Millionaire founder of Panera Bread Ron Shaich will attempt to live on just $4.50 a day for the following one week.
The Panera CEO, who earns $3 million a year, joined 26 members of Congress for America’s food stamp challenge. Through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Challenge participants will experience how millions of low-income Americans live on the average daily allowance of only $4.80 – many of which rely on food stamps to survive.
If hipsters can do it, so can Shaich.
A Salon.com article made the internet rounds earlier this year highlighting the experience of college-educated but poor and underemployed people [which in this case was a hipster] trying to eat tasty, nutritious meals using food stamps.
Previously known as the Food Stamp Program, SNAP feeds millions of hungry families every month. One in seven Americans use food stamps which now cost the government double of what they did five years, according to Reuters.
Interestingly, Congress (The House) is scheduled to vote on a bill this week that proposes a decrease of $4bn a year in food stamps over 10 years.
Shaich started blogging about his experiences on LinkdIn last week, explaining how difficult it was for him to buy healthy food items on a low weekly budget of $31.50.
“I was forced to choose foods that were filling. I wasn’t able to afford the fruits, vegetables and meats that most would say belong in a balanced diet,” he wrote on Friday.
In the end, Shaich spent a total of $25.95 at the grocery store and bought high-carb food items such as pasta, lentils and chickpeas.
Shaich clarified at the end of his blogpost that he didn’t intend to ‘trivialize anyone else’s experiences.’
“My goal is merely to help bring awareness to the issue and spark deeper conversations about food insecurity and possible solutions – discussions that organizations like Feeding America are driving every day,” he said.
Ron Shaich stated he would keep posting updates on his SNAP challenge on his LinkdIn account.
To know more about SNAP and its aims, you can watch this video by Bob Aiken, CEO Feeding America.