Could you eat for $4 a day?

Our regional food bank is working to raise awareness about hunger and low-income Americans by issuing the SNAP Challenge. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the new name for the Food Stamp Program. The SNAP Challenge encourages folks to try to live on the average daily allowance provided by the program, which is $4 a day per person in the household.

Jeff and I have decided to give this a try for the month of October. Why wait? Well, there are some rules. One of those rules is that you can’t use any food you currently have in the house. Because of this, we have decided to try to eat as much of what we have over the month of September so there isn’t much in the house when we start the Challenge. This also gives us the opportunity to come up with our own house rules.

One of the things we are debating is if we should be able to use our warehouse club membership to purchase food. I see a lot of folks with EBT cards (the card use for SNAP benefits) at BJ’s and Costco so I’m leaning toward using it for some things. We’ve also decided that since SNAP benefits are loaded onto the card at the beginning of the month, we will have access to our entire food budget at the beginning of the month as well.

This should be an interesting experiment. Katy at The Non-Consumer Advocate  did a similar challenge earlier in the summer. There were a few differences in the rules between her challenge and the challenge issued by Foodshare. One of the rules that I don’t get is that you can’t get food from family, friends or the workplace because “these opportunities would not be available for the general public.” I’ve worked in a lot of different places, including food service, retail and offices. There were always opportunities when food was available. I understand that if you worked for a place like Google, that provided meals to their employees everyday, that would make things a lot easier, but there are usually opportunities where food presents itself for free. I know we are going to break that rule at least twice in October because we have a wedding and a birthday party that month.

I’m eager to start planning for the month, going through recipes to see how we can do this. Even though food prices are rising, I’m fairly certain we are going to eat well on $248 for the month. Until we get there, I’m also going to have the interesting task of trying to figure out how to eat a ton of ground sausage which we have in the freezer. I’m not a huge fan of ground sausage, but Jeff is already making a list of things I have to make. Biscuits and gravy were on the top of his list. I’m fairly certain I could make that for 30 days and he would be happy as a clam.

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