The words ‘food’ and ‘challenge’ should never be in the same sentence. For me, the week was filled more with one word and less of the other - and it doesn’t take much thought to figure which is which.
As a coffee lover, this meant no Starbucks. As someone who enjoys an occasional glass of red wine with dinner – guess what? As someone who is a movie freak, this means no snacks, not even water, during the flick. And just try watching a football game at home without getting hungry during the endless commercials!
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I took the SNAP Challenge for a week - $4.15 for food a day – and my food budget wasn’t the only thing that went on a diet. I’ve been trying to cut carbohydrates, but sadly, carbs are cheap. However, I did pretty well balancing my pasta, cereal, and bread with blueberries, tuna, celery, and peas. Problem is… that’s pretty much what I ate all week.
I’ve wanted to take this challenge for awhile and I’m glad I did. It re-awakened me to how I used to live day to day as a rookie reporter – stretching the groceries and appreciating work-related events that served food.
I recall a story on the homeless I covered in Delaware, and how I was asked by a homeless man for a dollar so that he could buy something to eat. I didn’t have it, but I shared half my sandwich. That memory came rushing back to me – how a simple, kind gesture, that might seem small to you, is a matter of eating or not eating to someone else.
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The week also brought to mind more recent images – of faces of children who my family would see on Saturdays here in Connecticut – as we handed out sandwiches at a local church. A few extra bucks a week at the grocery store for us volunteers meant the world to a family with several mouths to feed.
I guess a little karma came with that kindness. Remember the coffee I couldn’t buy? Someone treated me at the end of my challenge. I smiled and was thankful – just like all those who had smiled at me.