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Food Stamp Challenge – What I’ve Learned

Yesterdays Chicken Fried Rice was great. By mid-afternoon, I wished there was more. Chinese food does that to me. I baked chicken, carrots, bell pepper, onion and Italian dressing last night. I will add that to some rice for lunch today, another one of my cooking experiments.

I spent some time this afternoon talking with Aaron Smullin who joined the challenge the first week. He mentioned that it was difficult because he was always hungry and felt sluggish. We talked about how this is probably what many people feel when they do not have enough food. How hard it is to fight off a cold because your body does not have the resources to fight. It got me thinking about the families that are right on the edge of being able to feed their children. About the senior citizens that have to decide between food and the medications they need. About the child that goes to school hungry because the adult or adults in the family make just enough money to buy the necessities but not enough for the child to have breakfast every day.

One of the first things I learned about when I started at Second Harvest is about a food desert. A food desert is a location that is outside a set distance from the nearest grocery store. Second Harvest sits at the edge of a food desert in St. Joseph. One program we have is Harvest House, our on-site pantry. It provides fresh produce and dairy products to those in need. We also organize Backpack Buddies in 15 counties. This gives children an extra boost with food for the weekend. There are programs for senior citizens as well. We even have two employees who work with people of all ages throughout Missouri every day to help them obtain food stamps for themselves and their families.

Is this something I will do again? Yes, I am planning my next grocery trip already. I try to keep a tight rein on my grocery budget, but this has challenged me to keep a tighter rein on my spending habits. Not just with groceries but some of the other things I “think” I need in my life. I do not need to eat out as often. I can watch my budget on other things I think are important. I do know one thing I have had trouble dealing without this week – I need my chocolate!

Posted by Vicki Berg, Director of Finance and Administration - Thursday, 03/22/12, 09:10 AM - Comments - Category: Food Stamp Challenge 2012

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