Food Stamp Challenge

The congregation was given a food stamp challenge. We were asked to live off the weekly food budget of $31/person, which about $1.48/person per meal. I’ve seen signs around Princeton for people to participate.

This challenge allowed us to understand the struggle that low-income parents have to provide healthy meals for their family, while avoiding hunger. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough for most families, so many must turn to food banks and soup kitchens to steer clear of starvation.

It’s comforting to know that we here at the Princeton United Methodist Church host a community meal on Wednesdays thanks to our Cornerstone Community Kitchen to help those in need in the Princeton area.

Pastor Jana mentioned that we eat in excess, so if we establish portion control, shop wisely, use coupons, stay away from snack foods and specialty drinks (including soda), don’t eat out or get take out, it’s possible to feed your family for $31 per person a day, but it is a real challenge.

Prices can prove to be the biggest obstacle, so you might have to shop around. This means cutting out purchases at Wegman’s and Whole Foods, and look for the best deals at Shoprite or make a trip to Walmart or Aldi’s to help you stay within the budget. The trick is to buy food that’s filling while being nutritious.

This was a difficult challenge, and I think I failed by going over budget a bit to keep my 16 year old athlete from starving. We ate old-fashion oatmeal and raisin bran for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and pasta, rice with beans, and soup for dinner.

My favorite meal was a Greek-inspired dish made with giant butter beans in a homemade tomato sauce with onion, garlic, and thyme, topped with a little feta cheese.

Did you take on the challenge? How did you fare?