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Patrick Administration Officials To Try Eating On $31.50 For Week

This article is more than 7 years old.

Two top Patrick administration officials plan to see what it’s like to eat on a budget of $31.50 for a full week.

In an email message to state employees Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz said he plans to take the “SNAP challenge” along with Department of Transitional Assistance Interim Commissioner Stacey Monahan. Polanowicz said he is taking the challenge to “highlight the importance of this benefit as a front line of defense against hunger” and asked state employees to consider taking the challenge as well.

The average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit in Massachusetts is $31.50 per week, or $4.50 a day, an amount that Polanowicz called “a modest benefit that helps families meet their basic needs and provides a bridge to stability during difficult times.”

Administration officials circulated the Polanowicz memo to reporters Wednesday and invited media to join them on a June 12 shopping trip when they plan to buy a week’s worth of groceries for $31.50.

The officials estimate 2 million Americans would lose SNAP benefits under a proposal in Congress to cut the former food stamps program by $20 billion.

The initiative comes as lawmakers gear up for debate on welfare reform proposals following reports of benefits abuse and lax program oversight.

This program aired on June 5, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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