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Secretary Polanowicz with wife Kathleen, shopping for groceries at the Springfield Save-A-Lot

Secretary John Polanowicz kicked off the SNAP Challenge this week with a shopping trip at Save-A-Lot in Sprinfield to highlight the importance of this benefit as a front line defense against hunger. The Secretary is joining his family, Congressman James McGovern, Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Stacey Monahan, Senator Jamie Eldridge and participants across the country in taking the challenge from June 13-19. Participants must live on a total food budget of $31.50 for the week, or the average, per-person federal SNAP benefit.

“While living on a food stamp budget for just a week cannot come close to the struggles encountered by low income families week after week, and month after month, it does provide those who take the challenge with a new perspective and greater understanding,” said Secretary Polanowicz.

 The challenge is designed to highlight the importance of the federal SNAP program as a front line defense against food insecurity. It culminates with a screening of the documentary, “A Place at the Table,” on June 19 at the State House. The screening is co-hosted by the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. 

In the Commonwealth, one in seven people are served through the Department of Transitional Assistance’s programs that provide access to critical food and cash assistance to help  families meet their basic needs. Of the nearly 900,000 residents throughout the Commonwealth receiving DTA services, the majority of clients are SNAP clients.

Stacey Monahan Shop Meat
DTA Commissioner Monahan shopping for groceries at the Chelsea Market Basket

 “The average benefit for a client, at just $31.50 a week, $4.50 a day, or $1.50 a meal, is a modest benefit that helps to provide a bridge to stability during difficult times,” said DTA Commissioner Monahan, who shopped at the Market Basket in Chelsea. “We need to protect those benefits for those who truly need them.”

"I am proud to join the SNAP Challenge with Secretary Polanowicz, Congressman McGovern and DTA Commissioner Monahan as part of a national effort to highlight the importance of nutritional assistance programs and hunger prevention," said Senator Eldridge. "Living on $31.50 for a week pales in comparison to the barriers families across Massachusetts face every day and I am hopeful that participating in the SNAP Challenge will raise awareness of the long-term challenges of living on a food stamp budget."

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