A Southern California assemblyman announced Friday he and his family will live off a monthly food budget just over $500 to prove a lack of healthy food in his district.
Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson, his wife and one of his sons will follow the monthly CalFresh food budget by the LA County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) of $511 for a family of three.
"Not only am I taking this challenge to shed light on poverty and hunger and disease in my community, but also to draw attention to the food desert in this community. Low-income residents have little or no access to healthy food," Gipson said at Friday morning news conference outside of a Compton grocery store.
The DPSS along with the community are set to launch "CalFresh Awareness Month" in May as "an effort to increase access to food assistance and promote healthier food choices in the County of LA," according to a news release from Gipson's office.
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During his announcement, the Carson resident noted that his district reportedly ranks sixth in poverty in the state, and that families have to make tough decisions regarding where and how they will spend their money.
"(Families) have to make decisions in order to pay rent or to eat on a regular basis," he said. "Something is wrong with that picture."
Gipson and his family shopped together after the announcement, buying healthy foods including fruits and vegetables. They stayed under the weekly $127.75 budget, spending $97.04.
"The people that do have a budget, I can just imagine how strenuous it may be on those families, trying to meet the needs of those families on such a small budget, said Gipson's wife LeCresha. "However, I'm up to the challenge to see what it is and how to budget such a small amount in order to feed your family for a full week."