Living the Poverty Diet Experience

This week, Several dozen Charlottesville residents spent three days eating below the poverty line, living on two dollars and eighty-three cents a day for food. That’s the average amount that a recipient of food stamps to spend.

Michael Strickland is a junior at Charlottesville High School who took part in the Poverty Diet Experience, a project put together by the Monticello Area Community Action Agency to raise awareness of issues of poverty. Michael kept an audio diary of his experiences, which we bring you here. His monologue lasts for about ten minutes, and then features comments from Carol and Leonard Lohman, who talk about how they were able to stay under a budget of $17 dollars for three days. Charlottesville Delegate David Toscano also talks about what he learned.

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6 Replies to “Living the Poverty Diet Experience”

  1. i think this is so wonderful.
    michael,you are an amazing person.
    i’m looking into doing something like this at my school…
    but i’m not sure how to exactly.

  2. Many of the youth of America today are completely out of touch as far as understanding money issues, our invisible caste system, and lifestyles of the not rich and famous. It is clear that context plays a significant role in this problem. A young person raised in a nice suburb surrounded by manicured lawns and hip and modern soccer moms out walking in their two-piece velour pant suits between yoga and tennis will simply be unable to easily grasp the concept that not everyone shops at the mall and not every family has a Christmas that would have the Editors of Better Homes and Gardens salivating. Is it the child’s fault? Probably not. Children must learn about our society…all contributing facets of our society. I am impressed to read about young people engaging in the “poverty diet.” I hope that they are able to garnish the same sense of gratitude, motivation, and empathy as perhaps a person who visits another country and braves the forboding conditions before returning to America and for the first time, appreciating that they can frolic on their imported bamboo floors, go to college and be able to pursue studies enabling them to avoid situations in which means are modest and stress is high.
    -Inventing Matilda

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