Students at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College are participating in a local version of a national program–Fighting Poverty with Faith Food Stamp Challenge–to create awareness and advocate on behalf of people who receive food stamps.
Under the program offered by the Chaplain’s Office of the college, students can choose from one of three scenarios: eat one meal that costs essentially $1.50 or the amount in food stamps that a recipient would have to spend for one meal; exist on $4.50 worth of food stamps for an entire day’s meals; or live on $31.50 worth of food stamps or the equivalent of a week’s meals.
Students are invited to advocate for the hungry by writing letters to government representatives to continue or increase aid for Food Stamp Assistance. They also may write a letter to the editor of their local paper to help create awareness of the funding issue for the food stamp program. Many students have answered the question “What is it about my faith that causes me to advocate or act on behalf of the hungry?” on video, which can be viewed at www.etown.edu/offices/chaplain/food-stamps-challenge.aspx.
“By stepping into the shoes of someone who lives on food stamps, students experience the difficult decisions many families make every day,” said Amy Shorner-Johnson, assistant chaplain at Elizabethtown College. “My hope for the Food Stamp Challenge is students go beyond simply being grateful for what they have, toward action and advocacy on behalf of the hungry.”
As reported in the “Huffington Post” on Oct. 31, a number of congressional Democrats are participating in the Food Stamp Challenge to oppose Republican proposed cuts to the program. The number of people relying on food stamps has risen in response to the ongoing recession. According to the Post report, more than 40 million individuals and 19 million households used food stamps in 2010, as cited by the US Department of Agriculture.
Visit www.etown.edu for more information about Elizabethtown College.
— This release was provided by Elizabeth Harvey, marketing and communications manager for Elizabethtown College. The Food Stamp Challenge was promoted as an outreach to the Brethren-related colleges by Jordan Blevins, advocacy officer and ecumenical peace coordinator for the Church of the Brethren and the National Council of Churches.