This year, I share my birthday with Hunger Action Day, the kick-off to Hunger Action Month. Just like last year, the kick-off starts with Turn Orange for Hunger Relief. So, today I’m donning orange (okay, orangish-pink – I don’t own anything that’s orange), bringing in orange-themed birthday treats, and spending my afternoon volunteering at a food bank.
As customary, I brought in birthday treats to share with the team – pumpkin cookies, baby carrots, orange bell peppers, and cheese crackers and sent an email out to the team announcing that I had brought in orange treats for my birthday (in support of Hunger Action Month) and asked them all to join me in participating in this year’s SNAP Challenge.
I participated in the SNAP Challenge last year and I’m set to do it again this year from September 15 – 21, 2014. For those of you who missed it, you can catch my blog posts about it here. The Challenge last year was to live off of $4.50 a day. Since last year, SNAP benefits have been cut by about 5.5%. So, this year’s challenge is even harder – live off of $4.25 a day.
The $4.25 includes everything you eat or drink. This means morning runs to your favorite coffee shop are out of the question. In fact, it might mean that coffee is out of the question. I don’t drink it, but last year Mike had to give it up for the week so we could stick to our budget. A reduction of $0.25 might seem insignificant, but losing that money means something will probably have to drop off my grocery list.
Eating on a limited budget for one week in no way encompasses the struggles that low-income families face on a daily basis, but it gives you a glimpse into what life can be like for millions of low-income families. Participating in the Challenge and sharing your experiences will help raise awareness. I ask you to try living on $1.50 a meal for a week (or even for a day!) to gain a better understanding of what low-income families face on a week-to-week and month-to-month basis.
If you aren’t up to take the SNAP Challenge, I ask that you take one night this month to go and volunteer at a local food bank. Or donate some food or money. Every little bit helps.