Food Stamp Challenge – Get Ready…
For the next week or so, I’m shifting gears somewhat to blog about my experience participating in the Food Stamp Challenge as an assignment for my Community Nutrition class. After some googling, it seems the idea for the Challenge came out of Philadelphia in 2006, when the greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger asked local residents to commit to living on the amount of the average food stamp benefit: $1 per meal, or $21 dollars per week. Since then, various other organizations (including members of congress) have publicized their experiences participating in the challenge as well (check out a recent one that I really likedhere )
For our assignment, we will be doing an abbreviated version of the challenge; starting Monday, I will be living on $15 worth of food for five days. I have already learned quite a bit from reading about the experiences of those before me; I look forward (with, i’ll be honest, quite a bit of trepidation) to learning from my own experience what it’s like to have to rely on food stamps to feed myself.
Today I planned my menu:
Protein: black beans, eggs, peanut butter
Starch: Brown rice, wheat bread, oatmeal
Dairy: 1% milk
Produce: bananas, 1 orange, 1 apple, spinach, carrots
I haven’t yet gone to the store to price these items, so I may not be able to afford everything. I can assure you, however, there is no room in my budget for certain items I consume daily: Diet Coke, Coffee, Splenda, Chobani yogurts or Clif bars. Furthermore, flavor enhancers (salt, pepper, garlic, etc) are out. $15 dollars seems it will just about buy you enough food to keep from going hungry, without much room for pleasurable extras.
Here’s my timeline:
Saturday/Sunday: shopping, comparing prices, finalizing my shopping list
Monday: Day 1 – no school, no work
Tuesday: Day 2 – AM run, no school, no work
Wednesday: Day 3 – no school, work in the evening
Thursday: Day 4 – AM run, school (2 exams), no work
Friday: Day 5 – no school, work 8-4
Three days off for Rosh Hashanah will make it easier to focus on what I’m doing without jeopardizing my schoolwork too much; it’s a slight copout to do this on a week with only one day of school, I know, but I don’t doubt the moral of the story will stay the same.