks many people are mischaracterizing her conversation with Booker, which initially centered on funding school meals.

"I don't have a vendetta," she said, and urged people to work together. "I'm looking at things from a different angle."

TwitWit, who describes herself on Twitter as an Army veteran who is "fighting against any and all forms of socialism/communism," said her own family is barely getting by and is "six months away from being in debt and on welfare ourselves." She is between jobs and said her husband is in the computer field.

"Most of us are in the same boat," she said. "Some of us just aren't getting the assistance."

This is not her first Twitter interaction with Booker. She said Booker started following her in 2007. She had never heard of him before.



Trigger from Erie

One would think that the mainstream media, having covered a number of these so-called Food Stamp challenges by now, would report a few sorely needed facts. No one is expected to live off of a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program allotment (aka Food Stamps) alone. It's called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for a reason: It's designed to *supplement* a household's food budget, not be 100% of it. Maybe someone should point this out to the Mayor before he simultaneously misleads the public and makes himself look like a terribly uninformed public official.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^yeah someone should


Or..ponder this. Remember in California when lower ranking enlisted military lived in Mexico due to the high cost of living there? This could be similar.


I have to laugh at those who think you can't provide adequate nutrition using the SNAP program. I used the tool that the state of ohio has online for determining eligibility. I used the assumption that my wife and I don't work, and the only income I receive is my military retirement. According to the tool I would receive $600/mo in SNAP benefits for a family of five. In addition my 3 kids would be eligible to receive free breakfast and lunch at school which amounts to another $240/mo for a total of $840 mo in food benefits. This is about $300 more a month than I currently spend on groceries by shopping around and using coupons on a six figure household income. If I had that much money in the budget for food every month we would be eating surf and turf 3-4 months, maybe more because I would no longer be responsible for fixing breakfast and packing lunches for my kids during the week. You can even add to this the fact that most schools also offer free breakfast even through the summer for kids. This mayor is full of crapola!!!


That's exactly why so any food stamp folks look like lard buckets. They sure ain't starving or even close to it!


Reads like a typical politico publicity stunt reminiscent of when Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne lived at the Cabrini Green housing project.

“Beautiful” place; drove by it many times.

Nothing changed until it was torn down.

Liberal stupidity - what else is new?



Trigger makes the best point. The idea is to assist and most all people that get stamps actually work it is just a low wage job. I have never depended on stamps but after raising five children I can tell you that it is very expensive to properly nourish them. I agree though this is more a publicity stunt than anything. What changed pooh was the gang bangers had nowhere to hide to play sniper on the unsuspected or rivals. Of course, tearing them down would change that. DUH! Although it was public housing, her stunt was to address safety not food stamps.


Yea right. LOL.

After CG and others urban renewal crapholes were torn down, public housing was replaced with Sec. 8 and individual taxpayer funded homes. The gangs, drugs, murders and crime just followed - "nothing" changed and actually has only grown worse.

Shoulda seen 'em up clean the streets and relocate the homeless around the United Center prior to 1996 Democrat convention so all those 'caring' bleeding heart white liberal delegates wouldn't have to see the poverty that they helped to create. LMAO!!!

BTW: One wk, I spent a month in Newark - nasty.


If you want to clean up the drug problem in Erie County just reduce or eliminate SNAP, METRO housing and other government assistance.

A large portion of drugs follow those who need or abuse these programs.

Those who use or abuse these programs will follow the money and move to new locations of entitlement.

Doesn't solve the drug problem but it moves it out of our neighborhood and county.