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Officials Eat on a $6 Day Budget for Food Stamp Challenge

"It will show that some folks in the community have challenges that others don't, and just by supporting them, we're able to show some appreciation for what they experience each week," Aloi said.
FREDERICK, Md. - Would you be able to eat on $6 a day? That's what officials in Frederick County, Maryland are doing this week to see what it's like to live on food stamps.

Frederick Alderwoman Shelley Aloi is eating on a budget this week.

"I'm eating on $42 dollars for the week," Aloi said.

Aloi is among about a dozen city and county officials taking part in Frederick 48's Food Stamp Challenge. They must eat on six dollars a day or $42 dollars a week.

"I was thinking about folks in the community who may spend that much on one meal," Aloi said. "To take the challenge and to eat for a whole week on that amount is interesting. It really depends on where you shop."

Aloi shopped for deals at Aldi grocery store, along with Mayor Randy McClement, who's also taking part in the challenge.

"It's happened a lot lately where our economy is shrinking a little, and people who may have never thought they'd have that need may temporarily need some assistance," McClement said. 

McClement got creative with his budget to have variety for the week. He bought all his groceries from Aldi with just $32 dollars. He'll use the other $10 for something else if he needs it. One thing McClement couldn't afford on his budget was coffee.

Organizers of the Food Stamp Challenge hope it can make people more aware of what it's actually like to live in poverty.

"We felt like with the Frederick 48 this was a great way to demonstrate that maybe not everyone agrees that it's the best way to help the poor, but everybody agrees that we need to help the poor, so we all need to work together," said Jonathan Switzer, founder of the Frederick 48.

The U.S. House of Representatives cut $40 billion dollars last week over 10 years for the food stamp program.

"It gives time to reflect on what do I need in life and what do I have to have in life," McClement said.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 46-million people used food stamps in 2012.

"It will show that some folks in the community have challenges that others don't, and just by supporting them, we're able to show some appreciation for what they experience each week," Aloi said. 

It's an experience Aloi and McClement will also get to have this week ss they get a taste of what it's like to rely on food stamps.

Some of the other officials who are doing the challenge include Alderwoman Carol Krimm, Alderwoman Kelly Russell, Alderwoman Karen Young, Alderman Michael O'Connor, Commissioner Blaine Young, Commissioner David Gray, and Senator Ron Young.

Residents are also encouraged to take part in the Food Stamp Challenge. For more information on how you can participate, click here.
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