“Last week, chef (and great man) Mario Batali challenged me to raise awareness and money for the NYC Food Bank by trying to live on $29 dollars for the week (what low income families on SNAP are trying to survive on),” the 42-year-old actress wrote on GOOP. “Dubious that I could complete the week, I donated to the Food Bank at the outset, and all of us at the goop office began the challenge.”
Though she got a good start buying things like avocados, bagged brown rice and frozen black beans (for only $24.40), Paltrow admits she couldn’t last.
This is what $29 gets you at the grocery store—what families on SNAP (i.e. food stamps) have to live on for a week. pic.twitter.com/OZMPA3nxij
— Gwyneth Paltrow (@GwynethPaltrow) April 9, 2015
“As I suspected, we only made it through about four days, when I personally broke and had some chicken and fresh vegetables (and in full transparency, half a bag of black licorice),” she reveals, before adding. “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.”
Paltrow continues, noting the major issue of gender equality in the work force. “After trying to complete this challenge (I would give myself a C-), I am even more outraged that there is still not equal pay in the workplace,” she expresses. “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.”
After adding some statistics about the wage gap and reminding everyone that the NY Food Bank provides more than 63 million free meals a year to New Yorkers in need, she concludes: “I know hunger doesn’t always touch us all directly—but it does touch us all indirectly. After this week, I am even more grateful that I am able to provide high-quality food for my kids. Let’s all do what we can to make this a basic human right and not a privilege.”