Results of my week on the $4.15 per day SNAP Challenge

Published 9:00 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2015

As part of Hunger Action Month, I took the SNAP Challenge for a week, along with several other community members. With its requirement to feed yourself on just $4.15 a day, the SNAP Challenge gives participants a glimpse of the struggle to obtain adequate food that millions of low-income Americans, and far too many residents of our community, face (more than one in four children in our community face food insecurity).

One common outcome was anxiety over planning for the week and the constant choices that had to be made at the grocery store. We found that the more affordable food choices were those with less nutritional value, higher fat and refined sugar and carbohydrates. We had to decide whether or not we could do without coffee in the morning or a drink before dinner, or both (gasp!). We cut coupons, searched store sales and purchased off-brand products and we spent hours determining how to get the best deals on our food.

It became clear to us that food insecurity creates daily anxiety and takes a lot of time out of each week — it’s like a part time job. I was able to take advantage of the vegetable garden at my house, free coffee at work and I ate leftovers from a staff lunch one day. Another day, someone brought me an apple and some chips for a snack. But what about those living in poverty without the same resources that I have? Is it true that goods and services essentially cost more for those living below the nationally recognized poverty line? And these realizations have come after making these choices for merely a week.

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So this is your opportunity to join a movement that has a real and lasting impact on our effort to feed more Americans than ever before. Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry is asking local families help us extend Hunger Action Month and to volunteer or to continue making generous donations of food (please no glass jars) through mid-October. Your contribution can be dropped off Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. – noon at 134 White Drive in Columbus.

Also, remember our inaugural Empty Bowls Fundraiser will be held Saturday, Oct. 10 from 4 – 7 p.m. at Overmountain Vineyards in Tryon. One hundred percent of the proceeds from this fundraiser will be used to purchase food for local individuals and families struggling with hunger. To purchase tickets for Empty Bowls, please visit

– Submitted by George Alley
Executive Director
Thermal Belt Outreach Ministry