The Newark mayor and the tweeter, a 39-year-old mother from North Carolina, have agreed to take part in an attempt to eat only what they can purchase using the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (or SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps.
The plan is set to go down December 4 through 11, and Booker plans to document his efforts on various social media platforms.
According to the USDA, more than 47 million Americans rely on food stamps--a benefit of $133 a month per person--a number that has grown since the start of the 2008 economic crisis.
Like many of Booker's exploits, it began with a tweet.
"An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics" Plutarch ancient Greek historian (c. 46 – 120 CE)— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 19, 2012
In the back and forth that followed, Booker fielded accusations of an intent to redistribute wealth.
How'd u get there?What does that really mean?When poor kids get an education we're all wealthier RT @a3vantage u want 2 redistribute wealth?— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 19, 2012
We pay 4 HUGE back end govt programs: prisons, police, etc. If we invested in Schools, nutrition, etc we'd save $ & create wealth @a3vantage— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 19, 2012
One tweeter, @MWadeNC, a self-described "Daughter of the American Revolution... Army Veteran, Army Daughter, Army wife," reportedly replied, "nutrition is not a responsibility of the government."
We have a shared responsibility that kids go to school nutritionally ready 2 learn RT @mwadenc nutrition is not responsibility of the gov't— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 19, 2012
"why is there a family today that is "too poor to afford breakfast"? are they not already receiving food stamps?" she replied (tweet protected).
The mayor reportedly saw this as a potential teaching moment.
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?@mwadenc— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 19, 2012
She replied "sure, Mayor, I'm game," and the #SNAPChallenge was born.
Been challenged by thoughtful people 2 go longer. I will & after Thanksgiving start MT @melmeyer23: Going to live on foodstamps 4 a wk?— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 20, 2012
Millions of employed hard working people do it everyday MT @jamespolite: I luv that ur doing the food stamp challenge.— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 20, 2012
I'm going 2 invite some 2 join RT @adimike55: If only others who don't share ur views on food stamps try & see what people have to do 2 live— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) November 20, 2012