Friday, June 01, 2007

Hunger in America, Are You Up to the Challenge?

Hunger Awareness Week begins tomorrow, June 2-10, and my home state, Missouri, and neighbor Kansas, through the organization Harvesters, are encouraging citizens to take the Food Stamp Challenge for a week.

The challenge includes a budget $38.75 per person each week - guidelines are available online to determine your food budget if you participate, and are based on the maximum benefits available across the nation.

The guidelines note that in Missouri and Kansas the average is approximately $20/week per person; so the budget I worked with last week is closer to the reality here than the higher budget allowed in the challenge they're hosting.

But, that's OK - I think it's a good experience for anyone interested in working within a budget to feed your family, especially when that budget is less than you'd normally spend each week. What I'm not convinced of is that more money each week/month is the solution - but that I'll get to in a later post.

6 comments:

  1. I don't mean to seem unsympathetic to plight of the poor, having been poor myslef at one point, but I think strictly focusing on federal aid while excluding aid from state, county, and local sources misses the point. Maybe its different in the midwest, i don't know, but as I stated in an earlier comment, In the eastern metropolitan areas, food stamps, and other federal releif programs, account for only a portion of the aid available.

    Also I think you had a large advantage having the time and resources to travel to several stores and shop for sale items. Try doing that in a metropolitan area relying on public transportation. Or try in a rural are like appalachia where grocery storea are an hour or more apart.

    While I think its an interesting exercise to draw attention to the fact that people here in our own back yard are hungry and malnourished, its a lesson thats quickly forgotten unless you had to live it for an extended period of time, complete with having to choose between eating and someother necessity. Been there, done that, grateful I don't have to do it anymore.

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  2. K.Dill---I could not agree with you more----especially about the transportation issue---some are only able to go to the "neighborhood" grocery store which needless to say has little choice of what to buy and prices through the roof

    then there are those who have no concept about nutrition---or budgeting either---the minute the funds were on their EBT card---steaks, crab legs, shrimp were there main objective---eating high on the hog for a week or so----then begging family and friends and other agencies for food for the rest of the month

    on one of the previous posts a comment was made about gardening---not many are aware EBY food funds will cover plants for a garden---as long as it falls into the food category it even covers recognixed vitamins

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  3. K Dill: Also I think you had a large advantage having the time and resources to travel to several stores and shop for sale items. Try doing that in a metropolitan area relying on public transportation. Or try in a rural are like appalachia where grocery storea are an hour or more apart.

    Bamagal: especially about the transportation issue---some are only able to go to the "neighborhood" grocery store which needless to say has little choice of what to buy and prices through the roof

    Not to sound unsympathetic - but does increasing the amount each month solve the transportation problem? Or does the transportation problem still exist no matter how much money is available to spend each month on food?

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  4. It depends....If you had to have taken public transportation to all the stores you went to, what impact would that have had on your shopping? Would you have still gone to all the stores, or what if there was only one of the stores was in reach by transport. Would having more to shop with have made a difference in your selections? Once you get out of the middle class burbs, there is not always multiple options for shopping. The market does not ensure an equitable distribution of goods, or that goods go where needed, goods go where people are willing and able to pay the demand price for them.

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  5. How about giving those folks a minimum wage job and teaching them to survive based on the realities that a K-Mart worker has to deal with?

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  6. keywstdame7:03 AM

    This is a fine and noble experament but your son is small and does not eat an adult portion of the food from your supplies. Try having a 13 year old boy who has grown 4 1/2 inches in as many months and has an appatite of a lumberjack. (No he's not fat - he's just growing!) He could wipe out the weekly food budget in a couple of days. LOL by the way, I love your blog and appreciate the fact that you can explain the most complicated studies so that we all can understand them. Great work.

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