By Jana Kasperkevic
If she was true to her word, Gwyneth Paltrow should be finishing up her food stamp challenge having spent a week trying to survive on $29 worth of food.
Alana Folsom, a twentysomething graduate student, knows something about trying to live on food stamps. One of the so-called millennials, Folsom took an unpaid internship fresh out of college in 2012 and had to rely on food stamps to help supplement her income.
Currently enrolled in graduate school at Oregon State University, Folsom is making do with $800 a month.
“Our stipend just prevents us from being able to apply for food stamps, which is something that a lot of people in my program are upset about because we are living on $800 a month, which is really untenable,” she said, adding that cost of living in Oregon is lower than that of Massachusetts, where she lived in 2012. “Even so, a lot of people are living off student loans, burying themselves in debt or getting money from their parents.”
Back in Boston, she was making about $600 a month working as a dishwasher and server on weekends. The pay barely covered her rent.
“I was following my dreams, which I realized really quickly I could not afford to do. I was working as an intern at the Boston Review [during the week] and was unpaid. I was eating through my savings and applied [for food stamps] because I realized that I was not going to be able to continue pay rent and be able to buy food at the same time,” she said. It was actually Boston Review that had suggested she apply. “I guess other interns they had in the past had done it.”