I recently learned of the SNAP Challenge to live for a week on the average amount of benefits a SNAP recipient receives; $4.50 per day!
I was excited at the prospect but as the week approached and then the first day, I had more than enough EXCUSES why that week would not work for me. Jury duty popped up, out of town travel which means dining out, a birthday party for a friend. It just wasn’t going to work THAT week.
What? Can a SNAP recipient pick and choose when to eat on $4.50 or the amount they receive? NO
It gave me a chance to reflect on how fortunate I am, that, although I do live on a pretty strict monthly budget, I definitely have much more flexibility than 35 years ago when I was a SNAP recipient, raising a future principal (Mom’s bragging rights). I remember stretching my food budget by eating at my mother’s house a couple times a week, something not all can do. And I remember “government cheese” and the other commodities we received at the local CAP. But the main thing I remember vividly which still affects me today, was that I was unable to purchase non-food items like Kleenex, toilet paper, aluminum foil, paper towels, etc. I have been accused of hoarding those items and I guess I do stock up when they are on sale, probably because I went without them for a few years.
Getting back to the $4.50 a week. I guess it isn’t nearly as important to actually experience the burden of worrying about each penny as long as we have a sincere understanding and appreciation that others really do live with this burden day in and day out, and that we devote ourselves and our cause to doing everything we can each day to alleviate the scourge of hunger. Whether it is helping someone sign up for SNAP, donating food, money or time to your local pantry or food Bank, or organizing a community food drive, there is always something you can do if your heart is willing.
– Cindy Jones