Second Harvest Community Food Bank Blog
Tamara Grubb - My SNAP Challenge
by Tamara Grubb, Director of Operations
This is my second opportunity to take part in the SNAP Challenge. There is no way to truly understand what is it like for low-income families, however this Challenge helps to put in perspective what it is like for those families who struggle to put food on the table.
I went to the grocery store on Saturday and spent nearly 45 minutes shopping to walk out with, what I hope will last for 21 meals. My budget was $31.50 and I spent $29.61. I have $1.86 to spare. I usually go to the store with a list and a budget, but admittedly, my budget usually isn’t so little. I can pick up things that are not on my list, I can buy the brands I like, without looking at the cost. I hardly ever have so few groceries that I can go down the 20 items or less aisle.
Sunday was the first day of my Challenge. In the morning I started out with orange juice, yogurt, slice of toast and an apple. I am a huge Greek yogurt fan and love the different flavored varieties, but I opted to buy a large container of vanilla because it was less expensive than buying the individual containers. For lunch I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, some Pringles and an apple. I was busy yesterday afternoon and evening so I didn’t get home until about 8:00. I wanted to just grab some fast-food, but that wasn’t an option. My plan for dinner was to make chicken and rice with beans, corn and tomato sauce. (This is basically a home recipe for Spanish rice.) I usually buy instant rice, but it was more expensive than the regular rice. I decided not to make the chicken, because I didn’t want to wait for it to cook. I started the rice at about 8:15 and at 9:00 it appeared ready! I was so excited, it is one of my favorite things to cook, but I am the only one at the house who likes it. I took a bite and it was crunchy. Yes crunchy, the rice was not cooked in the middle. I started searching online “what to do when your rice is still hard” and tried all the tricks. One of them said, “Throw it out and start over”. That was not an option! Finally, at 10:00 I tried it again and it was still crunchy. I was planning for the Spanish rice to be at least 5 of my meals for the week. At about 10:15 I ate a bowl of it because I was so hungry. The rest, sadly, had to be thrown away. By the end, much of it was scorched and burned.
How many times do we make a new recipe and toss it because it didn’t turn out right or we didn’t like it? Do you burn something and ruin your dinner? Or make crunchy rice? What if that is all you had to eat for the week? I am now even more worried that I may not have enough food for the week.
Now on day two of the Challenge, I had yogurt and orange juice for breakfast. I wanted to save my apples and bread for another meal. For lunch, I have packed my sandwich, chips and an apple. One big thing missing is caffeine. I usually drink at least two cans of soda a day, and I am on day two of none. I am hopeful that my dinner will turn out for tonight. Once again I have plans this evening so I will be cooking after 8:00 p.m.
If you'd like'd like to take the Challenge, visit our website for details.
Comment by Tamara Grubb on September 18, 2013 - 01:54 PM
Thank you for commenting, Terri. I know that this challenge does not compare to what you face on a daily basis. I hope that more people will get involved to better understand what is happening in our community. The work Second Harvest does is a sign of hope and that we will do what we can to build hunger-free communities.
Comment by Terri on September 16, 2013 - 04:36 PM
For me this is reality; not a one week challenge game. If it were not for Second Harvest and Food Pantries, I don't know how we would survive. Thank you for your efforts to make others aware of our plight.
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