Food Stamp Challenge Day 1: When Unexpected Guests Arrive Hungry
- on November 18, 2013
Note: Food insecurity is a complex issue. I know that the Food Stamp Challenge in no way fully simulates the real world situations of SNAP participants. Still, I am trying to live on $3.96/day (the typical SNAP allotment) for five days as a learning experience.
The first day of my Food Stamp Challenge was going great until my daughter texted me that she was coming over to watch the second half of the KU football game.
Don't get me wrong, I love it when my adult children drop by for a visit. LOVE. IT. Generally, within the first fifteen minutes of conversation, I ask "Are you hungry?" That's what moms do.
And in the case of my daughter Maggie, a professional athlete who maintains a strenuous conditioning regimen, the answer is typically, "Sure. I could eat." And that's exactly what she said.
The problem was, in my methodical planning for the Food Stamp Challenge, I had not factored in the possibility that I might have to share my groceries with an unexpected guest. I had bought exactly what I thought I would need to feed myself for five days.
This realization instantly gave me a feeling of empathy for parents who are faced with the possibility of not having enough food to go around. I've heard that parents will skip meals so their kids can eat. I realized that I would do that too, in a heartbeat.
As it turned out, I didn't have to. I had all sorts of food around the house that was not part of my Food Stamp Challenge stockpile, and I gave her some of that. Another reminder that what I am engaged in is merely a simulation.
Feeding your young is powerfully instinctual. I can only imagine how damaging it is to a parent's self worth to not be able to put food on the table. It would be devastating for me.