Newark Mayor to Live on Food Stamps for One Week as Part of Challenge

After Hurricane Sandy, Newark Mayor Cory Booker opened his home to those affected. Now the Mayor has taken on a new challenge after a posting on Twitter; the Mayor and Twitter user TwitWit will each live on food stamps for one week.

The challenge arose when Booker read a comment posted by TwitWit about government and school lunch programs. "Nutrition is not the responsibility of the government," she posted. "Why is there a family today that is 'too poor to afford breakfast?' Are they not already receiving food stamps?"

Mayor Booker quickly responded with a challenge for NitWit. "Lets you and I try to live on food stamps in New Jersey (high cost of living) and feed a family for a week or month. U game?" Booker proposed.

According to a report from last year, the number of New Jersey residents using food stamps has doubled in the past four years and is at its highest level in a decade. "More than 400,000 households and nearly 822,000 people were enrolled in the food stamp program, meaning nearly one out of every 10 residents in New Jersey," reported the Department of Human Services.

TwitWit said she was "game" for the challenge."

"Great. Lets do this. I hope you live in New Jersey. Lets film it and see how we do. We will have to get a referee – DM [direct message] me your number so we can see if we can work out details," Booker responded.

"We're going to set up the rules. And that's what we're researching right now. This will not be a gimmick or a stunt. [It's an opportunity] for us to grow in compassion and understanding," Booker told reporters later.

The challenge is due to start after Thanksgiving, though details have not been confirmed. The Associated Press managed to track down TwitWit in person, but she has asked to remain anonymous and cited recent threats due to her comments about food stamps.

"To hear he's planning and setting things up, it makes me feel like I'm a little bit of a prop in the game," she said. "There is going to be a lot more of us needing those food stamps if it doesn't stop."