Growing up, there was often more month than there was money. I would dread the last few days of the month because the money would run out before my mom’s next paycheck and before my dad’s Social Security check (he was disabled) would arrive. On those last few days of the month, dinner would sometimes consist of a slice of bread covered with milk and brown sugar. If things were really tight, we might crumble saltine crackers into a glass, pour in milk and then, I guess to add a bit of flavor, we would salt and pepper this soggy mess and call it a meal. Since leaving my parents’ home over 30 years ago, I have never again eaten either of these culinary creations. But I’ve also never forgotten what’s it was like to have cupboards that were nearly bare.
More Minnesotans, than at any other time in recent history, know what it’s like to have empty cupboards these days. A record 550,000 of our neighbors in Minnesota depend on food shelves and approximately 420,000 people are receiving benefits from SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as “food stamps.” Something is wrong if, in this land of plenty, so many people are going hungry.
To draw attention to this growing crisis of hunger and poor nutrition, I’ve made a SNAP decision. For one week in November, I will see what it’s like to feed myself on $27.65. That is approximately what an eligible, low-income, single person in Minnesota would receive in food benefits from the SNAP program for one week.
Beginning on Thursday, November 18, I will carefully monitor the $3.95 I have to feed myself for the day. There will be no cappuccinos from my local coffee shop and no visits to grocery stores where employees cart purchases to your car for you. More than likely, it will be a week of spaghetti, rice and beans and eggs. And I want you to join me in this effort.
I hope that you, too, will make a SNAP decision to – for just one week – experience what many of our neighbors go through every day by trying to live on a very limited budget for food. It is intentional that this one week challenge will end on Thursday, November 25 – Thanksgiving morning. When I sit down to Open Arms’ Thanksgiving buffet that morning, I know I will be very thankful that for 51 weeks of the year, I don’t have to worry about going hungry.
Please make a SNAP decision of your own and join me in this effort. If you run out of food that week, I will share my saltine crackers and milk with you. Call me at 612-872-1152 or e-mail me at [email protected] to learn more.