Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hunger Action Month

Did you know that September is Hunger Action Month?

Now you do. In 2013, 20% of American households participated in SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. A household qualifies for assistance when the household is at or below 130% of the Federal Poverty Level, at this time 100% is at $11,670 for a household of one person.  Working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year equals less than an hourly minimum wage ($5.6/hour).

I knew about Hunger Action Month but I'll admit I'd never really educated myself until this year because The Junior League of San Antonio is partnering up with The San Antonio Food Bank to eradicate childhood obesity in San Antonio.

In the spirit of this partnership, Junior League of San Antonio is going orange (the symbolic color of Hunger Action Month- #JLSAGoesOrange) and challenging it's members and the community to participate in the SNAP Challenge. 

Obvious question: What's the SNAP Challenge
Answer: It's a challenge to live on $4.50 a day for food. This is per person, not household. Why the $4.50? It's comparable to the daily food budget of a snap participant $1.50/meal. 

Of course I got Justin to join me, partly cause I wasn't sure I could shop for one person for $22.50 for 5 days worth of food for just me. I'm pretty sure I spent that much at happy hour in the last month. On drinks alone. 

So $45 seemed more manageable for 30 meals. Read that again. 

Turns out there are pros and cons to buying for two. One loaf of bread is enough for 8 lunches, but I needed enough for 10, so I needed another loaf. How do I stretch that loaf out so that I'm spending my money efficiently? We're having sausages for dinner this week. All week long. So things like that would pop up while shopping.

I ended up spending $45.48 on food.  I feel pretty good about that.  I did a lap around the grocery store to assess my options because, honestly, I rarely pay attention.

And I came home feeling pretty good.

My Receipt:

What all those lines translate into:

 The fixings for our chicken salad sandwiches:

What we'll be seeing more of this week for lunch:

The menu for the week will basically be...
Breakfast: 2 eggs and 1/2 banana (Justin will likely have coffee that we already have in the house. I can go without)
Lunch: Chicken salad sandwich made with canned chicken breast, celery, almonds (I bought almost 60 cents worth from the bulk organic section) and mayo.  The sandwiches also have some mustard we already had in the fridge, a slice of swiss cheese and spinach. And a half a green apple!
Dinner: A sausage or bratwurst that will be cooked on the grill and likely wrapped in a slice of bread.  We'll split one of the containers of chopped broccoli pieces and maybe each get 1/2 slice of swiss melted on our portion.  I also have butter in the fridge, but I feel like the mustard is already a "cheat" of sorts. 
Snacks: I used the tiniest pieces of celery for the chicken salad so there's enough piece left over for us to enjoy with a tablespoon or two of peanut butter. And we have the yogurt which can be a daily snack or maybe dessert. 

I have stuff going on in the evenings on Wednesday and Thursday and then a friend coming in to visit on Friday, so I will likely eat dinner out of the house, but I went all in when it came to the grocery store trip and already know what I could have done to cut the 48 cents. I bought two 8-packs of yogurt and could have just bough two individual yogurts, but the bulk mentality that usually resides prevailed and so it goes.

While I'm excited about these tiny successes, I have to admit that thinking that hard about every grocery trip seems like a daunting task. But let's see where the week takes us. 

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