Gwyneth Paltrow just cannot escape her haters—even when she’s trying to do some good.
Last Thursday, the 42-year-old actress took to Twitter to announce that she was accepting a challenge from The Food Bank of New York City to eat on the same budget as someone who receives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for one week. More commonly known as "food stamps," these benefits translate to a grocery budget of $29 per week or about $1.38 per meal for one person. It’s all part of the #FoodBankNYCChallenge campaign to show the dire impact proposed cuts to the program will have on people in need.
The Oscar winner was nominated by her good friend, celeb chef Mario Batali, who happens to be a board member of the Food Bank for New York City.
Along with her announcement, Paltrow tweeted a picture of what she purchased for $29: Kit Kats, a can of Cheese Whiz, some Double Stuf Oreos… Nah, we kid. You'll remember that Paltrow "would rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin."
The health-minded actress’s haul included brown rice, black beans, peas, eggs, tortillas, cilantro, a ton of fresh veggies, and inexplicably, an awful lot of limes. Paltrow wrote, "This is what $29 gets you at the grocery store—what families on SNAP (i.e. food stamps) have to live on for a week."
This is what $29 gets you at the grocery store—what families on SNAP (i.e. food stamps) have to live on for a week. pic.twitter.com/OZMPA3nxij
— Gwyneth Paltrow (@GwynethPaltrow) April 9, 2015
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The actress also tweeted that she was taking the challenge and “walking in their shoes to see how far we get.”
And that was when the piling-on began, as Twitter followers proceeded to eat Paltrow and her food plan for lunch, then spit ‘em out because of the bad taste. A small and unsavory sampling:
Vast difference living on food stamps for 1 week knowing you've a safetynet of millions, and that being your life every day @GwynethPaltrow
— THE SPIRITUAL SLOB (@spiritualslob) April 12, 2015
its so cool how celebs (gwyneth paltrow) can challenge themselves to live off a food stamp budget like its a game or something
— julianne knight (@jul_knight) April 12, 2015
— Zachary Fagenson (@ZachIsWeird) April 10, 2015
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Yep, only Paltrow could set off a firestorm over fresh produce.
Look, there are plenty of valid reasons to get on Patrow’s case. Remember her pontificating on the difficulties of being an actress and a mom, or waxing poetic about the benefits of a good vagina steam? And not only would she choose a crack pipe over Cheese Whiz, she'd prefer death over giving her kid a Cup-A-Soup.
The only valid criticism here comes from The Frisky's Rebecca Vipond Brink, who did the math and found that, with those groceries, Paltrow will be surviving on about 1,000 calories per day. "Nutritionally speaking, this is a vitamin bonanza," Brink writes. "But people who live on SNAP benefits don’t just have to get nutrients, they have to get actual calories, because they tend to have very physical lives, doing service labor and taking care of children and not necessarily being able to afford a car and so forth."
Still, is this really a food fight people should be picking? Paltrow may have her ridiculously out-of-touch moments, but this time, Paltrow really is using her platform for something positive—something that, ultimately, may benefit an awful lot of people. After all, we're talking about it now, aren't we? So cut her some slack. And if you really want to make a point, put down the iPhone and pull out some dollars for your local food bank.