Tag Archives: SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge

SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge: the menu

snap_logoThat’s right. The menu. One menu for the seven days.

Two major factors contribute to this. First, I am not terribly creative in the kitchen. Second, it made shopping easier.

That said, here is the menu:

Breakfast

  • One egg
  • Three slices of turkey bacon
  • An English muffin (for 6 days – a decision lies ahead on Saturday)

Lunch

  • Two peanut butter sandwiches

Dinner

  • About three ounces of ground turkey (one 20 ounce package divided into seven servings)
  • 1/2 cup of black beans
  • One slice of American cheese
  • 2/3 of a cup of low sodium spicy V-8

That will leave me five eggs and 9 slices of cheese to add over the week.

Water will be the beverage – beyond the V-8

This is not a balanced diet. I know that. I recognize many of the issues with it.

The amount of money to spend imposes limits, but I could also consider nutritional factors more carefully. That I do not have to do so for a week is yet another privilege.

See you along the Trail.

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SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge day 1: privilege

snap_logoI recognize that the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge is an exercise. In no way does it truly mirror the experience of my sisters and brothers for whom poverty is a daily reality.

Hopefully it may make me a little more aware of that reality. It may lead to conversations about why people are poor. It may result in reflections on the folly of cutting SNAP benefits, further shredding the safety net. It may encourage advocacy to address the cuts.

But I have privileges that most people who use food stamps regularly do not have. I mentioned several of them in my first post on the Challenge. Even as I wrote those words, I knew that I would encounter other privileges during the course of this week.

I had not expected to do so by 9:10 AM on the Challenge’s first day.

I was scheduled to preach at the First Presbyterian Church of Whitestone. This involved taking the 1 Train to Penn Station and then taking the Long Island Railroad to the Murray Hill Station.  Not everyone could afford to do that, I realized before the day began. That was not the privilege that surprised me.

I played around on the computer (which not everyone has) for too long and found myself running late. I quickly chose to take a cab.  I could do that because I have the financial resources to do so – resources that others do not have.

That’s not really I learning. I knew that people with limited incomes face challenges that I do not. It’s a reminder of something I already know. And it’s

There will be more.

See you along the Trail.

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SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge: shopping

snap_logoI purchased the food for my week on the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge. I used $33.55 of a $34.40 budget.

Ten early observations:

  1. In no way does this match the reality of people who live day after day, week after week, month after month, on low incomes. This is a controlled exercise and witness. Hopefully it will allow me to develop a deeper understanding of the realities faced by my brothers and sisters and of the privileges that I have.
  2. I have a safe place to live. access to a well-functioning refrigerator, freezer, and stove. I have more cooking utensils, pots, and pans that I know how to use.
  3. I do not have to worry about juggling my food expenses with other expenses.
  4. Shopping took far longer than usual. I paid much closer attention to price while trying to take nutritional data into account.
  5. I will eat essentially the same menu every day during the week. That is a function  of my lack of imagination in the kitchen but also the reality of the costs. Food is cheaper in bulk. But when I spent $8.00 on ground turkey, I did not have funds to buy the turkey filet I considered. The ground turkey will make 7 meals.
  6. Looking at the nutritional value, I will consume more carbohydrates and fat than I usually do. In part, that is because I try to restrict carbs and fats. It is also the case, as I suspected, that less expensive foods have more fats and carbs.
  7. There will not be many fruits and vegetables. Several factors enter here. Cost. Where I shopped. I did not go to a farmers’ market. My preferences also played a role. Recognizing the environmental impact does have me wondering about reducing my consumption of meat. That is something I need to consider in the future.
  8. There will be no caffeine unless I find coffee in situations where people who use food stamps can also freely access the coffee. That has me wondering – we have coffee on at the office. Anyone who comes in is allowed to drink the coffee. But how likely are people who use food stamps able to get to our office. I have to work this through some more before Monday.
  9.  Preparing for the challenge has reminded me of how much food and eating is involved in my work. I have already had to reschedule two meetings so they did not involve meals. That’s a luxury that many of my sisters and brothers do not have.
  10. There will be much to learn during this week. I hope I am wise enough and open enough to learn.

See you along the Trail.

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