Congressional Candidate Tries Living on Food Stamp Budget

Norman Solomon, who is running to replace Lynn Woolsey in Congress, says he wants to bring attention to proposed cuts to CalFresh, which feeds millions of low-income Californians

In an ongoing effort to reduce spending, lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have been eyeing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps.

Under the House Republicans’ plan for fiscal year 2012, SNAP funding would be cut by $127 billion over ten years and the program converted to a block grant. For California, that translates into an estimated $10 million in cuts, resulting in either a reduction in benefits to low-income families or stricter guidelines about who is eligible.

Some 3.7 million Californians are currently enrolled in the program, more than double the number from ten years ago, which helps low-income families purchase groceries.

To raise awareness about the impending cuts, Congressional candidate Norman Solomon went food shopping in Petaluma on Monday kicking off his Food Stamp Challenge, an experiment about what living on food stamps is really like.

A single person on the program receives $126 a month or just $31.50 a week, making grocery shopping more than challenging.

Click on the video on the right to hear Solomon discuss why he's embarking on his "Food Stamp Challenge"

Solomon is pledging to not spend any more than the alloted amount for an entire week (including going out to eat) to bring attention to what he believes is a vital program that sustains low-income families, especially during difficult economic times.

“The war in Afghanistan costs us $1 million a year per soldier, while Washington says it can’t afford the program that feeds millions of Americans,” Solomon told Patch as he shopped on Monday. “I feel a very powerful commitment to getting our priorities straight.”

Solomon, 60, is one of eight candidates running in the newly created District 2, which runs from Marin County to the Oregon border. Whoever wins will replace Rep. Lynn Woolsey, who has represented the smaller District 6 in Washington for nearly 20 years and is retiring at the end of next year.

The anti-war and anti-nuclear energy activist says he has personal experience being on food stamps for more than a decade in the ‘70s and early ‘80s.

“It’s gut level for me,” said Solomon, who now lives in Inverness and considers himself middle class. “I know what it’s like to run the gauntlet of filling out the application and then living on $28 a month for groceries.”

On Monday, Solomon shopped briefly at the Lucky on Lakeville Highway—buying some discounted avocados, bell peppers and apples—before deciding that the store was too expensive for his budget. He then headed to where he stocked up on a bag of yams, a block of cheese, bread, rice and lentils. Between the two stores, he had spent $14.24, meaning he still had $17 to spend on other meals during the week.

“It was very challenging,” Solomon said about his "first day" on food stamps, adding that he was now headed home to start cooking.

Do you have experience living on food stamps? Share your story with us.

Eileen November 20, 2011 at 03:21 AM
I have read all the comments and non are homophobic, bigoted and racist comments, You go back and read what you have posted about people.
Go Occupy! November 20, 2011 at 04:11 AM
Well Cruella, that's a big fat lie, there is no way you could have gone back and read ALL the comments you have ever posted on Patch as they get deleted after a period of time. I simply post comments and try to deflect the hate of your group. Plus, the DNC pays me ten cents a word.
Bob Ratto November 20, 2011 at 05:09 AM
You are stuck in the mud Bob. Best to call for help. The article talks about people living on $31.50 a week for food Bob. The republicans want to take that away Bob. Doesn't seem like our own citizens are being taken care of first Bob. And you are a fraud, and a liar.
Go Occupy! November 20, 2011 at 05:29 AM
So, you have only 7 posts...on your current ID. And now on this article you are stalking me...why? I actually changed my username because of crazy people like you if you must know. Please show us a photo of you with your real first and last name Cruella Eileen so we can all laugh. Are you a beautiful "10" knockout? Yeah, right. Somehow that doesn't fit with your cat hoarding image. I'll just bet you are much bigger than I am. Are the people that I comment to unable to form their own responses and you are their leader? And Bob, everything I said in that post was 100% accurate and factual. So what do you mean by calling me a fraud and a liar? Did you get your comments approved by Eileen before you wrote them? And why can't you two stay on topic with the subject of the article? Remember the republicans that are trying to cut food from the poor? Remember how you were saying that you are for taking food away from poor people? Remember?
Eileen November 20, 2011 at 05:37 AM
Hey Sparky Arbuckle, I have to go now, I don`t have time to post 24/7 like some welfare waster. Don`t forget to have your Jab. Woof Woof
Go Occupy! November 20, 2011 at 02:23 PM
"Just because not ALL citizens are Dems, you berate them..." Only the ones that come on these chat boards and say they they are against helping the poor (so the 1% can profit) as you and your cohorts have done. And what is so surprising is that none of you are in the 1% category, or ever will be. Not even close. So, what are you fighting for, stinginess? Worst person award? That has been my consistent message across what I have written here. You people are insane to back the republicans on this and you should be horribly ashamed at the way you look at treating those less fortunate than you. And you & "Eileen" with your despicable comments about my physical appearance are revolting and reveal so much more about the two of you than anything about me. Do you really think it is OK to say things like that in public? This goes so far beyond bad manners it's not funny.
Karina Ioffee November 20, 2011 at 05:01 PM
AGAIN, PLEASE KEEP COMMENTS CIVIL AND RELEVANT TO THE STORY. Also, if you don't want to get any email every time someone posts, you can unselect the "Email me when someone replies" box at the end of the comments. That way you can say what you have to say about the story and then not be bothered by other comments.
Karina Ioffee November 20, 2011 at 05:03 PM
Sorry. The box says "Send me email updates for this article"
Craig Knowlton November 20, 2011 at 05:34 PM
You appear to have misread my post, even though it was pretty straightforward. My comment was specifically about your personal attack on other posters here, referring to them as dingbats without original thought. Are you also implying Mr. Solomon is a dingbat because he didn't come up with this idea, either?
Susan Wreden November 20, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Why just republicans and not all politicians?
Go Occupy! November 20, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Craig, please re-read your post that I commented on. Nowhere in it do you say or even imply- "My comment was specifically about your personal attack on other posters here, referring to them as dingbats without original thought. Are you also implying Mr. Solomon is a dingbat because he didn't come up with this idea, either?" Is that what you were 'thinking' when you wrote the original comment? It sure didn't make it into what you wrote. Besides, what I wrote was referring to the dingbat republicans that think it is a good idea to cut this food program to less than $31.50 a week. If you want to include the posters who agree with that here, by all means include them. Did you even read the article Craig? The one we are talking about. It's at the top of this page.
Go Occupy! November 20, 2011 at 06:18 PM
For Susan Wreden- well, because it's the republicans that are trying to cut the food program from the current level of $31.50 a week.... are the ones that could use a bit of a reality check. The democrats seem to be in agreement that not cutting that program would be good for the poor people that it supports. Although, I can think of a few dems that would benefit from going thru that basic training. There is nothing wrong with the wealthiest nation in the world helping it's poor citizens when they are down. We can afford it. What is it, like a 10th of 100th of a half percent out of our pockets?
Karina Ioffee November 20, 2011 at 06:45 PM
Keep you comments relevant to the story, please.
Linda Rowan November 21, 2011 at 12:07 AM
Sparky...what did I say about your looks??? NOTHING!You really need professional help and fast. You can attack posters who do not share your views and feel that is ok???:(
Linda Rowan November 21, 2011 at 12:11 AM
Also Sparky,aka Anti-Republican Sentiment Why did you attack my diet???What do you eat. Steak and lobster??? It seems that YOU are the main person spewing all your hatred !
Linda Rowan November 21, 2011 at 12:22 AM
You know what "Anti-Republican Sentiment"???? I have noticed on other chat boards that you are a bully? Why all the hatred? You srgue and call posters names at the drop of a hat.If you do not approve of a members political affilation,diet,opposit viewsd....just ignore them..Don't report posts that have your panties in a twist:( Even the pirate thread and I could go on and on.
Go Occupy! November 21, 2011 at 01:45 AM
"Why did you attack my diet???" I commented on your diet, I did not "attack" your diet. Why comment on it? Because you posted the whole diet here and parts of it sound absolutely dreadful. This is another aspect to this cutting of $$ to the poor by the republicans, it forces people to only buy canned processed crap (like Spam-isn't that ground up fat chunks, pig noses and lips?) and the cheapest they can get by on. You'll notice in your diet, (that I have taken the liberty to paste below), you don't mention one fresh vegetable at all. Not even a single solitary stalk of celery. If you can't afford the extra cost of organic food, you could surely be able to afford to buy some non-organics for your diet just to get some roughage in there. Even Joe Solomon had difficulty in finding organic veggies that he could afford on the republican diet of $31.50 per week (that they want to cut), so he passed on them. But he did buy oranges and, he knows that he can go right back to buying organics after his self-imposed exile into the restrictions of a poor person's diet end. Here is your diet as you wrote it that does not include any green fresh vegetables at all: "...a big bag of pinto beans,rice,dozen eggs,bag potatoes,onions,some SPAM (2)cans,(3) cans tuna,a couple bags of pasta,(2) Jars spagetti sauce,box cookies,a package of cheese.. (3) cans corn,(2) cans green beans,(4) cans assorted fruit...can coffee,box sugar...."
Go Occupy! November 21, 2011 at 01:56 AM
Again, Joe Solomon is doing such a wonderful thing in helping to bring yet another republican travesty to light. Republicans cutting food to poor people so they can pay for their 5 homes, yachts, jets, and Money Market accounts shows what they are all about at their core. Riddle me this Batman, why do all the now broke republicans still follow this band of misfits? Here's the thing that seems to escape many, if you are a wealthy republican and you go broke (due to market fraud, etc) and lose your homes & yachts, and trappings of wealth, they just kick you to the curb...and out of the club. Banks do that too.
Linda Rowan November 21, 2011 at 02:49 AM
Sparky...you sicken me. I was making a general statement when faux shopping at the 99 cent store. I was showing that YOU can sustain yourself for awhile. Yes,the 99 cent store DOES have fresh veggies too. Pinto beans are loaded in protein too.Spam was good enough for our soldiers...remember??? Or were you a conscientious objector?? Anyway...America is FAT!!!! Maybe we Americans need to cut back. I am slim but feel anoixic next to most people. Also,organic foods are expensive too. Who cares if a bag of carrots or potatoes are NOT organic? Put them in a pot,buy a small ham hock or beef bone and make a stew. You are a real winner when it comes to being abrasive. Next time I go to Whole Foods,I will be sure to say hello to you as you pinch the zuccni.
Roy Bean November 21, 2011 at 03:37 AM
A.R.S. Sparkles shouldn't it be A.S.S.?? All Socialist Sentiment!
Go Occupy! November 21, 2011 at 03:41 AM
Why would I sicken you? You seem to be taking this chat board thing a bit too seriously. If you are that sensitive about your fake diet you posted here then why would you plaster it on the discussion board? Now that you bring it up, potatoes are one of the very worst veggies to not buy organically, celery is too, but let's concentrate on potatoes for now. Did you know that in a typical non-organic potato there were 37 pesticide residues found by the USDA Pesticide Data Program. Put a few potatoes from the 99 cent store in your crock pot with your can of Spam and you will have a guaranteed pot of pesticide stew. Bon appetit! Oh, and people that accuse others of being fat on a chat board on the internet like you and your friend did...are never thin.
Roy Bean November 21, 2011 at 03:42 AM
Ol' Sparkles is not interested in FACTS just emotional babblings.
Roy Bean November 21, 2011 at 03:43 AM
It would be nice if you would remind Sparkles to do the same Karina.
Roy Bean November 21, 2011 at 03:46 AM
Sparkles is a top 10%'er but he portrays himself as a victim. Typical Lib.
Linda Rowan November 21, 2011 at 03:51 AM
As for your last comment...I will take a pic of myself holding tomorrows newspaper and wave at you. Heck,I will even write your name on the paper so you know its me.:)
Linda Rowan November 21, 2011 at 03:52 AM
PS I NEVER accused you of being FAT...you divulged that info!
Roy Bean November 21, 2011 at 03:53 AM
You are completely nuts, if you know any history about this country the Dems have been on the wrong side of all the Major issues such as Slavery and the Civil Rights Movement of the 50's and 60's and many many more. It must be true Ignorance is Bliss.
Roy Bean November 21, 2011 at 03:58 AM
LIBERLISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER. You are living proof :=0
Roy Bean November 21, 2011 at 03:59 AM
LIBERLISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER. You are living proof :=0
Roy Bean November 21, 2011 at 04:00 AM
LIBERLISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER. You are living proof :=0


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