The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries challenges you to walk in the shoes of your hungry & food insecure neighbors by living on the average food stamp allotment of approximately $4.45 per person per day. We invite the general public who are not currently food insecure to better understand the reality of hunger and take the Food Stamp Challenge for one day or one week and record your experience.
While most of us can't truly know what it is like to be hungry every day, to worry about where our next meal will come from, or how we will feed our children, SSKP’s Food Stamp Challenge is designed to help us understand in a more meaningful way the reality of hunger and need.
To put this need in context, in Connecticut, 8.6% of households are hungry or food insecure. Further, a survey of food pantry and soup kitchen clients in Connecticut revealed that: 42% had to choose between paying for food or utilities; 34% had to choose between food or paying rent; and 30% had to choose between food or medical care.
The Food Stamp Challenge seeks to highlight what it is like to eat on the average food stamp benefit – approximately $1.45 per meal. While the average food stamp benefit is approximately $4.45 per day, depending on income and situation, some households qualify for the maximum benefit, while others get as little as $10 a month.
After paying for housing, energy and health care expenses, many low-income households have little or no money remaining to spend on food without food stamp benefits. In addition, most food stamp households report that their food stamp benefits do not last the entire month and many are forced to turn to food pantries and soup kitchens.
While living on a food stamp budget for just a week cannot come close to the struggles encountered by low-income families week after week and month after month, it does provide those who take the Challenge with a new perspective and greater understanding.
Established in 1939, the Food Stamp Program helps more than 26 million low-income people purchase needed food each month. Eligibility is based on income and assets depending on household size. Eligibility in the Food Stamp Program also includes work requirements, with all non-elderly adults required to be employed or to register for employment. Many are also required to participate in work training and job search programs.
To give you an idea of the challenge rules: no food maybe accepted as a gift during this time. For example: No brownies from your co-worker. If you need a condiment, you need to purchase it with your monetary allotment. All that is eaten must be purchased with the $31.00. For example, do not eat food that was not paid for with the allotment but is in your refrigerator or pantry. All that is purchased with your allotment must be food.
You may start with a larder of what our food pantries supply to a person who is completely without food and needs an emergency stocking. Again, this food does not count towards your $4.45 per day food allotment: 1 Jar of Red Sauce,1 pound of Pasta,1 bottle of Juice, 2 cans Vegetables, 2 cans Soups, 1 can of Fruit,1 can of Beans or Lentils, 1 can of tuna, 1 canned meal (Pasta & Meatball Type), 1 box of Cereal, 1 jar of Peanut Butter, 1 Starch Side (Rice a Roni type), 1 Snack, 1 meat for 1 meal, 2 odds & ends (ketchup, sugar etc.), 1 dozen eggs, 1 pound butter blend.