Mario Batali is taking the whole concept of walking in another's shoes very seriously, he and his family are walking in the shoes of a family of four who is living on food stamps.
“For one week, walk in someone else’s shoes. Knowledge is power, and by truly understanding what our friends and neighbors are going through, we will be better equipped to find solutions,” said celebrity chef Mario Batali, a Food Bank board member, in describing the challenge.Why?
Because as more people go hungry, more cuts are on the block to important food stamp programs. Cuts we cannot afford, especially since food stamps are winners when it comes to stimulus, but it also means feeding people. And right now, what we have as a system isn't even working.
“This is really an awareness campaign. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is under threat in Congress and we have to protect it and protect our neighbors that depend on it,” Purvis said. “We need more people to understand that those who take food stamps are families, people like us, they are our neighbors.Batali joined the challenge to bring publicity to the issue and he's doing a great job of it as you will see under the cut. But he also shows that living on less than $1.50 a person, per meal is not easy, not by a long shot.
“I tried [the challenge] and I can tell you I am not happy,” Purvis said. “When a gallon of milk costs as much as your entire day’s food budget, you’ll never look at grocery shopping the same way again.”
Goodbye restaurants, free nibbles on his talk show "The Chew" and all the luxe offerings at Eataly, the high-end New York City market he co-owns. Hello Trader Joe's, Jack's Dollar Store, Gristedes and Western Beef, a low-cost supermarket chain.
"I'm (expletive deleted) starving," said Batali, who's on the board of the food relief agency Food Bank for New York City, which issued the challenge to celeb pals like Batali and anybody else who wants to know what it's like.
Batali said his first reaction when asked to join was a big "gulp," then he realized while shopping for Friday's start of the challenge that with a little forethought it wouldn't be all that brutal.
One lesson: forget organic and anything pesticide- or hormone-free. "The organic word slides out and saves you about 50 percent."
Of course Fox News is on attack and Lawrence O'Donnell does an amazing job of taking apart their ignorant and rather heartless take down of Batali's very important efforts.
So why doesn't Batali just create jobs?
Uh, he has, he runs tons of restaurants.
Why not just give food away?
Oh, yes, well Batali also happens to have given away lots of food as part of the New York Food Bank. Check here, he's the CHAIR.
Then there is the Mario Batali Foundation
The Mario Batali Foundation was established to feed, protect, educate and empower children, encouraging them to dream big while providing them with the necessary tools to become an active force for change in today's world. In an effort to do so, the MBF strives to ensure all children are well read, well fed and well cared for.But this isn't just about Fox News and their absurd attack on Mario Batali, we expect as much.
This is about bringing attention to real issue.
"We, hopefully, aren't pretending or being like a bunch of yuppies saying, 'Oh yeah, this is how you can do it. Look, we can grind our own oats!' We want people to think about calling and talking to their representation about cuts to the Farm Bill and the food stamp program," he said.This is a CHEF, this man cooks for a living and it was difficult for him.
Do not let this happen, call your representative, let them know that this is not the time for more cuts to SNAP, that people cannot give up more than they already have.