What a Challenge!

ImageBy Gwen Guerke, Communications Coordinator

 OK. The SNAP Challenge starts tomorrow, and speaking for myself, maybe the word “challenge” should be capitalized, at the very least emphasized.

As part of Hunger Action Month and to better understand the daily struggles of low-income Americans, Food Bank of Delaware staff and supporters will participate in a week-long Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) challenge.

Throughout the week participants are required to live off a daily food budget of $4.50. This value represents an approximation of the national average SNAP benefit per person per week.

Maybe I’ve been over planning, but I have obviously done more thinking/research than doing. No special trip to the grocery store for me. Yet!

While some of my co-workers thought their challenge might be cooking at home,  I didn’t think that would be mine.

Wrong again! My usual routine this time of year is to visit the Riverwalk Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning, then prepare my own meals with fresh vegetables and fruit.

The vendors don’t provide receipts, but I knew I could write down the purchase price.

Last Saturday, I realized that I was probably spending more than I thought, plus some friends with gardens generously donated some items that must be calculated into the spending equation.

Now factor in a social life that’s coincidentally developing:  working dinner with a friend on Friday evening, lunch and dinner with friends on Saturday, then perhaps the beach on Sunday. I know that Tuesday evening, I won’t be at home either. So it goes. I will journal these exceptions.

Another co-worker wondered about coffee, i.e. give it up or drink very cheap coffee.  I don’t drink a lot of coffee, but one cup a day could cost close to $4.25. I’ll talk about that challenge in another blog!

Even though SNAP benefits are intended to supplement an existing food budget, behind the SNAP Challenge is the practical reality that many recipients do not have additional money for food. In Delaware, the average benefit is actually closer to $4.25 per person per day.

Be on the look out for more SNAP challenge experiences in the coming days from myself and other paticipants!



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Filed under Advocate, Hunger

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