The Food Stamp Challenge is called a challenge for a reason. At points we both struggled to get through the week. But the challenges were different than we expected them to be. Before we went grocery shopping, we expected to eat a lot of junk food to fill us up and that we'd barely have enough food to get us through the week. After all, Mario Batali reported he was "(expletive removed) starving" when he did the Food Stamp Challenge. With A LOT of planning, we were actually able to have three healthy and relatively filling meals each day. We opted for healthier ingredients like whole grains, small amounts of fruit and vegetables, and lean meat; and therefore did not have much money left over for snacks. Although we both missed snacks, we felt better knowing our meals were healthy.
|Oatmeal with banana and cinnamon every morning|
|Nights 4 and 5: Rigatoni with sauteed spinach and broccoli|
After the repetition, the second hardest part was our inability to join our friends in social outings - mainly eating out. We turned down invitations and ate meals before joining friends on the weekend. Although we'd like to report to you that we did a perfect job this week, the truth is that we both were taken out to lunch or dinner two times during the week. While neither of us spent any money at these meals, we weren't only eating the food from our home.
|Amanda's Baked Ziti was delicious, but by day 3 we didn't even want to look at it anymore|
Ultimately, our objective was to deepen our understanding and raise awareness of the hunger problems in the District. We don't feel this was compromised. Although we cannot pretend to truly understand the real challenge of relying on food stamps, this exercise reminded us how thankful we are that we don't worry where our next meal is coming from. As a way of demonstrating our thanks for what we have, we are both donating a week of groceries to Charlie's Place, an anti-hunger, anti-homelessness organization that provides food, hygiene, and job-searching assistance in DC. If you have the ability, please consider making a donation to Charlie's Place, Capital Area Food Bank, Bread for the City, or any other organization that provides meals to those in need. Thanks for sticking with us through the week-long challenge!