Hunger Action Week: Can you eat for $3 a day?

When people think about the “poor” or the “hungry,” it’s often a vague concept that leads to visions of hollow-cheeked Third World children.Here’s a fact you may not know. About one in six people in the United States don’t have enough to eat. The shifting economy prompted the largest percentage of Americans in history to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps). In February, the figure hit about 44 million people. The “hungry” may be your neighbor or suffering from unemployment, or your cousin the single mother struggling to pay for rising health insurance bills and still put dinner on the table for her kids.

Hunger Action Week is about empathy in action. Simply put, it’s an effort to see what it takes to eat for $7 per day, the amount that those on SNAP receive. Some beneficiaries have additional money for food, others use food banks and many cook more creatively. What would be your strategy? Why not try it for a week and find out?

I’ll be taking the challenge and writing about it next week. The one rule that I break is that I use food I own as I don’t want to waste perishables, but I figure out the cost if I purchased it new.

Hunger Challenge rules:

  • Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner spending only $7 per day.
  • Salt and pepper don’t count but all other seasonings, cooking oils, condiments, snacks, drinks, and everything else do.
  • Don’t use food you already own.
  • Don’t accept food from family, friends, coworkers and others. Not even the free samples from Costco!
  • Try to include fresh produce and healthy protein each day.
  • Keep track of expenses, food choices, and recipes and share your experiences on United Way of King County’s blog. They will have a prize for the best recipe.

About katflinn

Kathleen Flinn is the author of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry," "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" and "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good." All are published by Viking/Penguin.

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