SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - It's called the SNAP challenge. 22News shows us how the Health and Human Services boss is feeding his family for a week.
$31.50 a week. That's what a person in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program gets on average for food a week. Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz and his wife were shopping for their family of three on that budget, about $90 for a week at SAVE-A-LOT on Liberty Street in Springfield.
"We wanted to put ourselves in other people's shoes for a little while," said Kathleen Polanowicz, wife of the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
SNAP benefits are federally funded. They can be redeemed on an EBT Card, but SNAP benefits are not the same as state funded cash assistance. SNAP benefits can only be used in a grocery store for specific items.
"One of the things that surprised me is that we ran out of soap, you can't add soap to this shopping list because its not covered by SNAP," said Kathleen Polanowicz.
The Division of Transitional Assistance (DTA) oversees the SNAP program and the entire welfare program for the state. This week Secretary Polanowicz appointed Interim Commissioner Stacy Monahan to the permanent post. He told 22News he's already seeing results for this often criticized program.
"We finally have someone who gets it that we provide these programs to those who need it, but use the public resource, yours and my tax dollars in the appropriate way," said John Polanowicz, Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary.
The final tally for the Polanowicz family; a little more than $50. Well under budget. Secretary Polanowicz told 22News he was nervous about going over budget and will likely make another trip to the grocery store later in the week.