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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Snap Challenge - Are You Game?


Bob and I have agreed to accept the SNAP Challenge, and for one week, beginning the 1st of January, we intend to prepare all our meals on a food stamp budget. We would like you to consider joining us. This is not a stunt or political statement. We both want to see if we can eat in a reasonably healthy fashion on a budget set at approximately $30 per person per week. The exact allotment depends on geographic location and those of you who are curious can find more specific information, here.

Why participate? The SNAP Challenge gives participants a view of the struggle to obtain adequate food that is faced by millions of low-income Americans. By living on the average food stamp benefit, Challenge participants find themselves forced to make food shopping choices on a limited budget, and learn how difficult it is to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods, and stay healthy without adequate resources. While living on a food stamp budget for just a week cannot come close to the struggles encountered by low income families week after week and month after month, it does provide those who take the Challenge with a new perspective and greater understanding of what it is like to live on a limited budget. It is a rare opportunity to walk in someone else's shoes.

To date, hundreds of people have accepted the challenge and educated themselves and their communities about the SNAP program. They have bolstered the public's understanding of the program and helped create new anti-hunger advocates. As a food blogger, my intent is to develop nutritious menus and recipes within the allotted budget and to share the results of the process with you. Come the 1st of January I'll be posting about the process every day. If you'd like to join in, I can set up some type of link process so my readers can also see what you are doing. There are some guidelines and I'm posting them tonight because they will require a bit foresight and advance planning.

Challenge Guidelines
1) Each person should spend a set amount for food and beverages during the Challenge week based on Federal guidelines.
2) All food purchased and eaten during the Challenge week, including fast food and dining out, must be included in the total spending.
3) During the Challenge, only eat food that you purchase for the project. Do not eat food that you already own (this does not include spices and condiments).
4) Avoid accepting free food from friends, family, or at work, including at receptions, briefings, or other events where food is served.
5) Keep track of receipts on food spending and take note of your experiences throughout the week.
6) Invite others to join you, including co-workers, reporters, chefs, or other elected officials.


13 comments:

Rebecca @ Belle Blog said...

It must vary by state...here in Connecticut for 2 people SNAP gives you $367 / month. I'd like to try this... sounds like a chanllenge.

Rebecca♥

Kim Garceau said...

Looks like a real challenge. But I think, sometimes its necessary to see how people struggle to eat to appreciate what we have and how lucky we are!

Alicia said...

Sounds like a wonderful challenge! It will be interesting to see what recipes you come up with.

Ginny said...

I will be very interested to see what meals you make.

sheherazahde said...

As a recipient of SNAP I applaud your effort to bring attention to this challenge. As a single woman living in New York I receive $200 a month for food. So that is closer to $50 than $30. Snap can not be used to purchase hot food so it can not be used in restaurants. Or to buy those hot roast chickens in grocery stores. But can be used to buy cold sandwiches at the grocery deli. You also can not buy any beer or alcohol with SNAP. Carrots, celery, onions, beans, flour, and chicken leg quarters can be be used in a lot of ways if you are creative with your spicing. I'm lucky I can cook. Sales on hams and ground beef add variety. As a general rule I don't buy meat for anything more than $1.99/lb.

Jamie Lynn Gadson said...

Thank you so much for doing this:-) my family of three are on Snap right now and we try to make it work all month but by the end of the month I am down to noodles and sometimes fish and tuna. It is hard but we manage. I am glad you are going to "try" it. I can't wait to see your recipes, hopefully they will help me at the end of the month.

Alessandra said...

Good challenge, with a bit of planning I am sure that you can anyone can make wonders on a budget, especially you Mary (even without planning probably!) :-).

Ciao
Alessandra

Cindy@NorthofWiarton said...

Mary would there be a chart for Canadians to follow so I could participate or the SNAP challenge is only in the US? Sounds like you and Bob are going to have fun with this challenge. Thank you in advance and wishing you a great day.

Dorine King said...

I LOVE this challenge! I checked the listing and for the State of Minnesota it will be about $230 a month for the two of us. Gosh! I spend about that much per week! I had a fire at my house last summer and am still living in a hotel which supplies breakfast and a light dinner so this is not a good time for me to try this. However, I will be saving this information and will be trying this later on, when I am back in my home. I have also recently retired from my corporate day job and will be working my Feng Shui business full time (once I am back in my home). Part of my business will be volunteering at Second Harvest Heartland. I am looking forward to this challenge and to the upcoming New Year.

Pamela Joy said...

I have been ' disabled ' for almost 20 years, and live on a fixed budget from SSDI. I do not qualify for food stamps, here in Florida you have to have an income of less than 650 dollars a month to qualify for foodstamps or medicade for one person. It is ironic though that I do not qualify for low income housing because my income is too low though I pay more rent than the rents at the low income housing. ;) I buy my fruit and veggies at the local fruit and veggie stands, and make my food from scratch , I eat little meat, and when I do it is chicken and fish and buy them on sale and eat them more as a condiment than how most 'AMERICAN'S' Think of animal products. I am looking forward to seeing what meals you make!

Susan Lindquist said...

Mary ... this is really a diffcult challenge. When I first started The Spice Garden, I ranted on the 'foodstamp budget' and how hard it is to live on the weekly allotment ... SB and I tried it for a week ... what an eye opener. If not for our 'set aside' things, we would have been unable to have the level of fruits and veg that we feel we need for good nutrition. I will be so curious to see how folks make out ... a lot of beans and basics is what we lived on.

G Kobayashi said...

I just started a blog also about SNAP challenge. I've decided not to begin the challenge until I have at least 3/4 of my existing foods cooked and eaten. There are 2 us and I elected $5 per day for both of us. I may need to go up to the suggested $4 per person which is $8 total per day. I have a friend who is single and gets $150 per month. It's a struggle for her for sure. Wish us luck!

Keeley said...

This is awesome. I look forward to reading about your experience.

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