| On May 1, Pennsylvania will become the latest state to (re-)institute asset testing for food stamp recipients by order of Governor Tom Corbett, a measure which even top Republican legislators in our state are opposing.
This move, unfortunately, does not require state legislative approval, so here in Pennsylvania we will once again (the old PA asset test was overturned by Democratic former Governor Ed Rendell in 2008) soon join the sad list of the handful of states which will require those in need of food assistance to... beg harder, I guess. Because to folks like our governor, poor people can never be shamed enough, apparently.
More below the fold...
|In the meantime, my US Congressman, Bob Brady (D, PA-01), will be taking part in the 'food stamp challenge' here in two weeks...
The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger are asking area residents during the week of April 23 to live on $5 a day, which is the average food stamp benefit in Pennsylvania.
The "Food Stamp Challenge" is to raise awareness about proposed changes to Pennsylvania's food stamp program that would eliminate eligibility to those that have assets of more than $5,500 -- $9,000 for seniors -- on May 1.
One high-profile participant in the challenge will be U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, D-Philadelphia, whose congressional district is the second-poorest in the entire country.
If not for occasional family help, and the leftover residual benefits from my previously successful life, I'd be right there too. Most days right now, I generally live on under $5 worth of food per day myself, but I never go hungry between meals and I'm fortunate enough to have good cookware, a full kitchen, time to cook(!), and also to live within easy access of grocery stores, farmers' markets, and imo, the single greatest place in the entire world (Reading Terminal Market!).
As far from 'bad off' as I know I ultimately am, I still can't even imagine what it would be like to live like my mother did as a kid, bouncing back and forth between public housing projects in North Jersey and The Bronx with her mother and her numerous brothers and sisters to briefly get away from her often abusive, alcoholic father (who himself was a WWII veteran who slipped through the cracks upon his return home) for instance, or as about 1.5 million of my fellow Pennsylvanians (and countless other millions of our fellow Americans) currently still do right now.
I want an America which is better than this. To every single one of us. We can, and should, do this. Shame on anyone who tells us we can't.