Archive for September 2013

Both hope and despair depicted in Sophia Nahli Allison’s school photos

Both hope and despair depicted in Sophia Nahli Allison’s school photos
Most photographs of schools show children running, playing, seated in a classroom. But the Chicago Public Schools in Sophia Nahli Allison’s photographs are devoid of any life. The black-and-white images highlight the imposing, impersonal nature of school buildings, planted next to empty playgrounds and concrete stretches. That’s because what Allison’s photographs represent are not what... Read more »

SNAP Challenge week points up the politics around food

SNAP Challenge week points up the politics around food
Last week, The Chicago Reporter team looked at the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. I took on the SNAP Challenge, trying to eat for one week on the SNAP allotment for an individual—in Illinois that comes to $35 a week, or just $5 a day. The experience was excruciating,... Read more »

Take a ride on the Green-Line to compare shopping options

Does where you live determine how far you can stretch a dollar on groceries?

Photos by Latricia Polk and Michelle Kanaar.
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Restaurant worker relies on SNAP benefits to get by

Nataki Rhodes has worked in the restaurant industry for more than a decade. During those years, Rhodes has always earned the state’s minimum wage. Her paycheck isn’t enough to cover rent, utilities, school supplies and groceries for herself and her son. She relies on the $200 in food stamps she received each month to get... Read more »

One man's story of struggling, surviving on SNAP

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Thad Smith manages 26 hives in the backyard of a repurposed home on West Flournoy Street in Chicago’s West Side. Every day, he opens the hives up to check on the thousand or so bees. “This hive is always a little hostile,” the 47-year-old said while carefully lifting the lid off one wooden box. “You... Read more »

For SNAP recipients, coming policy changes could take them from bad to worse

For SNAP recipients, coming policy changes could take them from bad to worse
When more than 2 million SNAP recipients in Illinois have their Link card reloaded on Nov. 1, they may notice a difference. In particular, a difference in the amount of money on their card, which will be less. That’s because for the past four years, people depending on food assistance have been getting a temporary... Read more »
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Shopping on a SNAP budget takes time, energy

Shopping on a SNAP budget takes time, energy
I can’t really cook, but I can broil a mean salmon filet. So on the rare nights when I dine at home, it’s off to my neighborhood Whole Foods Market for fresh salmon. Add some leafy arugula for a big salad. But the $15 a pound for the fish, and $4 a box for the... Read more »

Make way for Ventra as technology, privatization displace CTA workers

Make way for Ventra as technology, privatization displace CTA workers
The Chicago Transit Authority came out with a big announcement one year ago: the flimsy, plastic transit cards Chicago had come to know, love, and find between the couch cushions would soon be no more. Instead, the CTA and Pace would be issuing a new fare system using personal bank-issued debit and credit cards. Chicago,... Read more »

Challenge for some, way of life for millions: Eating on $5 a day

He had just finished his toast when I dropped it on him. “Next week, I’m doing the SNAP Challenge!” I announced Friday morning over breakfast. The husband blinked. He hadn’t had his coffee yet. “The what?” The SNAP Challenge. SNAP, I explained, stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps. This... Read more »
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Food and justice: Taking up the SNAP Challenge

Food and justice: Taking up the SNAP Challenge
Food isn’t exactly the topic you’d expect to read about here. But more than you may think, it fits in with everything we cover at The Chicago Reporter. It’s an economic, it’s a justice and it’s certainly a social issue—all which we doggedly examine here. This week, food is much on your minds as we... Read more »