- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A staff member for a Texas Republican decided to take on the challenge of eating a fill week’s worth of meals on the $31.50 allotted for a food stamp recipient, and says he ended up with nearly $4 to spare.

Several dozen Democrats are taking what they call the “SNAP Challenge” to live on the same amount of money as they’d get under the food-stamp program, and reported they were struggling to keep within costs. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal name for the food subsidy program.

So Donny Ferguson, agriculture policy advisor and spokesman for Rep. Steve Stockman, decided to give it a try himself.

His menus sound monochromatic and not particularly healthy, but he said he was able to eat for a week “on just $27.58, almost four dollars less than the $31.50” allotted to a single-person household on food stamps.

“I wanted to personally experience the effects of the proposed cuts to food stamps. I didn’t plan ahead or buy strategically, I just saw the publicity stunt and made a snap decision to drive down the street and try it myself,” Mr. Ferguson said.

He has released his receipts showing his full purchases.

Mr. Ferguson said he spent $6.03 at a Shoppers Food Warehouse to buy a gallon of milk and a box of maple and brown sugar oatmeal, and at a Dollar Tree store he spent $21.55 for two boxes of Honeycomb cereal; three cans of red beans and rice; a jar of peanut butter; a bottle of grape jelly; a loaf of whole wheat bread; two cans of refried beans; a box of spaghetti; a large can of pasta sauce; two liters of root beer; a large box of popsicles; 24 servings of Wyler’s fruit drink mix; eight cups of applesauce; a bag of pinto beans; a bag of rice; and a bag of cookies.

He said he didn’t use coupons and also pointed out that he was eating as a family of one. He said a bigger family could had saved with economies of scale.

“Not only did I buy a week’s worth of food on what Democrats claim is too little, I have money left over. Based on my personal experience with SNAP benefit limits we have room to cut about 12 percent more,” he said.