July 12, 2012

SNAP Challenge: Eating on a Food Stamp Budget

What is the SNAP Challenge?

Participating in the SNAP Challenge is simple: eat for one week using only the amount of money you would have if you relied solely on SNAP to pay for your food.

By taking the SNAP Challenge, you will directly experience the struggle that nearly 1 in 7 Americans – including nearly 25% of all American children – face every day. You will learn first-hand how difficult it is to afford nutritious foods, avoid hunger, and stay healthy without adequate resources.

Living on a food stamp budget for just a week could never come close to the struggles encountered by low-income families week after week, month after month. What it will do – we hope – is give you a new perspective about hunger in America and renewed energy to help MAZON transform how it is into how it should be.

What are the rules for the SNAP Challenge?

  1. Each person can spend a total of $31.50 on food and beverages during the Challenge week. This budget translates to $4.50 per day, or $1.50 per meal.
  2. Keep all receipts and track all your food and beverage spending. Any food or beverages purchased and eaten during the Challenge week must be accounted for in your budget. For the purposes of this Challenge, you must include in your budget any amount you spend dining out.
  3. During the Challenge, eat only food that you purchase specifically for the Challenge. Do not eat food that you already have in your pantry or refrigerator (excluding spices and condiments).

When should I do the SNAP Challenge?

You can do the SNAP Challenge any week you choose, but we encourage you to join Joshua Malina (Scandal, The West Wing) when he takes the SNAP Challenge from Monday, July 9 through Sunday, July 15.

What to do during and after the SNAP Challenge:

  1. Share your personal experiences through social media, blog posts, op-eds to your local newspaper, or letters to your policymakers in Washington D.C. Be sure to share your thoughts with MAZON as well. Tag us on Facebook (@mazonusa) or Twitter (@stophunger, #SNAP4aWeek) or email us.
  2. Donate to MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger, the additional amount you would have spent on food this week (or any amount you feel is appropriate).
  3. Remember this experience when you cast your ballot this Fall. Learn about food insecurity in your community, then ask your candidate(s) where they stand on food insecurity issues.

Learn more about the SNAP program and print out instructions here.

Leave a comment below if you plan to join us!