How do you feed a family of four when you’re on a budget of $29 per week?
That’s the question the Food Bank for New York City would like to ask you. The organization raises awareness for those families who live paycheck-to-paycheck and on food stamps with a challenge system similar to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Last weekend, Gwyneth Paltrow began the week-long lifestyle after being challenged by her friend Mario Batali, during which she and three other people in her family must go one week with eating food bought from the grocery with a budget less than $30. The actress shared a picture of her shopping goodies last Sunday, which included lettuce, tomatoes, corn, eggs, beans, rice and a few other items.
Within four days after taking on the challenge, Paltrow was spotted at a pricey Los Angeles restaurant with friends. After admitting that she had cheated, Paltrow came out and admitted other things as well.
“My perspective has been forever altered by how difficult it was to eat wholesome, nutritious food on that budget, even for just a few days — a challenge that 47 million Americans face every day, week, and year,” she told E! News.
Despite the slams against her on Twitter regarding the choices she had made at the grocery store and that she and her family could not last one week on this budgeted meal, she took to her Twitter for a small speech, saying, “After trying to complete this challenge, I am even more outraged that there is still not equal pay in the workplace. Sorry to go on a tangent, but many hardworking mothers are being asked to do the impossible: Feed their families on a budget, which can only support food businesses that provide low-quality food. The food system in our beautiful country needs to be subjected to a heavy revision — it is a cyclical problem, with repercussions that we all feel. I’m not suggesting everyone eat organic food from some high horse in the sky. I’m saying everyone should be able to afford fresh, real food. And if women were paid an equal wage, families might have more of a choice in the grocery aisles, not to mention in the rest of their lives.”
Kerri Cheatham, a hospitality major, said, “Our society has become used to the idea of eating out that we don’t think about the price when it is easier in the moment. People never think about the long run or the fact that they are lucky enough to have the opportunity to eat at a restaurant.”
Erica Schiraldi, an elementary education, major said, “I think it’s awesome that she tried to put herself in the shoes of those families who are forced to live like that on those budgets. In today’s world, it’s extremely difficult to feed a family even as small as hers with that small option of money.”
After giving herself a C- minus in her effort, Paltrow succeeded by failing the Food Bank for New York City challenge by raising awareness for unequal pay for women and the struggle many families go through every day when faced with their own challenge of feeding their own families.