You may have seen this tweet from actress Gwyneth Paltrow. The Hollywood star takes a stab against SNAP. Her intentions are obviously just, but she using the wrong map for the warpath.
She decided to head to the grocery store utilizing the allotment provided by SNAP (for what I’m assuming is a single person, or possibly a family of two). She tweeted, “This is what $29 gets you at the grocery store (for a week).” Yes, this picture of a few limes, kale, beans and eggs looks absolutely pitiful, and clearly would not provide anyone with enough nourishment for a week. But in her desire to shock, she tip-toes around the reality of a SNAP consumer. There refrigerators usually look better than us regular, non-SNAP, folks.
SNAP beneficiaries usually shop for the month. So multiply that $29 x 4 weeks, and you have nearly $120. I’ve spent a $165 on a family of five for one month, so $140 is enough for a family of 4 and under. She also choose to shop at Safeway. For those of you who don’t have this store in your town, Safeway is one of the more expensive grocers. It is not the first choice for a SNAP user; their products can be as much as 2-3x the price of products at Grocery Outlet or FoodCo.
The next glaringly problem is her selection of foods. Who shops like that?! There is absolutely no meat and no processed foods. Okay, so yes, her food selections are what we all should be eating. But it is not realistic for those on a strict food budget. For $120, I would have selected:
1. (1) Eggs (24-cartoon) – $7
2. (2) Gallons of Milk – $7-$8
3. (2) 5 lbs Ground Beef – $25
4. (5) Bags of Chicken Leg Quarters – $30
5. (4) Loaves of Bread – $8
6. (20) Cans of Veggies – $20-$25
7. (6) Bags of Beans – $6-$8
8. (4) Hot Dogs – $4
9. (2) Oatmeal – $3-$4
10. (1) Butter – $3
11. Extras like rice, ramen, juice, bananas, apples, etc. with the remaining budget
There are no extras here, no frills and thrills. But the basic nourishment for a family of 2 has definitely been fulfilled for a month.