The Best Hollywood Attempts to Tackle Poverty
Poverty. It plagues our world, and can be found in both urban environments, and the most rural of landscapes. No country escapes poverty, though some do a better job of addressing it. The need for choosing organic options over pesticide-ridden and toxin-laden supermarket staples in my past two articles. For many, eating healthy is not an option, many are priced out — as the adage goes, “Whole Foods equals whole check.” Food is the source of life, and low-income families face a stark disadvantage.
Last week, Gwyneth Paltrow took on Mario Batali’s #FoodBankNYCChallenge to live on a food stamp budget of $29 for one week according to Huffington Post contributor Beth Markley. Almost immediately, critics determined that Gwyneth’s grocery haul fell short of a sustainable and healthy caloric intake leaving many to wonder what could possibly be done with seven limes.
As Markley indicates, the act of surviving for a week on $29 fails to illustrate the true plight of low-income families in the United States. According to University of Washington researchers, millions of Americans face difficulty affording healthy choices. While it is advised that we eat fish two or three times a week, many consumers could spend most of a paycheck at the fish counter, and that situation is likely to worsen. The cost of fish is just one example of the many that we take for granted — ripe, juicy tomatoes, avocados, hormone free chicken, preservative free beans — we fail to recognize that for many eating well is not an option.
Perhaps Gwyneth received criticism for her ‘attempt’ to put herself in the shoes of the underprivileged. Maybe she won’t transform into someone else from eating kale, black beans, and limes for a week, as Markley asserts. Neither will poverty cease nor will living on $29 a week ever be sustainable. But just as the ALS ice bucket challenge sought to engage an audience, the#FoodBankNYCChallenge has initiated a conversation about the daily challenges faced by Americans.