California Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier has announced that for a week, she will attempt to live on the same amount of money allotted to recipients of SNAP, the California food stamp program. San Francisco's Channel 7 news reports that SNAP (which stands for Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) provided $136.75 per person each month during fiscal year 2010, which breaks down to a food budget of $4.50 per day.

Rep. Speier, who represents San Francisco and San Mateo, is adopting a food budget shared by some 3.6 million Californians who rely on SNAP for food assistance. SNAP funds can be used to pay for breads and cereals, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables, but not items like alcohol, cigarettes, or other tobacco products.

Channel 7 quotes the Congresswoman's office as saying that "with the poverty rate in the U.S. at a historic high of over 15 percent, she wants to experience firsthand how a growing number of Americans are forced to live in this tough economy." Speier has assembled a group in the community to participate in the challenge, which will run for five days. Staff and students at California's Occidental College have announced that they will also be adopting the same $4.50 per day budget for the week.

(Photo by Montauk Beach via Flikr Commons)