Monday, September 22, 2008

The Food Stamp Challenge, Day 1

After a much too long hiatus, I am back in the blogosphere. This week, I'm undertaking an activity that I hope will bring attention to an issue that we're all dealing with during this difficult economy: how to feed yourself and your family while food prices continue to rise and your income doesn't.

Manna Food Center is sponsoring the Food Stamp Challenge and asking people to see what it's like to live on food purchased for no more than $25 a week, which is roughly the equivalent of what an individual who is eligible for food stamps receives each week. I'll try to provide an update each day and let you know how I am doing -- although as you'll see, the menu won't vary much from day to day.

On Sunday morning, my two daughters and I went shopping to see if we could at least accomplish the first part of the challenge -- to get groceries for the week for less than $25. Here's our list:

16oz can of Hunt's Meat Spaghetti Sauce - $1.20
2 cans of Dole frozen orange/pineapple juice -$1.69 each
Malt O' Meal Raisin Bran - $2.50
1 loaf of wheat bread - $2.39
1 dozen eggs - $1.89
1/2 lb. smoked turkey breast - $3.17
1 head of iceberg lettuce - $1.79
1 gallon skim milk - $3.99
7 bananas at .58/lb. - $1.48
1 16oz box thin spaghetti - $1.00
1 can bean with bacon soup - $1.09
Total: $23.88

This leaves me $1.12 in case of an emergency as the week progresses.

Sunday's meals consisted of,

Breakfast - 2 scrambled eggs and 1 piece of toast and juice
Dinner - Spaghetti, two pieces of bread, a small salad of iceberg lettuce, and a glass of milk

By way of just a little background on Food Stamps and Manna Food Center.

Manna Food Center (and many other similar organizations) provide food for the hungry in Montgomery County. Each month Manna feeds 2,400 hungry families in our County and each week provides meals for 600 elementary school children. Manna's website is

Food stamps are a supplemental food program for low-income persons and families. You can find information on the Manna Food Center website, but generally to be eligible an individual's gross monthly income cannot exceed $1,037 or $12,444 per year, and a family of four's gross monthly income cannot exceed $2,097 or $25,164. If you meet this criteria, then a single is eligible for $152 per month, and a family of four can receive $506 per month.

The first observations that I would make are that it is very time consuming to try and figure out what you can purchase for $25 that can provide enough for food for the week, but even harder is trying to do it in a way that is healthy. My youngest daughter is concerned about what happens if I run out of food mid-week, and has offered to sneak me some food if it becomes a desperate situation. It's good to have someone looking out for me - everyone should be so lucky.

No comments: