LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC)– Could you live on $5 of food per day?

A group of elected and non-profit leaders from Montgomery County, led by Councilmember Valerie Ervin, met at a Giant Food in Rockville Monday morning to find out how they’ll fare doing just that.

The challenge, dubbed SNAP the Silence, is meant to show participants what life is like for those receiving help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as the Food Stamps Program.

“We all know how expensive it is to live in Montgomery County,” Ervin said. “What many people may not know is how many working families struggle to put food on the table every day. The current economic crisis has forced more people than ever to ask for public assistance. This experience will give all of us a better understanding of what so many people in our nation—and many in our county—go through on a daily basis.”

According to the County’s Department of Health and Human Services, almost 27,000 Montgomery households were on SNAP assistance in fiscal year 2012, a 138 percent increase from fiscal year 2007.

Challenge participants are being asked to keep track of the food they eat each day and keep a diary of how they’re feeling throughout the week. They will meet to discuss their experiences at a community engagement event on the topic of poverty, slated to begin at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Civic Building in Silver Spring.

Some of the participants arrived with coupons and prepared lists Monday but still found the shopping difficult, 99.1 WNEW Karen Adams reports.

“It’s not easy… you have to make choices about health and nutrition as well,” said Superintendent of Schools Joshua Starr.

Around 33 percent of Montgomery County children are living in poverty, and Starr is participating to bring attention to the issue, he said.

The list of SNAP the Silence Challenge participants also includes County Councilmember Nancy Floreen, Board of Education President Chris Barclay, Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin, Impact Silver Spring executive director Ronnie Galvin and representatives from Maryland Hunger Solutions.

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WNEW’s Karen Adams contributed to this report. Follow him on Twitter.


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