SNAP challenge – Day 1

Categories: Food for Thought, Social Action

Well, Day 1 of the SNAP challenge is behind me.  It’s not easy.

I definitely felt hunger throughout the day and even went to bed hungry.  I went to a luncheon yesterday and didn’t eat (choosing to eat a bowl of soup at my desk upon returning to work).  I went to the Beth El speakers’ series also and passed on eating fruit and cookies.  I realize that someone who is a SNAP recipient could have eaten at these things, but since I don’t know if they would have those opportunities, I will opt for sticking to the $4/day. For me, I’m fortunate…this is just five days and I can handle anything for five days.

We keep kosher in our home.  I practice the Weight Watchers program.  Now I am doing this SNAP challenge. What I am seeing is that food is requiring so much of my thinking.  Is it kosher? How many WW points is that? How much of my daily allowance is left?  I can easily see why people go with the easy, less healthy choices.  Time. I am an empty nester.  I have the time to plan. When my kids were young, I was lucky to get a shower most days, much less sit down to plan out a meal.  And when I did meal plan, I didn’t have to worry about cost per person.  While I realize that planning healthy choices on SNAP is possible, I absolutely get why many recipients don’t.  I wonder if food pantries could design a program with a “meal in a bag” that has everything they need to cook and a recipe stapled to the bag. If they think their family would eat it, they choose that bag. Just a thought.

I will continue on this experience, grateful that I am just experiencing hunger pangs.  I am focused on food this week, but I don’t have financial concerns about money for rent or how to buy gas for my car.  I get that this is not the full experience since I don’t have true food insecurity and I know that my life goes back to normal on Saturday.  But, I will return to that life with a greater empathy for what food insecure families are going through.



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