Founder/Board Member Takes the SNAP Challenge

Power Packs Project board member & founder, Joan Snyder Espenshade, accepted our #SNAPChallenge to live for one week on the same $4 a day for food and beverages that is allocated to individuals that are on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps). She documented her experience in journal entries for social media to share with you now to build an understanding of the difficulties of maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet while living on a SNAP/food stamp budget.

• I started the SNAP Challenge today, living off the $4/day SNAP recipients receive. When shopping for five days of food, I realized a couple things: It took a lot of time to check prices, rethink my menu when I found a bargain, put food back when I went over budget (and I didn’t have hungry, tired children with me); it was difficult to buy “healthy” and the only fruit I got was $1 of apples; and using the store’s circular was helpful (also time consuming). It’s going to be an interesting week! #PowerUpSNAP

• I bought a 1 lb kielbasa for $3 for the SNAP Challenge and plan on getting 3 meals from it. TonightI am using it to make soup with carrots, potato, onions in chicken broth. Along with a corn muffin (Jiffy mix for .50), that’s dinner tonight. #PoweUpSNAP

• Left-over soup for lunch today. I am doing the SNAP Challenge alone, living off of $20 of groceries for 5 days. I am finding that there is very little variety. I bought 1 lb. kielbasa and will need to use it for 3 meals. Also got a canister of oatmeal for $1.39 and will be eating that for breakfast for a long time. Usually, I would add Raisins and brown sugar but they were certainly not in the budget. #PowerUpSNAP

• Ideally SNAP is used as a supplement to a family’s food budget. But in real life, their limited income must cover many needs (rent, utilities, transportation, childcare, required school uniforms, kid’s clothes and shoes, and grocery store purchases not covered by SNAP like detergents, soap, toilet paper, etc), That doesn’t allow much in the budget for food. Many parents face what I call Sophie’s Choice – do I feed my kids this weekend or make rent on Monday? So the reality is that, for many families, SNAP is how they feed their kids. #PowerUpSNAP

– Joan Snyder Espenshade, founder of Power Packs Project

Published:February 4, 2017

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