Commissioner Ken Lawrence on Hunger Issue Experiment: ‘You Can’t Eat Well on $4.75 a Day’

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Attendees at a recent forum at Salem Baptist Church, Abington, discussed the county's hunger issue.

A recent event to highlight the hunger issue in Montgomery County yielded a startling first-hand account from County Commissioner Ken Lawrence, Jr. Rachel Ravinia captured his admission, revealed at a Salem Baptist Church forum in Abington, in The Reporter.

Lawrence spoke of a 2017 “food stamp” challenge that asked him to spend no more than $5 for his daily sustenance — the value of the allotment an assistance recipient generally receives per day.

“The first thing I learned,” Lawrence said, “was that you can’t eat well on $4.75 a day.”

He went onto describe feeling hunger for the first time in his life — and its associated physical pain.

His insight was offered at the food-insecurity forum held at Salem Baptist Church. It was selected to host the event because of its proximity to a new food pantry in Montgomery County.

The issue seems sometimes hidden and often insidious.

It’s little known, for instance, that 6.1 percent of residents live below the poverty line.

And better known but just as vexing is the chain of recent, local inhibitors affecting the issue:

  • COVID-19
  • Supply-chain delays
  • Hurricane Ida
  • Recessionary economics

MontCo Anti-Hunger Network Executive Director Amanda Musselman, also in attendance at the church gathering, said local financial pressures areawide are an ongoing concern. They raise the number of families in need and tamp down donor resources with which to respond.

“Unfortunately that dollar doesn’t stretch as far as it used to,” she said.

More on the Montgomery County hunger discussion at Salem Baptist Church is at The Reporter.

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