Second Harvest Community Food Bank Blog
Director of Marketing Takes SNAP Challenge
by Stacy Neibling Fisher, Director of Marketing
As the director of marketing at Second Harvest Community Food Bank, I’ve watched as my friends and colleagues have taken part in the SNAP (formerly food stamp) Challenge. This year, I felt it was my duty to take part so I could get a better idea of what living on a food stamp budget might feel like. I know the Challenge won’t be easy, but that’s the point. It’s not supposed to be a vacation.
Yesterday was my first day of the SNAP Challenge. Although I knew I was starting my Challenge yesterday, I didn’t take the time to prepare that I should have. I’m not a planner when it comes to meals. My husband and I work odd hours, so most nights we go out to eat. Obviously, this wasn’t an option yesterday, so I trekked to the grocery store. Like I said, I’m not a planner, so I had no idea where to start when I got to the store. I knew I only had $4.50 a day ($22.50 for five days) to spend, so I had my calculator in my hand as I went up and down each aisle. After an hour search, I settled on the following: peanut butter, a loaf of bread, canned black beans and red beans, beans and weenies, apples, an onion, tortillas, spaghetti sauce, noodles and taco sauce. I ended up spending $17.36. That leaves $4.84 in case of an emergency. (*Please note my receipt shows I spent $19.86. This price includes my purchase of plastic baggies. I would not be able to purchase these items with food stamps, so I removed it from my totals.)
Yesterday's meals consisted of a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and spaghetti for dinner with an apple for dessert. Tday I plan on taking leftover spaghetti for my lunch and I’m hoping to use the black beans, onion, taco sauce and tortillas to create a burrito.
So far, my Challenge has been just that…a challenge. I normally rush through my day and rush through my meals. Today, I couldn’t rush. Also, I don’t normally pay attention to the price tags at the store. Today I had to watch the prices or I would have gone over my $22.50 budget. I put many items back on the shelves because I couldn’t afford them. These items included: strawberries, apple sauce and lettuce.
I’m afraid of what the next several days will hold. I’m worried I won’t get the nutrition I need due to the lack of fruit that I normally include in my diet. I’m recovering from an illness, so my light meals are already messing with my strength, not to mention my blood sugar levels. Despite my fears, I move forward with hope that I’ll better understand what it’s like to try to live on a food stamp budget.
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