Saturday, September 10, 2011

San Francisco Food Bank Hunger Challenge - Day 1

A couple of days ago, a coworker of mine posted the Hunger Challenge on Facebook. The idea is to live on a food stamp budget for a week, to put yourself into the shoes of someone who truly faces hunger on a daily basis. The average daily food stamp budget in the state of California is $4.72 a day. That's $33.04 a week (there was actually a temporary increase to $4.72 from $4.00, so that leaves us with $28 a week - we'll try to stick to that, but we're not sure how it will work combined with our athletic endeavors). I don't know about you, but I regularly spend more than that on a meal if I'm going out with friends. It really made me think about the kind of money I spend on food and the difficulty that many people must face when it comes to feeding themselves and their families.

So I talked Stephen into participating with me (actually, he was in as soon as I mentioned it), and we started planning for our week. Now, I'm going to admit that we're cheating just a little bit. We're both training for big endurance events, and we both have to do really long runs next Saturday morning (20 miles for me, 30 for Stephen), so we decided to start this Saturday night so that we could have a good recovery meal after our long run next week.

We went shopping this evening, taking special care to price everything out, from the price of a single serving to the price per ounce. Now I know it's not really the idea of the challenge, and I'm sure it would be different after a while, but it was kind of fun figuring everything out and trying to get the best deals on everything.

Stephen had already made some pinto beans (yay for bulk foods!), so we planned to eat those tonight. Thankfully we didn't have to do a lot of preparation because somebody was cranky by the time we got home from the grocery store (okay, I was too!). :) We put together quite the nice little meal, given our limits. The costs for the two of us were as follows:

Not too shabby, right?

$0.66 = Pinto beans (1/2c dry) 
$0.31 = Cheese (1/2 oz ea.)
$0.33 = Corn (1/2 ear ea.)
$0.44 = Canned tomatoes (1/4c ea.)
$0.05 = Serrano pepper (1/4 ea.)
$0.24 = Corn tortillas (2 each) 
$2.03 Total for dinner 

I was looking for ways to keep things interesting, so I also made some chocolate chip cookies. Most of the ingredients are the of staples that people would have around the house - at least sugar and flour, and I think they'd still be reasonable purchases on a food stamp budget (since you probably wouldn't be buying all of them at the same time). My half recipe of chocolate chip cookies works out to $1.77, which is $0.09 per cookie. Add a half cup of milk for $0.10, and you've got a decent bedtime snack for just $0.38 per person!

Our grand total for today was $2.79, leaving us $6.65 for next Saturday (or $5.21, if we stick to the $4.00 a day plan). Not a bad start, but it'll be interesting to see where the week takes us!

1 comment:

Sylvie said...

Good luck, Jenni! I look forward to seeing what you come up with.