The last day of the FNS (Food Stamp) Challenge finally arrived. As did a migraine headache. Which ironically was helpful since it made me too nauseous to think about being hungry.
- 2 cups of coffee $0.26
- Lemon luna bar – $1.29
- 6 saltine crackers (to settle the ole tummy)
- Baked beans
- White rice
Thoughts on the Challenge
When I would tell people about this experiment, most people were astonished at how little money, $4.15 per day, was the average food stamp allotment. Some said it couldn’t be done, other simply said they couldn’t do it. But one rather hefty fella said, “That’s easy. I could do it.” I emphasized that it had to cover all three meals, snacks and drinks. He still said he could do it. Mmm-kay.
People were supportive, although a few of the work angels turned into devils trying to get me to indulge in the goodies left in the break room. I tried to share information about what I’d learned about hunger. Mostly I tried to remind people that the picture many of us have of who is on food stamps or using the food bank might be very different than we think. It could be our ever smiling neighbor or our cranky coworker.
I have family members who have and some who still are getting assistance from the FNS program. As much as I whined my way through the challenge, my experience cannot even come close to what that is like for real. I still had cabinets, a freezer and a pantry stocked with food, and a little money in the bank if things got bad. I tried to remember back to my early childhood when my family had little means. I even tried thinking of when I’d hit a financial bottom years ago and how I struggled. But even in those times, while I didn’t eat fancy, I ate better than this.
Hunger and poor eating is tiring. It left me tired, unfocused and pretty cranky. It made doing the simplest things harder than normal. It made working a full day at 100% impossible. I pretty much suck at placing restrictions on myself when it comes to eating. That wasn’t really a surprise. My tastebuds have grown accustomed to higher quality food. Being surrounded by some of the best restaurants of a variety of cultures has me more spoiled than I could imagine. The life I’ve become used to made this challenge hard.
Here are some resources about hunger and the food stamp program–now known as Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP).
- Studies on Hunger
- Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina – Check out video of how some other participants handled the Food Stamp Challenge.
- 415aDay” Storify Page