7 Things We Learned From Gwyneth's Much-Criticized Week on Food Stamps

Dana Covit

Last week, leading lady of aspirational living, Gwyneth Paltrow, embarked on a challenge—assigned to her by friend and chef Mario Battali—to raise awareness and money for the Food Bank For New York City by trying to live on $29 dollars for one week (approximately what low income families on SNAP are trying to survive on). Paltrow was met with a firestorm of criticism after posting a photo on Twitter of what she purchased with her sparse allowance, and continues to be called out for a variety of offenses, including being out of touch. In addition to likely having the best intentions in mind when she set out to take on the challenge, Paltrow's attempts have certainly gotten us talking about the difficulties 47 million struggling Americans face every single day. Read on for seven things we learned from the whole affair.

  • First and foremost, that low income families on SNAP (i.e., food stamps) might only have $29 allotted to them to feed themselves and their families.
  • Vegetarian staples liked dried beans and rice go a long way, and can serve as bases for many meals.
  • There's power in failure. Paltrow admits to only making it until day 4 before she caved and ate outside of her SNAP haul. Of course, any other person who actually relies on food stamps would not have had this luxury.
  • Fresh produce, which figured heavily in Paltrow's shopping list, just wouldn't cut it for the real-life needs of families on SNAP. They wouldn't last long enough, or fill everyone up.
  • As many of us may have guessed, it is very difficult to feed a family (let alone one person) for an entire week, with only $29.
  • Despite the fact that her critics claim otherwise, Paltrow knows she didn't do the best job. "After trying to complete this challenge...I would give myself a C-," she admitted.
  • Success or failure, celebrities do have the power to bring awareness to a topic and incite a conversation (which may, down the line, incite change).

What did you think of the challenge? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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