I’m excited to announce that I’m teaming up with two of my blogging buddies to participate in Mazon’s SNAP Food Stamp Challenge this coming week, July 16th – July 22nd, 2012.
Mazon issued the Food Stamp Challenge to help raise awareness for those living in poverty and having to feed themselves and their children only through the benefit of food stamps.
Participants in the Mazon’s SNAP Challenge must spend no more than $31.50 per person per week – the same amount that food stamp recipients receive. Here are the rules:
- Each person can spend a total of $31.50 on food and beverages during the Challenge week. This budget translates to $4.50 per day, or $1.50 per meal.
- Keep all receipts and track all food and beverage spending. Any food or beverages purchased and eaten during the Challenge week must be accounted for in the $31.50/person budget, including any dining out.
- During the Challenge, eat only food specifically purchased for the Challenge. Do not eat food that was already in your pantry or refrigerator (excluding spices and condiments).
Since my family has five people – myself, my husband and our three children (ages 9, 6 and 3), we will have a total weekly budget of $157.50.
Now, truth be told, this exceeds my average weekly budget. I budget $550 – $600 per month for groceries and personal care items, which in a four-week month, works out to be just under the food stamp allotment.
This was my first surprise of the challenge!
I certainly don’t feel like our family is deprived or, G-d forbid, hungry. So, maybe this challenge won’t be as hard as I initially thought?
Of course, having high speed access to the Internet is essential to my money-saving strategies. Do people living in poverty and receiving food stamps have at-home access to high speed Internet? I wonder if I could do this without access to my favorite money-saving blogs – not to mention my at-home printer (printing coupons) and newspaper subscription?
And what about my stockpile of pasta, cereal, condiments, and much more? Those penny-on-the-dollar items are the backbone of my money-saving savvy. (More on that in an upcoming post.) Do those living in poverty have the space and accommodations – not to mention safe transportation – to buy in advance and stockpile to save?
So, yes, this might be a true challenge after all!
Chaviva, Susie and I have two simple goals for our participation in the SNAP Challenge:
- To build awareness and engender empathy for those among us living in poverty and receiving food stamps, who have no choice but to spend only $31.50 per person per week on food.
- To demonstrate that with a little effort and strategizing, one can eat well and healthily, while still being frugal.
Please follow along with me, as I practice strategic shopping and menu planning to see if we can meet the SNAP Food Stamp Challenge.
I will be sharing my purchases and meal preparation throughout next week, along with my – and my family’s – feelings about this challenge.
If you don’t yet know my fellow SNAP Challenge bloggers, let me encourage you to visit their blogs. Susie, aka the Daily Cheapskate, lives in Denver and is both a web designer and a popular frugal blogger. Chaviva, aka the Kvetching Editor, also lives in Denver and was named as one of the NJOP top ten Jewish influencers in social media for 2012 for her well-known blog about conversion and all things Jewish.
The three of us thought it would be interesting to take on this SNAP challenge to demonstrate what living on food stamps might look like for people in different lifestyle situations: a family (me), a married couple, (Susie) and a single person (Chaviva). Chaviva has the added challenge of being both a vegan and gluten-free.