Jessica Luna, Program Associate, D.C. Hunger Solutions provides some reasons for the DC Food Stamp Challenge.
We chose to host a Challenge this fall for several reasons. First, as a platform to raise awareness of the cuts to SNAP in the Farm Bill that would in effect repeal the District’s Food Stamp Expansion Act of 2009, and reduce access to SNAP and lower benefit levels for needy families. Second, as an opportunity to underscore to those of us who are fortunate to have plenty on our tables and who never have to worry about where our next meal comes from, a small glimpse into the daily struggles facing the tens of thousands of district SNAP residents who rely on this program. Third, to raise dialogue about how poverty (especially child poverty) and hunger are pervasive in a city, and explore ways that coalitions can come together to solve these problems.
Here is an excerpt from the diary of one woman who accepted the Food Stamp Challenge:
Heather Hodges, Neighborhood Legal Services Program I started the Challenge on Sunday and already have learned some things. First, coupons are not a big help because the items they are for are already too expensive. Instead, managers’ specials were the key! Second, many of the shoppers in the store I selected were seniors, immigrants and students. For the first time I noted how much time they spent studying prices and how small their orders were in the end. Last, since prepared and semi-prepared foods are out, I spend much more time planning menus and cooking. After just two and a half days, I am already starting to feel distracting hunger pains at work. It doesn’t take long, sadly. Most rewarding is that as I have blogged about the Challenge [...] it has provoked a great conversation among our friends about hunger, food prices and consumerism generally.
Click here to read this and other Food Stamp Challenge diary entries in their entirety. To learn more about the SNAP/Food Stamp program, you can take a look at the resources on the Food Research and Action Center website.