40 Days of SNAP: 87 Cents and the End of a Journey
The Herman family, members of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
living in California's Central Valley, have decided to follow a
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food budget during
Lent. They blogged about their journey and shared their stories on the Bread Blog. The family's SNAP challenge has ended—Ivan Herman offers these final thoughts.
By Ivan Herman
87 cents. That’s how much we had left on our SNAP budget at the end of the month. 87 cents. Not much room for error, and not much of a cushion for frills and extras.
On Thursday we had run out of milk and fruit. We had $9.27 left in our budget.
I took my son to the grocery store in the afternoon.
$3.49 for milk
$1.95 for six bananas
$1.99 for a whole, fresh pineapple (score!)
I tallied it up in my head: about $7.50, and figured I could buy only
two Fuji apples on sale at $1.49 per pound (it came out to $.97). I
asked Robin to pick the two apples. He plunked two into the bag, then
grabbed for a third.
“Sorry, little dude, but we don’t have the money to buy a third apple.”
“But I like apples.”
“Yeah, me too.” (sigh)
$8.40 for milk and fruit.
$530 for 4 people over 40 days.
$1.10 per person, per meal.
Only $.87 left over.
We ate frugally, but were still able to eat a balanced diet. How easy it would be to miss the target!
On a day when we celebrated the institution of our Lord’s Supper, the feast at my own table looked a bit more meager. At the Maundy Thursday service, as the bread was broken, I hungered for it, both physically and spiritually. The fridge at home had only a half-loaf of homemade sourdough, and some leftover simple drop biscuits. But the bread, juice, and wine at the Lord’s Table held the promise of abundance.
Now Easter is upon us, and abundance is at hand. May our “Alleluias” in grateful praise bring glory to God as well as food for those who still hunger, for “Alleluias” are not just sung and spoken in devotion and worship, but also acted out in compassion and justice.
Ivan Herman is associate pastor at Carmichael Presbyterian Church in Sacramento, Calif.
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