After delaying the start of the SNAP Challenge, I realized I wasn’t ready. I should have done more PR about it within my small town and the congregation I serve. I should have planned a menu. I should have gone to the grocery sooner. 

I’d already delayed the start of the Challenge. And now I was hungry.

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Almost on auto-pilot I went to the freezer to get a meal and pop it into the microwave so I could eat as I worked atthe computer. The frosty breeze in my face, I realized that if I ate my typical lunch, I would expend two meals worth of cost. My favorite freezer to microwave meal cost $3.29 but even the cheaper meals, are well over a buck-fifty.

I put my shoes on and went to the grocery with a short list. I realized immediately that this was going to be harder than I thought. The healthy produce-centric meals I usually prepare for myself would not withstand my $31.45 budget for the week.

And, so, I lingered near the fresh green beans but moved on. They were too expensive. I was pleased to find baby carrots on sale at one dollar this week. For lunch I picked up a can of black beans and instant rice. I’d do something with the carrots and the one zucchini squash and mushroom soup for dinner. As I reached the counter — as if in protest — I grabbed three 15 cent tootsie pops. I needed dessert!

As of the morning of the second day of the SNAP Challenge, I have spent two-thirds of my budget for the week. Looking at the box where my SNAP food is kept, I predict a lot of beige meals. I have rice, noodles, and almost-white wheat bread. With my remaining $10, I’m hoping to supplement with fresh vegetables and fruits and — perhaps — more delicious tootsie pop desserts.

On the first day of the SNAP Challenge, I’ve already become more anxious about my food. Will it last? How will this carbohydrate heavy food effect my feelings of well-being this week? Why did I buy that can of black beans when I could have saved 75 cents and had more food with the dry beans? I should have planned better!

If I am anxious about food after one day…
If I am anxious about food when my only risk is I will “fail” the Challenge…
If I am anxious about food when I have money for more in the bank…

If…
…how is it for my kindred who face this everyday?

If…
…how is it for those who are also trying to raise children on this kind of budget?

They asked only that we would remember the poor, which was certainly something I was willing to do. Galatians 2:10 CEB (Read in context.)

Related Articles

Opening Our Hearts to the Hungry, Condon United Church of Christ website
SNAP Challenge, um, Maybe Not Today 11-19-13

6 thoughts on “SNAP: Getting Serious, Getting Anxious

  1. I am glad you are doing this. A lot of people have no idea just how bad these low income families have it. Back in the spring we went through some of the leanest times we had in years. We just missed qualifying for food stamps by about $100. The amount these people receive in food stamps is just not enough. I am thankful for the food pantries that some of our local churches operate.

    On the bright side, most women with small children who qualify for food stamps also qualify for WIC, and can get commodities in our town, but it is still so hard. I’m so glad our kids are grown and out of the house. I wouldn’t want to have to walk in the shoes of these poor young mothers today.

    We used to make a scrambled egg dish (using 2 or 3 eggs) with drained ramen noodles, but back then a dozen eggs was about 70¢ and a package of ramen was about 15¢, so you got a meal for less than $1.00. Plus there was no fiber or vitamins…just some protein, fat, and fast carbs.

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