September 25th, 2013
11:15 AM ET
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Editor's note: Ron Shaich is the founder and CEO of Panera Bread and president of the Panera Bread Foundation. He participated in a seven-day SNAP Challenge, living on a food and beverage budget of $4.50 a day, the average benefits available to a beneficiary of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the food stamp program.

I thought I knew a thing or two about hunger. I've met thousands of people who struggle to feed themselves and their families, visited dozens of soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters and food banks, and worked closely with nonprofit organizations in trying to find new ways to end hunger.

I really thought I understood the scope of the problem.

But let me tell you something - I had no clue. My SNAP Challenge last week taught me that merely observing someone else's plight does not hold a candle to consciously altering your habits to better understand what it might be like to live someone else's life.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program was formerly called the food stamp program. In the SNAP challenge, you live on a food and beverage budget of $4.50 a day, the average amount a recipient of food stamps gets in benefits.

I was hungry last week - laser-focused on how much food was left in the fridge and how many dollars were left in my wallet. I was scared about eating portions that were too big, and wasn't sure what to do if my food ran out. I canceled two scheduled dinners, knowing they were way beyond my budget. I couldn't even eat in Panera, my own restaurant.

Read - Panera CEO learns about hunger on his food stamp diet

Previously:
Could you live on $30 a week?
The food stamp challenge: eating on $30 a week
Witnesses to Hunger: A portrait of food insecurity in America
Childhood malnutrition has long lasting effects

Posted by:
Filed under: Human Rights • Hunger • SNAP


soundoff (616 Responses)
  1. BK Moore

    Well folks, the truth is, the SNAP card cannot be used to buy liquor and communion wafers, and they don't take it at the bar either. It's useless! They should recall all the SNAP cards and send those people VISA or MasterCard instead (their choice). Or why not mail them all a wad of cash? (You can totally trust postal workers, so it'll be okay). That way they can eat, or maybe they can go get crazy at the club, have a couple shots, you know, every American has the right to get crunked up and drink liquor and listen to trap and scream. So everybody, when your new cards arrive, I'll see you at the club.
    – 10/10/13 BK Moore, Rogue CNN Correspondent

    October 10, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
  2. NYCTokyoLondon

    Since when was Panera positioned as the absolute cheapest food? Guess what....the CEO of Morton's steakhouse probably wouldn't be able to afford his restaurant on food stamps either.

    October 10, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  3. Dean

    I know one woman who gets $1204.00 a month. People on food stamps do not need to be going to restaurants.

    October 10, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Renee Marie Jones

      $1204 a month worth of food stamps for one person? Dean, you are a liar.

      October 10, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
      • NYCTokyoLondon

        How much do you think the Duggards would get if they were on stamps?

        October 10, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
      • tildejac

        With 8 in a household and no income, you can get about 1202 per month on food stamps. 150 for each person over 8 in the household.

        October 14, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • Blizzard

      How many children does this woman have?

      October 11, 2013 at 6:50 am |
    • Tom Joad

      Deano. You are a slobbering Tea Party GOP supporter, who spends his Saturdays stuffing his fat face in the local all-u-can-eat Chinese!

      October 11, 2013 at 10:19 am |
      • msd250

        Typical libtard response: when you don't agree with the message, respond with vile hatred

        October 13, 2013 at 10:27 am |
        • Tom Joad

          Do you truly think the poor have a reason to 'like' you self-righteous, slobbering, blubber-jowled pigs?????

          October 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • I hate to tell you this...

          But you just proved msd's point. In Technicolor.

          But thanks for playing.

          October 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Wesley Hamstreet

      Shennanigans. There is a formula for the SNAP program. Even at zero income reported and being a head of household responsible for phone, utilities, rent/mortgage, etc. The maximum that a single person can get is just shy of $145 per month. If they have dependents, they will receive a maximum of $175 per month per person. This requires that no real income enter the household, and no real property or financial investments valued at over $2000 are owned by anyone in the household.

      Your numbers suggest that this person has 6 dependents and absolutely no savings or wealth of any sort. Given that, this person is attempting to support, raise, and care for 6 people other than herself and not gainfully employed to a degree that she can afford to work and replace herself by transfering her wages to a caregiver. I imagine that her quality of life is not that high.

      If it is, and you are able to see that she is abusing a system & presumably you are upset, or at least disapproving, about these circumstances – you can always make a call or write a letter to the local county Department of Health and Human Resources.

      October 13, 2013 at 6:18 pm |
  4. BT

    This amount is miss leading. As it says per person not per household. The average is not $30 a week per household. 4 in your family, that would be $120 a week on average. I know a mid 20s male living with his middle class parents and he gets $200 per month (and he says the govt knows). He has no job but he also has no expenses. Single individuals should not be getting food stamps (except for short term emergencies). I work downtown and I see now a lot of the homeless males are using food stamp cards in the dollar general buys sodas, chips, and snacks all day. It just seems bad for our country that every non working individual in this country is signing up for long term food stamps and free cell phones. Plus at the grocery store, I sometimes have to wait while well dressed families make their two to three different transactions (one with food stamp card, one with cash, and the third is on a printout of some sort). There is a great need for food stamps, but the standards have dropped significantly in the last few years.

    October 10, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Tom Joad

      Yes! Those homeless should only buy stuff they can cook on the non-existent stoves in their non-existent kitchens of their non-existent homes! Ohhhhkeedokeeeeee!!!

      October 11, 2013 at 10:16 am |
      • Susie

        Tom perhaps you should consider thinking before typing.

        October 13, 2013 at 12:33 am |
        • Bill

          Hey Susie, did you see Floyd's reply to you where he said "You must starve them. I would like to know what you feed your family on that amount.
          Or Wesley's reply to you where he said "You are able to maintain a healthy adult diet and remain active on $1095 as your entire year's food budget? That seems extraordinary. This calls into question what you consider healthy. Can you spell out this grocery list and meal preparation process?"
          to your comment where you said " I have no problem feeding my family of four on less than $3.50. We have plenty of healthy meals each day with lots of fruits and vegetables. Its not really that hard. That is $3.50 each per day.?

          October 15, 2013 at 2:40 am |
  5. Jingle Bell

    Also, the media and others are now using the word HUNGER to equate STARVATION. They have different meanings or did have different meanings at one time, LOL!! Starvation is suffering or dying from extreme or prolonged lack of food, Hunger is a strong desire or need for food. In that case aren't we all hungry all the time? I know I am, but I am definitely not starving!!! Let's get a grip on our lives, and be grateful that we live in a country that is able to help it's citizens. It could be worse...you could have just as easily been born in other parts of the world where you really would be starving and the govt could care less. Be grateful.

    October 10, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  6. Jingle Bell

    SNAP = SUPPLEMENTAL Nutritional ASSISTANCE Program. SUPPLEMENTAL definition – Something added to complete a thing, make up for a deficiency, or extend or strengthen the whole. ASSISTANCE definition – Aid; help. i.e. SNAP food program helps one get more food on the table and is not intended to provide ALL the food on the table!!! As a Panera CEO, he should know English as well me or better, 'cos I'm no CEO, but I know what this program is meant to do. Oh, and I cannot afford to eat at Panera and I do not get food stamps or any thing else. I cook at home, am a vegetarian, and eat no boxed food junk. If all the whiners did the same and recognized to be grateful for what they get from the food program rather than abusing it and whining about HUNGER ( I see no ribs sticking out on those that claim going hungry people!!), this country would be doing better. And I am not a Republican follower.

    October 10, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • cm

      Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      October 11, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • Chris

      I agree I do not buy pre made food out of the box they are high in salt and carbs and not cheap by any means one box of a TV dinner is 5$ or more. I cook all my food.
      And that goes for fast food too have not been in one in years.

      October 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  7. Tom Joad

    Ok folks, time for a confession. The reason I write such angry garbage on here, is because of my deep-seated inferiority complex. I am not that intelligent, and consequently, I have never done well in either school or work. I tend to lose jobs, and this makes me angry. Since I already am filled with self loathing, I wind up spewing it onto the world at large.

    At my very core, I am deeply jealous of anyone who is successful. But those of you on here probably already figured that out.

    October 10, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • RC

      OK "Tom". That was just damn funny.

      October 10, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Tom Joad

      Cute! Are you a Tea Scrotum troll? But just so you know, I'm a full-time government worker; and I have your IP address!

      October 10, 2013 at 11:50 am |
      • RichardHead

        IP on you and your supposed government website.

        October 10, 2013 at 11:54 am |
      • ballsack

        but you can't do anything with it eeeehhhhhh

        October 11, 2013 at 3:11 am |
      • RC

        "I'm a full-time government worker; and I have your IP address!" Which means you're out of work-HAHAHAHA! Full time dumbazz, is more like it.

        October 11, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  8. USMC70114

    Of course you can't eat a Panera on $4.50 per day. In addition to the food cost, the overhead, labor, health care for employees, etc. Also don't miss the what the SNAP program is: Supplemental, not a whole subsidy. If you try to cook for 1 person on $4.50/day, its gonna be really tough. If you take a family of 4 x $4.50 and SUPPLEMENT a tight budget, you could make it work as long as you don't try to eat out (at places like Panera). BTW, I have a family of 6, make nearly 6-figures and still can't afford to take the family out to eat at Panera.

    October 10, 2013 at 5:14 am |
    • Trying To Understand

      I also make almost six figures and have a family of 6 to feed. What I don't understand is how, if the average SNAP benefit is $4.50/day ($27/day), this is not enough to feed one's family. My monthly food average for the 6 of us is $400, or approx. $13.50/day which is exactly half of the average SNAP benefit a family of my size would recieve. I am not saying we should not help our neighbors who need help, but I am saying we should significantly review and restrict what foods can be purchased with this benefit and subsequently reduce the amount the average family receives.

      October 10, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
      • ultima09

        400 dollars a month for 6 people? I do not believe that for one second. Not unless you're living on a farm or you're just living off of bags of white rice. I eat lean – very lean... and i can barely get by with roughly 100 bucks a week for myself alone. There is no way you are providing a balanced diet for your 6 person family on 400 dollars a month.

        October 10, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
        • Keystonemama

          You my dear are wrong. I totally can feed my husband and grown college son on 3 meals a day and snacks for around $60 a week. You just have to know how to cook well and where to shop, we use plenty of veggies/fruits/soups/ etc. I am a southern cook and cook well. I have even quit work when both teenage sons were home, made a lot of my food from simple frugal recipes, ex. make my own spices instead of buying things like chili seasonings, I can make beef stroganoff taste just like the stuff you buy in the box or packets with some worchestire sauce, ketchup and sour cream for pennies. People just don't take the time to figure this out. I did when one month I decided to check my grocery bill and was spending over $1000 a month on "easy" food. People could save a lot of money if they just put a little time into it.

          October 10, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
      • ballsack

        you contradicted yourself so hard

        October 11, 2013 at 3:13 am |
  9. mickinmd

    " I couldn't even eat in Panera, my own restaurant."

    Panera is NOT cheap. And when I went through periods of tight budgets I ate in cheaper than Panera restaurants once or twice a month. Store-brand Mac and cheese, cheap hot dogs, and a store brand canned veggie will get you through dinner really cheap. Discount store brand condensed soup will provide lunch. And cereal and milk or a couple eggs and store-brand brown and serve sausage with do breakfast. And all for less than $4 per person.
    Of course, most people living on food stamps often can not get to the stores than sell those cheap brands.

    October 9, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
  10. A one percenter @ Tom Joke

    You know, after reading all of the wannabe progressive tripe under your name, I think I will start shortpaying all of my employees. Lets see if any of the illiterates even notice. My guess will be no since most of this class never got out of high school. Uneducated is as uneducated does...

    October 9, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Tom Joad

      Great wealth has never been indicative of great intellect. Nor has great intellect been indicative of great wealth. Ray Kroc once said that the smartest, best educated people he'd known were quite poor. While the richest people he knew were poorly educated philistines. He decided that perseverance, rather than wealth or intellect, was the best human attribute in life. So, don't flatter your fat ego more than necessary!

      October 9, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  11. Tom Joad

    That's right Dmitry! Why don't they eat cake???

    October 9, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  12. Larry

    You can't eat at Panera on food stamps? GOOD.
    You want to eat out? Get a freakin' job and don't rely on the government. The whole food stamp program is asinine – it was put in place to get rid of the Government-ran Commodities Stores, because liberal do-gooders felt it hurt people's self-esteem to go to the commodities stores to get their food essentials. Now they can buy Monster and chewing gum instead of meat and bread. Sorry, but the whole program is an insult to every American who works and has to pay taxes to fund the program.

    October 9, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Tom Joad

      SCROOOOOGE!!!You try our patience up here! Take time to learn about that which you babble, lest thee babble incoherent!!!

      October 9, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Evander

      I fail to see why we feed them and cloth them and give them free housing. Why not "fix" them to not have kids and then send them to poor farms like the old days.

      October 9, 2013 at 11:28 am |
      • Tom Joad

        ARE THERE NOT ENOUGH PRISONS??? ARE THERE NOT ENOUGH WORKHOUSES???

        October 9, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • Wrath

          Just have them start picking grapes again.

          October 9, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
        • Tom Joad

          What's your neck size Wrath?

          October 10, 2013 at 10:21 am |
        • Sheriff Buford T. Justice

          There ain't enough whorehouses.

          October 9, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
        • Tom Joad

          What's your neck size Sheriff?

          October 10, 2013 at 10:18 am |
        • Sheriff Buford T. Justice

          What's your Hood size Klan Boy ? I'll BBQ your azz in molasses.

          October 10, 2013 at 10:36 am |
        • tildejac

          No, the liberals got rid of these. Damn those liberals!

          October 14, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
      • MyAverageAmerican

        Define "them"

        October 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm |
    • Randy

      I agree 100%, freee food, free housing, free electricty,water,gas,free cell phones...ect..ect...and then most, "work" under the table, so not to have to pay taxes, and then at the end of the year...claim to only have "made" 15,000 dollars, so they get most of what they paid in back....OMG...OMG!!!

      October 10, 2013 at 10:50 am |
    • MyAverageAmerican

      What about the working on food stamps. What about students? Please don't speak this way, it's insulting.

      October 10, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
      • Tom Joad

        Hey imbecile! Food stamp recipients are required to register for work, and be actively seeking work, unless they are elderly or disabled. learn something about it before you open your gob!

        October 11, 2013 at 10:13 am |
        • tildejac

          Half the people on disability are there fraudulently. Get your head out of your arse.

          October 14, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  13. Dmitry

    People who live on 4.50 a day food budget cook for them self and don't go to restaurants. I don't know if 4.50 a day is enough to provide nutritious meals but you can pick up some bread for a dollar, some pasta. Basically 4.50 for one person is enough to survive as in not starve to death.

    October 9, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • 99.94% Sane

      And that is why so many people on SNAP and TANF are overweight–they DO buy the starchy foods that are filling on the cheap. The only problem with the starches is that they tend to stretch one's rear end.

      October 9, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  14. Chicago

    Wow, he needed this challenge to know it is difficult to live on $4.50 a day? At least he won't be mistaken for a rocket scientist. Typical out of touch liberal. As a Republican I believe in safety nets but also believe we need to encourage personal responsibility. Doling out a ton of money does nothing to guide people back to being self sufficient. Bottom line is we need to assist those that need it but that does not mean eating out at restaurants every day...Panera Bread included. If this smart-guy is so upset about it then maybe he ought to create a low cost menu for those that need it instead of complaining just to score points with the liberal crowd. And if he is asking himself how his company is going to pay for such an option then he should be asking how the rest of us pay for the government program that can only offer 4.50 a day? See the problem smart guy?

    October 8, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Will Shetterly

      If we had 100% employment, it would make sense to talk about "personal responsibility". But you can't make a living from an imaginary job.

      October 9, 2013 at 3:24 am |
  15. Rick

    If the CEO of Panera Bread feels so bad about those on the SNAP Program not being able to afford to eat at his restaurants he should make them more affordable.

    October 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  16. Keith

    Who said that the SNAP program was designed to let people eat at Panera? Learn to cook! You can eat quite well on $4.50/day if you know what you're doing, and you'll be healthier for it. I've been doing that for the past 9 months. I've dropped some pounds that I wanted to lose, and saved a lot of money at the same time!

    October 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • Evander

      why not, it lets them eat at McDonalds and BK, KFC I am not sure of.

      October 9, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  17. robjvargas

    The S in SNAP is Supplemental. This program was never designed to be the sole source of food for a person (much less a whole family). What next, show how poorly a buzzsaw works as a wrench?

    The poor in this country need help. But applying government programs outside their designed use (and that maybe don't belong as federal programs in the first place) is not fixing anything. it's a feel-good, do-nothing gesture that leave the hungry still hungry.

    October 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • 99.94% Sane

      Apparently, you have this fantasy world of what minimum wage employment means these days. Even McDonald's forgot to put a meal allowance in its fantastical Visa-sponsored budget. After rent, utilities, transportation and other necessary things, there is often ZERO money left for "optionals" like FOOD.

      October 9, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
      • Demosthenes

        Minimum wage jobs are for people with no work experience and typically younger. Therefore, salary earned is not for rent, utilities that you were talking about. If you are working a minimum wage job, it should be for extra cash to spend. Your real job is to get an education. Most people are given a chance to go to school and start a career that makes a comfortable living income. If you are in your 20's and still working a minimum wage job, you failed yourself not the government.

        October 9, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
        • ultima09

          That may have been the truth 20 years ago, but now things are different. The average fast food worker is 28. No one is saying that working in a fast food (or other similar job) should pay what an engineer makes, but the fact is that there are many people who are just desperate for ANY job. As someone who has been laid off four times in 3 years, i know very well what it is like to watch your savings evaporate even after cutting all extra services out. I honestly can't remember the last time i ate out, went to a movie, or didn't have to think about how much money i had in my account just to put gas in my tank. I haven't had cable tv in years. Haven't turned on an AC in 2 summers. Even my internet is now coming in through my phone, which is attached to my computer. Thankfully i have an amazing family that is helping me in terms of food – if not, i too would be trying to live off of 4.50 a day for meals. I do not utilize the SNAP program – but if it were not for other assistance from my family i would have no choice. Not everyone has that.

          For those who continue to call the poor lazy, ask yourselves what it would have been like if, as a young adult, there were no jobs? What would you have obtained experience in? What would you have put on a resume to attempt to get a better job? If the only job available was mediocre, offered no benefits, and paid slightly above min wage, and offered no advancement where would you have gone? You say it is our "job" to get an education – well who is going to pay for my meals then? Even with student loans, i cannot pay rent or eat. Nor pay for essentials such as phone / internet / car insurance or fuel.

          Yes, there are lazy people who manipulate the system to get "free stuff". But the fact is, the vast majority of the users of these systems are desperately in need of the services. And for those here bragging about how " i make nearly 6 figures, and don't spend nearly that much on food", do us all a favor and jump off a bridge. A tall one. Your incomes provide you with MANY other advantages that those in the lower class simply cannot afford. It isn't easy to buy cheap food when you live 10 miles from a large grocery store and have no transportation. Nor is it easy to move to an area closer to food, when you have to walk/bus to work. And let's not forget there are things you buy at grocery stores other than food that you could not live without. Consumables that are needed in order to make a living in today's world. I could go on, but frankly those types of holier than thou comments are not worth spending the time on.

          I give this CEO credit for trying to walk in someone else's shoes and then admitting that he couldn't handle it. I hope he considers making a donation to some local charities who help those in need.

          October 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
      • robjvargas

        And yet the S in SNAP still stands for "Supplemental."

        I'd rather find a real solution than to apply a bad one that isn't designed to work the way you want it to work.

        October 10, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
  18. Big Papi

    People living on the system SHOULD NOT be able to eat at restaurants. It costs far less to make meals at home. Why should food stamps pay for an 8 dollar sandwich you can make at home for a buck? Wasteful of tax dollars.

    October 8, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Weller

      they can't use food stamps in 99% of restaurants

      October 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Tom Joad

      Hey imbecile! For starters, you can't use food stamps to eat in restaurants! Secondly, loads of people getting food stamps are homeless; and it would be nice if they could use their Snap card in a restaurant, if just to get in out of thunderstorms, snowstorms, and other foul weather. Thirdly, if I was St Peter, you would get the bum's rush when your time comes around!

      October 9, 2013 at 10:56 am |
      • Evander

        So many fast food places take the, Walmart has the food court in many of their stores. Really your rant makes me doubt your sanity. If you were St Peter I'd turn and walk away.

        October 9, 2013 at 11:31 am |
        • Tom Joad

          Google it imbecile!

          October 9, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
  19. Meh...

    SNAP was never meant to be a way of life. It was certainly never intended to pay for restaurants. If anything, this article makes me want to lobby for reductions in this often abused program. Nothing motivates people to improve their lot in life like a little hardship.

    October 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Tom Joad

      SCROOOOOOGE!!!! Nothing lightens the chains we forge in life like showing a little kindness to the less fortunate!

      October 9, 2013 at 10:08 am |
      • Tom Jaod

        Someone's a little cranky :(

        October 10, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  20. JD

    As is so much of the case with people, it's their expectations that count. I had a relative who, after divorce spent most of her life on the poverty line. That didn't stop her from buying steak once a week, and other things that never appeared in our house.

    October 8, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Tom Joad

      Were you jealous???

      October 8, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  21. Blub

    Not everyone that is on food stamps is a free loader, i see so many people on here saying that they should just take responsibly and not live off others, my mom is unable to work and without food stamps or any benefits she would starve.

    October 8, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • politicaljunky

      My mom cant work either but instead of letting her live off the government I pay for her food, because after all she gave me food when I couldn't work. Unbelievable how people treat the elders now a day.

      October 8, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
      • Terrence

        That's what I was thinking.

        October 9, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Evander

      If she be like to die, she better hurry up and do it and decrease the surplus population.

      October 9, 2013 at 11:32 am |
      • JellyBean

        W T F ?

        October 14, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • tildejac

      you are right that not all on food stamps are there fraudulently. Problem is that at least half are.

      October 14, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  22. Da Truth

    That's good and all, but are you going to lower your prices?

    October 8, 2013 at 10:53 am |
  23. Nothing to see here...

    Another 1% liberal trying to think he is staying in touch with the common people. Anything, I guess, to let him sleep at night...

    October 8, 2013 at 8:15 am |
    • jay

      Well duh!

      Food stamps are an emergency safety net to keep you from starving, not a way of life and CERTAINLY not a way to eat out in a restaurant.

      October 8, 2013 at 8:49 am |
  24. Impressed

    Cool guy. This is obviously not a stunt to bring in more customers; the publicity could drive some people away. It takes some stones to take effort and attention away from your full time job and learn about what life is like when things go wrong.
    SNAP is cheaper and less abuse prone than the other programs. Free and nearly free housing and medical for single parents, drug users and people with cash income is a problem. SNAP I have no problem with - we throw away 1/3 of all food produced, if we have to feed a few scam artists to be sure real Americans don't go hungry then so be it.

    October 8, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • Ryan

      You CAN'T be serious...

      October 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
  25. foo

    Wow...when did it become Gvt obligation to feed everyone ? Ya being poor sucks....maybe people should live their lives as though their decisions have consequences and take a little personal responsibility. People need to understand that when Gvt 'pays' for something they are just taking money from one person to subsidize another. There is no net 'gain' , however the unintended consequence over time is that the people they are taking from start to wonder why they are working so hard to support others

    October 8, 2013 at 7:55 am |
    • lisa

      Who care we all...the entire country should get food stamps. I work at a fortune 500 compancy bring home 2200 after taxes and get food stamps....

      October 9, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • Sunshine

      I don't usually go there, but Im so tired of everyone thinking that all SNAP recipients are uneducated & lazy. My husband worked for the last 20 years in a chosen profession of construction, HVAC, plumbing & such. He made very good money & loved his job. While playing with our private school educated children in front of our 3000sq ft home (almost paid for) he fell & tore his rotator. His surgery was extensive & the damage was too great to repair completely. He can no longer do his work. He wasn't hurt at work so no help from workers comp or anything like that. The government said he was not disabled enough to collect any help from disability (even while training for a new job). His unemployment said he was healthy enough to work (as a greeter at walmart?). Our savings went away quickly. My children had scholarships the following year but then I decided to homeschool. I have never worked to amount to much of anything. My degree is in ministry (no money in that). So what now? He is a part time school bus driver, he cant do it full time it hurts him & would make the possibility of hurting your children after all. It pays for our medical coverage pretty much. He is also a full time pastor of a tiny church that cannot pay him a salary worth anything, & part time handy man (after all he cant even put much torque on a wrench let alone carry anything) and a FULL time student (accounting, no hard work & enough money to take care of his family...someday). Yes, we get SNAP. We are the ones it is for. It is not all about being lazy. We lost everything. We even had a successful small business. I forgot to put that in there. It is all gone. There are some who are working so hard to keep life going. Take a look around. We are not all lazy and living an entitled life. I would give anything to be where we were 5 years ago. But, we aren't. It happens. BTW we didn't have any debt (yes we paid cash), so I cant even get a credit card to wrack up the bills on. So that is off the table for argument too. After 22 yrs of marriage, we are at square one. We aren't the only ones. I am thankful for SNAP & the $4 a day we get. I do cook all of our meals. We don't get to go out, but it sure would be nice to have that great opportunity like so many others do while they squander theirs. ALSO, just an FYI for all the Panera bashers, they donate ALL of their food EVERY evening from EVERY store to needy families in their communities. I pick up for our church about once every 2 months & get the whole back of my van filled in one night. We can & do help take care of lots of families in just one night. What are you doing? Are you thinking that every person is in that position because of poor choices? Just food for thought. This kind of food is FREE... for everyone.

      October 13, 2013 at 12:48 am |
      • Tray

        Sunshine, I totally agree with you that not all that receive SNAP benefits abuse them. I am a disabled Army vet and a former government worker, recently divorced from my husband of 12 years. For the first time in many years I find myself in need as well. If not for my SNAP benefits, it would be quite difficult for me to get by. But I have learned to manage them and am truly greatful for what I get. I do not eat out (can't remember the last time I did), it is just too costly. I was so ashamed when I had to go and apply for SNAP. All of these years I had been able to do it on my own-make it without help, and now I find myself having to rely on this program. I totally believe that everyone's circumstances are different and that you should not be made to feel less of a person just because you need a little help. Just saying, people should not judge others unless they know the situation first.

        October 17, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  26. Jim P.

    " I couldn't even eat in Panera, my own restaurant." With respect, being poor tends to mean you don't do a *lot* of things people with money do..like eat in restaurants.

    That's how being poor works, I've been there. if you live off public welfare, you cannot expect to also be given a lot of luxuries. You need to earn those on your own.

    I've no idea these days if that amount of money is enough to live on. I suspect one can but one needs to redefine the menu and to simplify.

    October 8, 2013 at 12:44 am |
  27. Steve

    Tonight at the grocery store I was behind a welfare queen (who didn't appear to be starving in the least) who had a basket full of high end meats, as well as plenty of junk food. Her total was just shy of $300, and take a guess how she paid? (Or should I say, guess how WE paid)?

    Also note that she had quite the roll of cash in her pocket to pay for her scratch tickets and cigarettes.

    October 7, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • Tom Joad

      Today, I was in traffic behind a rich man in a Rolls Royce. Guess where he got the money for the Rolls? From poor and working peoples' labor power! We need to do something about all these rich welfare cheats!

      October 8, 2013 at 10:08 am |
      • Deuce Fairbanks

        When was the last time a poor man gave you a job?

        October 8, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
      • politicaljunky

        How do you know he was rich? How do you know that was his car? Work hard, study through the night, sacrifice having a child on your 20's and you most certain will have a good life.

        October 8, 2013 at 7:51 pm |
        • Tom Joad

          SCROOOOOGE!!! Your bloated head is stuck inextricably up your anus!!!

          October 9, 2013 at 10:58 am |
      • Tom Toth

        Sarcasm alert.

        October 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
    • Really

      Steve, what gocery store do you shop at that sells cigarettes and scratch off tickets in the same line that you pay for your groceries? There are entire familes that don't receive $300 per month in food stamps. Your comments make me question your "story". By the way, what made her a Queen? I know one named Elizabeth that also lives off of the pubic dole. Maybe she should be told wha to eat also. But let's look a little closer to home. Perhaps Boehner and the rest of the public servants should be given a list of what they can and can't spend their money on also. After all, they are living off of us too.

      October 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
      • Marcellus Wallace

        Defending a woman on a socioeconomic program, throwing dirt on a republican. you sound like lefty liberal here. not just the republicans are abusing their power, both sides are. have you seen how many people are on the first lady's payroll for her "programs". the assistants have assistants. THIS IS WHAT IS HAPPENING ON CAPITOL HILL RIGHT MEOW THAT IS SCREWING US ALL. STOP POINTING FINGERS AT YOUR "OPPOSING" PARTY AND FRICKING WORK TOGETHER. THIS IS WHY AMERICA IS GOING DOWN THE TUBES, ITS ALL ABOUT WHAT PARTY, NOT ABOUT WHAT IS RIGHT TO HELP THE COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE........just saying

        October 8, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
        • 99.94% Sane

          IIRC, wasn't it the Republicans in the House who had a huge catered steak dinner in the dining hall just before they voted to take away another $40 Billion in benefits (on top of the $20 Billion already set to disappear in November)?

          They didn't pay for that with change they scrounged from under the sofa cushions. They didn't have to pay at all, in fact. We paid for that dinner AND we pay their lazy b*tts to do a job. One they won't do because they're afraid to lose "face".

          October 9, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • ultima09

      Don't get me wrong here – i've been in your shoes and i've felt similar things. But you are talking about a tiny portion of the population. SNAP helps lots of hard working people who just can't make ends meet. Every time you see one moocher there are a hundred others who are too ashamed to admit they are even on the program. Not to mention the elderly who simply can't work any longer, or the disabled who are unable to find a job that pays a decent wage.

      Your internet connection goes out from time to time i'm sure. Just because it fails once a month doesn't mean you get rid of the service. Even when it dies when you really need it (and it is very obvious the system in place isn't perfect) you don't throw it out. No system is, or can be, perfect.

      October 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
      • anjacny

        Thank you for your comments. Some of the comments on here really bother me. I am disabled and a mother of 3. I didnt ask to become disabled or for my husband to leave. I am on Snap. My disability ck pays my rent and I do work part time from home and that money goes to what ever my children need as far as clothes, toiletries, cleaning supplies and YES I have internet, as I said I work from home. For a family of 4, the total amount I receive is 232 a month. And I am very careful on how and what I feed my children because at the end of the month I barely have anything here. Ive taken my children to soup kitchens when things get really bad. So for some to say that people like me are uneducated or lazy is very wrong. YES there are those on Welfare, snap that shouldnt be. Ive seen it myself when I have to go to the Human Resource administration office for the snap. But Not all of us scam the system. And from what I have read, most people just generalize people on benefits as lazy or beneath them. I have a college degree. I had a wonderful job in the medical field. Sometimes things happen that are out of someones control. I do not have family near me to help. I am on my own with 3 children, and you know what? I do what I can to make sure I can provide what they need. Now to the one who has a six figure income and spends 400 a month on food for 6 people, cudos to you. Here in NYC, the grocery stores are so expensive. Thank goodness I can make my own bread, or pasta and can make a whole meal out of what I can afford. There arent many who have the ability to do that so they have no choice but to buy what they can afford to feed their families. So those of you judging....unless you have been there and know what its like, try to take into consideration how it would be like if suddenly all you had was gone and you had to raise your children with barely nothing. It can happen to anyone.

        October 12, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
        • Sunshine

          Thank you, well said. We are there too.

          October 13, 2013 at 12:57 am |
  28. pat

    Yeah, I wanna live like common people too. Pretend I have no money and be a dilettante poor person.

    October 7, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Tom Joad

      I take it you are a Jew-Yankee philistine? I wouldn't brag about it if I were you!

      October 8, 2013 at 10:10 am |
      • Joe

        Tom-get off the internet and find a job. Stop on your way home so you can use your food stamps for groceries

        October 8, 2013 at 11:08 am |
  29. Let the hate begin

    I was unemployed for about 12 months a few years ago and was approved for temporary food stamps. I got about $200 per week in benefits, that's $800 per month. I'm shocked to see all these stories of poor people getting only $30-40. Of course before the hate begins, I am married with four children (my spouse cannot work for reasons I'll not go into here) – which is probably the reason why the benefits were so generous. Before and after my unemployment, I work and pay taxes and receive zero benefits. I don't feel guilty becuase that is what these benefits for are for: to take care of people during a pinch. Now my pinch is over and I pay in my share. But I do feel bad for the people that don't get that much help who need it, I really wish they would get more.

    October 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Alphonso

      That 200 dollars a week is a lie-200 dollars a month is more like it. You guys exaggerate too much to back up your philosophy. They do not sell lotto and scratch off tickets in the same line in a grocery store. That person lied. Just because you do not like the program- do not embellish your stories. You can go online and pull up the allotment for different household sizes and those figures are if the household has no income!

      October 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
      • Tom Toth

        $800 a month may be correct. https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=33412

        October 8, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
      • K...

        Yes, there are grocery stores that sell cigarettes and lotto tickets in the same line. Harris Teeter and Food Lion are two examples

        October 9, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • 99.94% Sane

      You're likely correct you got that larger amount because of the wife and kids. But single people don't always get even 1/10th what you did.

      One of the ladies at my church is getting SNAP and she gets a whopping $17/month because she has a small pension from her job after becoming disabled. After rent and everything (she "makes too much" for subsidized housing), that $17 is almost like getting nothing. We provide a mini food bank for our members or she might not eat the last week of the month, even with the extra we add.

      Yes, churches SHOULD be doing more of this, but they don't. I also volunteer in a soup kitchen on a regular basis. Sad thing, other groups come in to "volunteer" for the photo ops and not much else.

      October 9, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Sunshine

      Thank you. I cant wait until our 'pinch' is over.

      October 13, 2013 at 12:59 am |
  30. It's a fact...

    The poor are usually those who choose to live that way...Either through poor choices like choosing to start a family at age 15, or avoiding education like the plague, or just plain taking the path of least resistance. Most poor are just fine with their situation. Ask them.

    October 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm |
    • peridot2

      You shame yourself with the flamebait you write.

      October 7, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
      • Tom Joad

        He probably couldn't care less whether he shames himself or not. But he does go on the deportation list!

        October 8, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Really

      To "It's a fact..." Yes, people make choices. Just like your choice to make ignorant comments

      October 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  31. Janet

    $30. a week? Really? They gave my disabled son $27. a MONTH and expected he would be able to eat on less than a dollar day!! Supplement to what when a person has no income other than disability?? The food stamp program or whatever little synonym they are calling it now, is a joke. People who don't need it get it effortlessly because they know how to work the system and those who really are in need are made to jump through impossible hoops and end up with $27. a month. Oh, did I mention they cut him off after three months because he didn't receive his re-enrollment papers.

    October 7, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • peridot2

      My brother gets $12 per month in food stamps. Yes, I feed him.

      October 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Mpw

      I only spend about $25 every two weeks on groceries. I make double the average income and I spend maybe 100 a month on groceries and occasionally eat.ing out, are ppl eating out every night or something? Potatoes, beans, rice, pasta, chicken are like dirt cheap. You know what I do see a lot of.....poor and fat ppl eat a lot of those premade meals. Those can be expensive. If your willing to spend thirty mins cooking, and used the store brand, you don't have to spend more than 25 a week on food for yourself

      October 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
      • Old Enough

        $25 a week is still tough if you want some decent vegetables and a little meat. I agree though, I might try doing it.

        October 9, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  32. Tom Joad

    What's good for supermarket giants is good for the country!!!

    October 7, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
  33. Tom Joad

    Hey! Tea Scrotums! I got stock in the major supermarket chains! And they get reimbursed DOUBLE for each food stamp dollar spent! Food is a great racket! Why would I wanna see food stamps done away with???

    October 7, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Jachin brother of Boaz

      Tom you have quite a knack of truth telling. I want to be there when you hand out the pikes. The rich like their guillotine blades slathered with grey poupon . Most Tea baggers prefer goose down to chicken feathers.

      October 8, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  34. clem

    The repukes never talk bad about the republican doctors that steal MILLIONS and MILLIONS (sometimes all by themselves) from Medicare.....nope, they only gripe about people on food stamps....EVIL, EVIL people

    October 7, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • Tom Joad

      Tiochfadh ar Lagh!

      October 7, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  35. GBos95

    Panera Bread is hardly an inexpensive restaurant ... so it's no surprise that people on food stamps can't afford to eat there.

    But they can't eat at the Four Seasons, either. So what.

    It's unfortunate the CEO of PB has chosen such a ridiculous example to make a legitimate point ... that poor people suffer and need help.

    October 7, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  36. Socalc

    > "Panera CEO: On food stamps, I can't eat in my own restaurant"

    So what? Why should you be able to? Food stamps are supposed to just keep someone from starving to death – not enable them to enjoy meals at restaurants.

    October 7, 2013 at 4:24 am |
    • David Cartier

      I make a very good living, but I can rarely justify eating at Panera. When I do, the prices are all a little shocking, and I see the very same people parked there, probably for hours, so a good part of the food price goes to support these leeches. If you know you have $4.50 a day and you are a careful shopper, you can eat pretty darned well, but you cannot plan around each meal. Rather you have to plan the week around your shopping. Housewives used to know that. It's why we have so many recipes for casseroles.

      October 7, 2013 at 9:17 am |
      • The Truth

        You are spot on. I only eat at Panera when coworkers want to go to lunch there for some reason. The food is overpriced junk. A mom and pop sandwhich shop makes better food, cheaper and its probably healthier, plus they are everywhere and outnumber Panera.

        I can live with the occasional overpriced food that is edible. But what really gets me are the customers. Table after table have been basically confiscated as office space. People have actually setup temporary offices with laptops, portable file containers, desk pictures etc and look like they have been sitting there for hours, if not days. Seriously, why would I want to do business with you? If your office is a table in a restaurant (that you do not own) call me back when you get a big boy office like the rest of us. I take customers to restaurants to celebrate our relationship not to actually conduct business.

        The other type of customer (which may or may not have set up an office there) are the snobs who think Panera is some sort of magical place were all the food is wonderful, healthy and well worth the price or even a bargin. Like the office squatter they are easy to spot, or in this case hear. In line they drone on and on about how great this place is and how lucky we are to have it. When they are ordering you think they are at a 5 star restuarant and when choosing you almost think they will call for the Sommelier to pair a wine with it. When I order they compliment my choice or make suggestions, again seriously, its a sandwhich people mind your own business. Oh I forgot their business depends on this restuarant to survive.

        October 7, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Jon Zorg

      Yes, the "S" in the acronym stands for "Supplemental".

      October 7, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  37. G.R.R.

    Rich, you can do more for solving things by focusing on creating jobs and new businesses in the USA, than you can about bringing the price down.

    October 7, 2013 at 1:36 am |
    • Neal Kluge

      The S in SNAP stands for supplemental. Thus Snap is in addition to one's income + one's savings + charity money. So saying what snap alone will not cover is misleading......

      October 7, 2013 at 5:08 am |
  38. Richard

    Panera. $7 for a wafer thin sandwich? No wonder he couldn't afford to eat there.

    October 7, 2013 at 12:40 am |
  39. AJ

    This Panera guy does not understand hunger by trying to see how it is to get by on food stamps. In the back of his mind, he always knows he can have whatever food he wants at any time.

    October 7, 2013 at 12:19 am |
  40. AJ

    I don't understand people looking in dumpsters for food. People are on street corners asking for money. All you need are a few bucks to get food at a dollar menu at a fast food joint. No need to starve here or look in dumpsters.

    October 7, 2013 at 12:16 am |
    • Tom Joad

      Yeah! Why don't they eat cake?

      October 7, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • ultima09

      You cannot sustain yourself on dollar menu items. Try it for 3 weeks. You'll find yourself sleeping far more, unable to wake up in the morning, have difficulty concentrating and just feeling genuinely bad.

      You are what you eat. And living off of dollar menu items is akin to living off of candy bars.

      October 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
  41. Brooke Shapiro

    $30 a week? Try $27 a month. Yes, I do work a few days on the weekends, and Disability. With rent and bills, and hours that are scattered, I can barely make it. I can't even imagine having a child and working with min. wage like I do. It's difficult. I have issues with going to a soup kitchen, as I do have a job (barely ) and I can get help from family. I would rather go to my father and have him be able to chip in with either money or food, than take food that is free from a soup kitchen where a family of four with no outside help needs it. It isn't really a matter of pride, if I did need to go for no other option I would, but it is a matter of principle knowing there are those worse off than me. Some of you might ask why I am even on snap, but every little bit helps as I try and get myself in a better place.

    October 6, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Janet

      $27. a month is what they provided for my disabled son - for three months and then cut it off because he didn't receive the re-enrollment forms. Who can eat on that????

      October 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  42. Greg

    $4.50 a day is not bad at all. Considering that this is supposed to be an assistance program, those receiving the average probably have a little more money available to also allocate to their food budget. If they do not, they are probably below average and are receiving even more aid. Besides, for a family of four, $4.50 per person amounts to over $500 a month in groceries. I have a family of four and we budget $400 a month. Sure, we have to save and don't eat out with that money, but we aren't starving or even hungry by any means.

    October 6, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  43. you need us

    1st point big buisness pays under 20.000 a year to get tax credits for employing low income people 2nd point rich people get tax credits for employing peolple with snap benefits or of minority so you need us......i own my own painting buisness and thats why when i have a customer who earns a hard living will pay 10 or 15 a shutter rich 30 to 45 a shutter or charge 2 coats due 1 vs charge 1 coat do to lol i get the last laugh in my own little way

    October 6, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • What's wrong

      You sir are what is wrong with America.

      October 7, 2013 at 10:40 am |
      • Claire

        He is not what is wrong with America. I do not see the point in using such a blanket statement. He is an individual, who lacks a moral character.

        October 8, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • JellyBean

      Meh, just a troll. Move along now.

      October 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  44. Debra

    Funny, I just took my mother to Panera yesterday, since the line at the Costco Food Court was too long. I paid *$10* for 1 whole "sandwich"/ large piece of bread with 2 or 3 paper thin slices of Turkey, a smidgeon of Lettuce and a few rings of Red Onion, and $2.79 EACH for 2 small drinks. it was like knawing on a piece of dry bread, even with the mustard I added. We will never go back. I don't see how that place stays in business. Next time we'll stand in line at Costco. For what about $1.75 each, we could have a slice of Pizza and a Drink? Why can't other places charge those prices? P.S. You don't have to be a Costco member to buy food at their outside Food Court, maybe some of you guys on a limited income could treat yourselves and family, once in a while. Good luck to all of you.

    October 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
  45. CHRISTY

    single mother of two living on 422.00 every two weeks... i don't quality for food stamps because the company i work for and i have insurance, that company pays a portion of my insurance but adds it to my gross income which knocks me out of getting any assistance at all. we live or should i say survive on $50.00 a month for groceries. the AG won't enforce the enforcement process of my ex paying child support so im screwed in a nation that really don't care

    October 6, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Wow

      You made the choices in your life that put you where you are, only you can change your situation.

      October 6, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
      • Jeff

        That's my reaction to you. Wow. You don't know what choices she made or what circumstances led to them. You don't know anything about her situation and yet you find it permissible to comment. To me that's incredible and shows a serious lack of character on your part. Those of us who have never needed compassion will find it almost impossible to give it. You are a fortunate human being, which puts a great deal of responsibility on you, but you're very immature in your understanding of love.

        October 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
        • chelle

          Well geez Jeff. Everyone should be able to rise above poverty – didn't you get the memo? It doesn't matter if you were raised in poverty, went to school hungry, are functionally illiterate because the education system and your parents just didn't car. There is no reason you can't have a great job and a white picket fence.

          October 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
        • Mandy M.

          Well said Jeff. I am reading so much blind hatred and ignorance here. It's not only disturbing but it's misinformed. Do people really think the majority of their tax dollars goes to public food assistance? Dream on. If we bought one less tanker or a few less drones, we could SUPPLEMENT this whole program. And you can't buy just anything with food stamps. You can't even buy a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket. Anything considered prepared food is off limits. What's sad is that the nutritious food is actually more expensive.

          October 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
      • ladybugtomgirl

        You don't know this woman's complete circumstance so that was a pretty cold thing to say. It may not be her fault she is no longer with her ex but if her kids father is refusing to help support his kids how is that her choice? At least she is working and trying to improve her situation so I think that is commendable. It is very hard to enforce child support payments even if the father's whereabouts are known. Not everything is as easy as you may think.

        October 6, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
      • Justin S.

        Yes, but her kids did not.

        Vote GOP, vote cynical and selfish.

        October 6, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
        • Mike

          No; she made the choice to have kids before she had an education and a career; which would have prevented this. Why should the GOP'ers pay for her over active Vag?

          October 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
        • Allan Foster

          I notice that these women complain that their ex's pay no child support but do not say the e's are actually the fathers of their children. Interesting.

          October 6, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
      • Tom Joad

        Poverty is the direct result of the artificial scarcity created by class-stratified societies. It is not a matter of "choice".

        October 7, 2013 at 11:13 am |
        • JSebastian

          Not true. Poverty is the result of scarcity, which can be the result of many things, but ultimately is simply excess demand for finite resources. If anything it is the result of overpopulation, which is an empirical observation based on the physical characteristics of the population in relation to the available resources. It has very little to do with the class structure of the society itself. That being said, poverty as an economic term is completely relative – its a comparative term measuring deviation from the norm. But again that has very little to do with class.

          October 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
        • Tom Joad

          If there were no rich, there would be no poor.

          October 7, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • dhall148

          Poor: Sometimes it's a matter of choice. Like the lottery winners who go broke. That didn't have much to do with their class. But then there are those who have no choice but to be poor. They reallly can't get out of their lifestyle situations. One example is a college-educated person who falls prey to the fallout from recession. It happens, and it's beyond control at times. Other poor people have had hard times because of changing workplace environment. Aileen C might be an example of how decent people can struggle with workplace disadvantages. It's more and more common to struggle with poverty than it is to overcome poverty. The old saying that was was so very popular in the 70s and 80s was "I fight poverty...I work". That saying no longer applies, thanks to big business greed. We the poor didn't change that. The filthy rich did it all by themselves. Yep, it is a class thing. Very much so.

          October 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
      • Scott

        You are a complete ass! To suggest that only things happen to people that they choose to have happen is idiotic to say the least, and probably should be called much worse. When you stand in front of the good lord one day for judgement I hope he is just as compassionate to you!

        October 7, 2013 at 11:51 am |
        • Tom Joad

          The Grim Reaper gets him before the Lord does!

          October 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
        • dhall148

          Amen Scott, amen.

          October 7, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
        • Tom Joad

          He should hope that Monsieur Guillotine is a forgiving soul!

          October 8, 2013 at 10:17 am |
      • Tom Joad

        Yes! Capitalism's shortcomings are to be blamed on the poor, who have no Capital! Okeedokee!!

        October 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
      • Tom Joad

        SCROOOGE!!! I've heard your lame, twisted, perverted line of thinking before-from Marie Antoinette and her crowd! They now bubble and boil in the scalding cauldrons of Hades for eternity! Stirred by grinning red devils! Your time is coming!!! MUAHAHAHAHA!!!

        October 9, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • peridot2

      The Attorney General of the state in which you live should enforce collection of child support, Christy. That is heinous that the father of your children is getting off scott free which you are working your fingers to the bone to raise his kids. If your ex lives in another state those monies should be deducted from his paycheck BEFORE he receives it and sent to you for your children. It's despicable that women are left holding all the responsibility of raising children while the fathers run off and don't contribute anything other than a single germ cell. It costs them nothing to father a child and costs us everything.

      October 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  46. Stephen W

    The first word in the name of the program identities the purpose of it. The program is only to supplement a person's ability to purchase food. It was never intended to be used as the sole means for purchasing food. To that end, there is a work requirement for all able bodied adults getting SNAP benefits. It is not the federal governments responsibility to provide all of the food for one quarter of the population of the USA. The solution is not to increase SNAP benefits, but to increase job opportunities.

    October 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Janet

      Your premise assumes that only able-bodied people are received SNAP. What about the elderly and the disabled? Did you think for a second that maybe they have nothing to supplement?

      October 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
  47. BobInAZ

    SNAP is to help feed people. It is for food. That doesn't include someone to cook it for you and serve you in a restaurant. That is not what people are asking for, it is what corporate interests and the sugary beverage industry are lobbying for. Keep this program sustainable by rejecting the commercial interests, and focusing on providing non-manufactured food items for people in need, while monitoring for that element of waste/fraud/abuse that exists everywhere.

    October 6, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  48. anxiousoldman

    In my life I've been hungry. I've eaten out of dumpsters, sat next to outside dining area's and grabbed what ever might be left on plate's, went into grocery stores pretending to shop and ate whatever I could without being seen. Many years later (30 yrs) I no longer have to worry about my next meal, but when I did it was all consuming. I read these post calling starving people moochers and takers. I wonder what world these people live in. I read an article a while back how Verizon was buying out Vodafone for $130 billion and to seal the deal they would disclose how they could avoid paying capital gains tax. (est. about $39 billion dollars) How can people be so blind that they think food stamps are the problem? Pull the wool away from your eyes... Please before we are a third world country.

    October 6, 2013 at 8:06 am |
    • Irish Celtic

      he doesn't get it. When you are on food stamps, you aren't SUPPOSED to be able to afford to eat in restaurants. DUH.

      October 6, 2013 at 8:49 am |
      • Ton Joad

        EAT THE RICH!!!

        October 7, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  49. Partisan

    Oh please...this guy is another fool liberal who thinks he will save the world through a news article. After the story ended, he was back in his limo to go to another caterers dinner. The far left really is all about promoting hate.

    October 5, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • anxiousoldman

      You are a little correct. It would be very hard for someone of his wealth and success to understand the plight of the less fortunate, but he made the effort. He now understands and probably will become an advocate for those who suffer. Your statement here makes me think your probably struggling yourself. It's not a contest when you are hungry, it's survival.

      October 6, 2013 at 7:14 am |
    • Justin S.

      Your post made me laugh because you spew venom at a businessman who is raising awareness for people stuck in poverty and then you accuse HIM of selling hate.

      October 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
      • Sandra

        Right on Justin!

        My thoughts exactly.

        October 7, 2013 at 12:38 am |
  50. MrDore2u

    I am so proud of this man for taking this challenge. He has demonstrated to the world by deeds, and actions that he cares.. By his actions he brings to the surface how desperate some of our people are. and how unjust our society can be. I'll spend more money at Penera, and Ill put more in that box on the counter. Gd bless this man.

    October 5, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
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