Food Stamp Challenge, day 1
A few weeks ago, I received a call from Alex Ashbrook at DC Hunger Solutions asking if Defeat Poverty DC would join DC Hunger Solutions in their “Food Stamp Challenge.” The efforts is designed – not unlike the poverty simulation that Defeat Poverty DC is hosting later this week – to draw attention a significant problem facing low-income residents in the city.
It didn’t take Alex long to convince me to join the Challenge. She didn’t have to mention that one in eight families in the District struggle with hunger or the importance of the federal SNAP program (commonly known as food stamps). Perhaps I should have considered the consequences more thoroughly….
This week will be particularly challenging for me and my family to live on the relatively meager amount of $30 a person. Since my wife is traveling for work, I decided that my two children and I would take the challenge alone. When we discussed this over the weekend as we prepared for a Columbus Day / Monday shopping trip, they didn’t completely understand the ‘game.’ They know that many people in our city are hungry and they often prepare meals or take snacks to our neighbors who struggle to get enough to eat. Nevertheless, when I told them that we’d be spending less on groceries this week, they simply wanted to spend the money we saved on treats and toys (at least that was my son’s position… we decided to donate the savings to the food bank instead).
I’ll write a bit about our shopping experience in the coming days. Our first day’s meals, concluded earlier today, included a bowl of Special K cereal (there were numerous less expensive options, but it was on sale and is the only cereal that my children will eat. As a single-dad for the week, that wasn’t a fight I was willing to have each and every morning); lunch would be provided by the District of Columbia Public Schools for the kids while I had a small peanut butter sandwich; dinner was some whole wheat pasta with butter and cheese and a few frozen veggies. It wasn’t necessarily the most nutritious day for us, but it wasn’t far from our usual standards (especially when mom is away).
Day 1 – Food Stamp Challenge
Joe Weedon, director
Defeat Poverty DC
Learn more about the Food Stamp Challenge and check out DC Hunger Solutions Food Stamp Challenge Diary for other stories.
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