Gioia Applies For Assistance At Local Food Pantry
City Councilmember Eric Gioia's attempt at eating on the $28 a week allotted to a single adult under the city Food Stamp program ended with his applying to a local food pantry after the initial purchases he made at a neighborhood supermarket ran out.
On Thursday May 10, Gioia first took the Food Stamp challenge, which involves living off the average Food Stamp weekly budget of $28 per person. On Monday May 14, Gioia spent the remaining $3.56 of his weekly budget. On the following day, like many people who use Food Stamps, Gioia looked to a food pantry for help to put food on his table. He visited the Center of Hope International Food Pantry 12-11 40th Ave., Long Island City to supplement his Food Stamp challenge diet.
After Gioia was enrolled in the food pantry, he received a bag of food. In addition he was handed a bag of chopped meat, compliments of the staff at Center of Hope, who thought he might need some protein. Gioia told Gloria Sutton, the volunteer who signed him up at the food pantry, "This will be the first cooked meat I will be eating this week." Gioia gave the food pantry staff a check for $100 to cover the cost of the food supplied him to aid in his Food Stamp experiment.
Each month, more than a million New Yorkers use Food Stamps to provide meals for their families. According to a study by City Harvest, New York City food pantries serve approximately 1.2 million meals a year, many of which are served to Food Stamp recipients.
Through the Food Stamp challenge, Gioia said he gained a deeper understanding of the difficult choices faced by people on Food Stamps in New York. On Thursday, he will travel to Washington, D.C. to relay his experiences to lawmakers and ask for more funding for the Food Stamp Program.