Can You Live on a Food Stamp Budget? 1 in 4 Don't Have A Choice, But You Can Help

Can You Live on a Food Stamp Budget? 1 in 4 Don't Have A Choice, But You Can Help


Hey, I'd like to invite you, alongside the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, to take the 2015 Hunger Challenge, beginning Monday and running September 14-18th. This is an exercise in empathy – a call to walk in someone else's shoes for 5 days. They're asking you to spend the week with them cooking meals, using an average food stamp budget ($4.50 a day), plus a grocery list reflecting items featured at their weekly food pantries.


Together, we can raise awareness of the struggles associated with food insecurity and mobilize the public to end hunger in San Francisco and Marin, where 1 out of every 4 residents is hungry.

To raise awareness, I'm offering a $10K challenge of my own to neighbors I've known a long time, Roxy and Natalie. From Monday through Friday, their family will be cooking and eating meals they’ve made using only the items purchased as part of the Challenge.  For each day they complete the Challenge, I’ll make a donation to the SF-Marin Food Bank.

Note: Roxy and Natalie's mom, Teri, works at the Food Bank and we've known each other for many years.  The idea for me to challenge 'em came up as we were discussing our recent work efforts when we saw each other at Reverie, our local coffee shop, a few weeks ago. Teri's younger daughter enthusiastically piped up that she wanted to do the Challenge and the idea took hold.

Roxy and Natalie(This is allegedly Roxy and Natalie…I recall them being much shorter)

Teri said,

With my kids now 12 and almost 10, I thought the Challenge would be a good opportunity to venture into the somewhat uncomfortable territory of talking about money. Like many parents, I struggle with wanting my kids to appreciate what they have while not wanting to saddle them with guilt. Living in San Francisco, the kids see a lot of disparities – from mansions to homelessness – and naturally they try to make sense of how lives could be so dramatically different for people. We try to address questions as they come up, and to explain some of the complex factors that may be at play in the lives of those with few resources. But it’s pretty abstract. The Hunger Challenge offers the chance to bring home one aspect of the difficulty of living on a low-income.

I'll be checking in with Roxy and Natalie, and sharing quick updates from them on the blog each day next week, so check back in throughout the week to see how they’re doing and to cheer 'em on. Or, do one better and join Roxy and Natalie to show your support for the people in our community who struggle to get enough to eat.

Sign up to take the #HungerChallenge today. Follow @SFMFoodBank on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and share your experience with your network.



One Comment

Jane Dennis

It's an interesting challenge. I have questions like

Are we to assume status basically like refugees, with nothing in the kitchen (assuming we have basic stove & fridge, because food stamps does) except what we can buy on food stamps? Or as is more likely in the US, now needing help but have some basics still available (salt, spices at least).

Thanks. I'm a bit dubious about how many people who don't already have some empathy will take the challenge, but raising awareness is always good.

My day job was in affordable housing for many years. In the early days, my salary was such that – and I ran the program – I qualified for housing assistance.

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