My 7-day SNAP Challenge on Sunday included rice and baked beans — again. This time it served as a combination meal of breakfast and lunch.
My Sunday ended with a meal of fish, a rice and frozen veggies thanks to Sassy Spitfire‘s kitchen — not my own. My home-cooked fish, rice and veggies were still in my refrigerator. It was important to enjoy a meal in the Bronx with members of the family.
The challenge was not about fun and games or a political statement. It was my own research as a regular citizen not someone sitting on Capitol Hill.
What is it like to live on $30.00 per week, the amount of a weekly allowance given to a food stamp recipient, especially if you happen to live in an area where the cost of living makes everything a challenge?
The worries I had were real — not enough food and little in the way of fresh fruits and vegetables. Does this mean that those on food stamps never have enough food or any fresh fruits and vegetables ever — all the time? Maybe. Maybe not. When you only have $30.00 you really need to pick and choose what gets on your shopping list. If you don’t, I suspect you will be hungry at some point. You won’t need the same things on every shopping list — I understand that, but there are certain “staples” in households. It may vary from household to household, but in my own, I need fresh fruits and vegetables and perhaps a starch or two like sweet potatoes and pasta. Although I can live without loaves of bread, I do purchase packages of tortillas because they’re relatively inexpensive, can be frozen, thawed and used when needed, are not heavy on the stomach and are an easy accompaniment to any meal. But, what if you’re a strict vegetarian? What if you have, as I’d asked in a previous post, Celiac disease, and can only have gluten-free products? What if you’re elderly and you need a low salt diet, should you really be purchasing canned goods or frozen meals, which for many are extremely high in sodium?
So, let’s talk about whether or not $30.00 in this day an age is realistic for someone to survive especially in a metropolitan area in the northeast, for example? I could not afford to purchase cereal, for example, because I ran out of money. I didn’t have enough to purchase milk. I admit, I do not know all of the ins and outs of the whole food stamp issue, but I’m not hear to quote chapter and verse about it. I’m simply saying, $30.00 does not go far for food in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
I’m not as good as I could be with having healthy eating habits, but I try, and I don’t rely on food stamps. But I’m concerned when the news reports speak about frightening obesity rates in children and adults and poor urban areas having limited access to supermarkets with a sizable availability of fresh fruits and vegetables. I’m also concerned, and you should be too, about why in a nation of 300+ million people that it is easier for someone to buy fast food at rock bottom prices and it costs and arm and a leg for regular food shopping? And please don’t tell me about the reality show with housewives who are masters at coupon clipping and can buy thousands of dollars worth of food for next to nothing or nothing. Save it. The reality is, we all cannot do that. So, let’s keep it real in this space.
I was hungry a number of times. Had a few headaches, but they were minor. My concern still comes back to having enough food and adequate nutrition, especially for children and the elderly. We really need to take a serious look at the allowance. Is it truly enough? I don’t believe so — at least not here.
Hunger is a real problem in this country. It isn’t just imaginary. And it spans from urban areas to rural areas and young, old and everyone in between are affected.
My Journey has ended. If you have no money or no extra money to purchase food and you are forced to rely on food stamps, your life is a challenge every week, not just for one like mine.
Yes, a “foodie” learned a thing or two about food, hunger and poverty last week. Maybe you should too?