Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Hunger Challenge Debate

I read a post on BlogHer about the SF Food Bank's Hunger Challenge last week. Several different bloggers participated in the challenge, which was to eat on $4 per person/day. Apparently that is about what people who are receiving food stamps have to spend on groceries.

After reading some of the posts about getting by on bean and cheese burritos with not enough money for fruits and vegetables, I started to wonder if I could feed my family on the Hunger Challenge amount. Let's see: $4 per person (we have 5)/day works out to $20/day...or $560 per month! In 2008, the maximum a family of 5 could receive in food stamps was $698!

I was shocked because my food budget is less than that...by more than $100/month. So while it is difficult to hand someone a $5 bill and say "This is all the money you have to buy food with today", if you look at the bigger picture, it's not that hard to eat (and actually eat well) on such a "small" amount.

One blogger who got it right is Kimberly from PoorGirlEatsWell. I like the way that she makes her food as appealing as possible, because that always makes it taste better. She also uses what she has on hand instead of running to the store for an ounce of some obscure spice that you'll never use again. I'm definitely going to check out her blog for some inspiration as I prepare my weekly meal plans.

The main point of the Hunger Challenge was made clear: there are people who are on food stamps who don't have the luxury of eating whatever they want. They long to be able to buy a cupcake at the corner bakery or even something from a drive-thru. With every bite they take, they are keenly aware that their bounty is steadily dwindling and the cupboard may be completely bare before they are able to get more assistance or find another job. Those of us who are blessed with full cupboards should be moved to share with those whose pantries are empty.

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