Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Thankfully Practicing Solidarity With Those in Need

By Mark Fenton

The coming Thanksgiving season is a time of harvest and plenty for many, but for many others it is a time of great need.  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as Food Stamps, is one program that helps people survive difficult times such as these.  SNAP provides $1.48 per meal, at the most, to pay for food.  This comes out to $31.08 for a week--half the amount we spend weekly on food per person for many of us.  As prices go up and the economy struggles to find its footing, many people on food stamps struggle with only having $31.08 for a week. 

The Food Stamp Challenge is a journey into the world of those getting assistance for food.  Living on $31.08, some of my co-workers at Bread for the World and I will try to live off of food stamp benefits for a week, starting today, Nov. 14 and ending on Nov. 20.  We feel it's important to join in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who suffer from hunger and malnutrition on a daily basis, and to understand their difficulties more fully.  I will be posting daily about my experience here on the Bread Blog

I encourage readers and Bread members to join myself and the other Bread staff in living with the food challenges that many people in the United States deal with every day, either for the full week or just for a day. I would love comments, thoughts and emails (mfenton@bread.org) in response to what I’m sharing.  I hope that you can all consider the food needs of the United States and the world during this season of Thanksgiving.

My first meal of the challenge was a lazy Saturday morning meal of oatmeal and an apple.  As I cut my apple up, I realized how every little bit counts for someone facing real hunger.  I didn’t want to waste any of that apple.  I found I had a fear of running out of food.  I can’t imagine the added stress for someone who really has to worry about making ends meet up long term on such a tight budget.  As I continue the challenge, I will need to get used to the idea of running out of food at some point. I hope that point is next Friday, and not before.

Mark Fenton is Communications Intern at Bread for the World


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