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I'm just a girl in the world.. that kind of likes to write. Mom of 2 teen girls & work as Talent Attraction & Marketing professional. Oh, & I'm addicted to my phone, Social Media, HR/Talent Marketing & Caffeine... you can learn more about me at www.linkedin.com/in/theonecrystal

There’s Never a Good Time to Go Hungry: A #TR30Days Post

This week, I set out to take part in the #FoodStampChallengeNYC with the New York City Food Bank.  I’d intended to do the challenge with Chris Fields, aka @New_Resource on the web – to raise awareness for hunger.  While I started out strong, I quickly realized this week wasn’t going to work for me, schedule-wise:  the kids had parties, I had implementations, summer was starting, we’d planned an end-of-school special sushi meal…. I didn’t have time to do a “hunger-challenge” and certainly all of that couldn’t be done on $1.48/person, per meal!  So, I decided to accept defeat and push the challenge – mid-week, of course – off to a ‘more convenient time’ that wouldn’t be sullied with the eating out/conferences I have on docket this week and next.

But here’s the deal:  there’s never really a ‘good time’ to go hungry.  It’s never convenient to do without; for while I’m fortunate enough that I can make the choice to do more… those on food stamps?  Can’t necessarily make that choice.

Can you make it by on food stamps?  Yes, of course you can;  though yes, it requires careful planning and knowing where the resources are in your area to make the most of the money allotted for you.   In Dallas/Fort Worth, where I live, there are a couple of resources to help stretch those dollars:

Of course, that’s not comprehensive & it’s not enough.  I spoke with a Mother of two boys recently about her food stamps experience and she said, “It’s not surprising to me that so many on food stamps are obese – and it’s not because they’re at the grocery store buying lots of healthy food.  Healthy food is expensive, so often you end up buying foods high in carbs, fiber, and preservatives.. like beans and spaghetti-os.  Then you end up hitting up dollar menus in drive-thrus to fill-in the gaps the food stamps didn’t cover; because meat is expensive.  My kids had a lot of ‘church suppers,’ McDonald’s chicken nuggets and Wendy’s baked potatoes.”

I can’t comment on the validity of that experience; as it was her life experience on food stamps.  What I can speak to is the few days that I’ve participated in this over the past week… and it IS hard.  I hit the Coppell Farmer’s Market last Saturday to get started. A week’s worth of fruit & vegetables for a family of 3, some fish, a loaf of multigrain bread, and some brioche cost $50; roughly 60% of my “food stamp challenge” budget.  Aldi was where I had to go to get “refrigeratables” such as milk, oj, eggs, and cheese – something that ran another $21.17 after I added fruit strips & crackers for the kids.  This left less than $20 to ’round out’ my week – which I did with some family-sized tomato soup, vegetable spaghetti, and biscuits.

We had the groceries & we actually made some good meals – but it’s work, which means time to prep & make.  This time is really the biggest problem for many families.  I spoke with another Mother at my daughter’s middle school who uses food stamps to make her life with 4 children work.  She weighed in with this, “I work nearly 12 hours a day.  I’m too tired to be able to cook the meals that you have to make in order to make the most of food stamps; so we end up doing a lot of TV Dinners – which are more expensive so I keep an eye on sales.  Stocking up is hard, though; there’s not a lot of money available each month to take advantage of the sales but we do what we can.”   Indeed, a study out of Los Angeles show that Food Stamp Participants are below the National Consumer Average when it comes to using coupons & “stocking up” taking advantage of sales.   That takes money & time that so many just don’t have.

If I’m honest, I’m disappointed that I chose to forgo the rest of my challenge; I think there might have been a missed opportunity to teach my kids about lack of choice, hunger & the value of a dollar.  But that’s the choice I made & I’m grateful to be able to have the option to make it.  I look forward to starting again on 6/9/12 & will share with you then…


2 Comments on “There’s Never a Good Time to Go Hungry: A #TR30Days Post”

  1. Ryan 06/01/2012 at 8:13 am #

    One the most refreshing posts I’ve read in a very long time, anywhere.

    • TheOneCrystal 06/01/2012 at 8:49 am #

      Thanks, Ryan. Very much appreciate it.. 🙂

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