The SNAP Challenege

Hey ya’ll! I’m two for two so far now that I’m back to the grind. Today I have something special and very meaningful. I’m currently taking a community nutrition class about how to work with different populations and help them with their needs. One of our projects for the class is the SNAP challenge. A lot of people don’t know what SNAP is or think that it is actually an acceptable amount for people to live on. We are going through this experience to learn what it is like to live on 4.50$ a day, which will help us see that this isn’t enough to live a healthy lifestyle on. I already know that I am going to be hungry throughout the day since I won’t be able to purchase all the fruit and vegetables I usually snack on. Sometimes I think we forget how much food is worth and how lucky we are that we can afford to buy whatever we want to eat.

Snap Logo

The SNAP challenge means that you will be living off 4.50$ per day for seven days of the week. In total, we are allowed to spend is 31.50$. You are not allowed to use any of the food that you already have in your pantry or in your refrigerator. We can only use the oil and the spices that we have to flavor things, so that will save a little money in regards to making our food tasty. The average cost of each meal should be around 1.50$. If you spend less on that per meal, you will be able to have one snack. You must avoid accepting free food from friends, family, and your work place. Either buy your groceries in one shopping haul or buy them a few times throughout the week, but keep track of your receipts in order to make sure you don’t go over your budget. After our experience, every person in the class has to write a paper reflecting on their experience discussing how it was hard or easy, what it felt like to be hungry, and many other things. I feel as if it is going to be a really eye opening experience to what life is like being hungry, which many Americans face on an every day basis.

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Why is this so important? Well 1 in 6 people in America experience hunger every single day of their lives. On top of this number, millions of Americans are at risk of hunger. Most of these people are hard working community members that can’t make ends meet from having low wages or no job, and will eventually have to go without food. Most people assume that it is mainly the homeless that are experiencing real hunger, but only 10% are homeless. 36% of the households that are served by Feeding America have had at least one working adult. This makes it real. This could be you, this could be me, or this could be your neighbor. If this was you, wouldn’t you want there to be a little more than 4$ a day for you to live on? Another scary fact is that children are severely affected by hunger. Around 16 million children in the United States are living in food insecure homes. While school lunches feed them one meal a day, this still does not solve the problem and most children starve except while at school. When children don’t get their nutrients or enough food this can lead to severe health problems in regards to development and growth. Therefore these children are going to be at an extra disadvantage as they grow up.

One of the scariest things is that even college education isn’t enough to sustain you in life. While education is important, the job field isn’t what it used to be. Jobs are hard to come across and wages can be low. 23% of adults that were interviewed by the Hunger Study have attended college or a technical school. If everything else hasn’t made this real then this fact definitely should since most people that I know have gone to college. So SNAP comes in to the rescue, which is formerly known as food stamps. A few good things about SNAP is that participants are not able to buy tobacco or alcohol with them or ready to eat food, such as fast food. However a main problem that I have with SNAP is that you are only able to use it at SNAP eligible locations. That means that people are only allowed to shop at places such as convenience stores, local bodegas, and a few grocery stores. I find this ridiculous because at convenience stores and bodegas the cheapest items are extremely unhealthy items. Why do we live in a world where eating an apple cost more than having a bag of cheetos or a candy bar? Something needs to change.

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This is probably going to be one of the toughest things I am going to have to do because I am used to being able to buy all the fresh produce that I want. In order to prepare myself for this challenge, I have looked to meal planning as a skill to help me be successful. You can’t go into a store without preplanning what you are going to eat or you will either buy random things or nothing to sustain you on. However most people that use SNAP don’t have the time to plan out their meals nor do they have the nutrition education to do so or the access to internet and books. Therefore I am already not experiencing the true life of hunger since I can organize my meals and think about it. I challenge anyone that wants to join me in this SNAP challenge. If you want to join, write on the comments section. You can also link up to social media through social media such as intstagram and tweeting with the hashtag #snapchallenge or #takingtheSNAPchallenge. I wish myself good luck and I really hope that some people will go through this challenge to in order to humble yourself or at least learn what it is like for many people in America.

Have you ever done the SNAP challenge?
What is the cheapest meal you have ever made?

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