One meal to go and our SNAP Challenge is over, but even a week of eating on such a limited budget is telling. My family is tired of peanut butter sandwiches, and my wife and I will definitely welcome back our morning coffee. But for us, the inconvenience is almost over. Tomorrow morning I can go to the grocery store – any store that I choose – and buy the items I WANT to eat, not items that will stretch the farthest. I won’t need to think about who has the lowest prices, best sales, or store specials. I can choose quality, freshness, and variety. If my family relied on SNAP benefits, that wouldn’t be the case.
This experience has pointed out something I’m embarrassed to admit – we take food for granted. For those relying on SNAP benefits, food is not a luxury. And subsisting on a limited food allowance is not an inconvenience, but a way of life. Going forward (and for the first time in my life), we will have a food budget. It won’t be as restrictive as the SNAP benefits we lived on all week, but it will have a limit. More then this, we will begin donating a portion of the money we’ll be saving on groceries each week to local food shelves and organizations like Open Arms. These are the people and organizations who know the real value of food and the important role it plays in the lives of those in need. Best of luck to the rest of you taking the SNAP Challenge this week. I hope your experience is as eye-opening as mine.