The CalFresh Challenge 2015: $4.38/day

kids-feature

I want as many people as possible to understand that hunger affects people even in our city. That it compromises most other aspects of life. And that if you are a child, your chances of success in school, sitting still in class, and reaching the all important milestone of being able to read at your grade level by the third grade and stay out of the pre-school to prison pipeline goes way, way down. I also want to help people see that good, nutritious food is attainable even at the meager $4.38 per day we give the average single adult in California who needs food assistance.  The last thing I hope to achieve, and this really would make my day, is helping people who have misunderstandings about the importance of the program get a more real sense of who the people who use it and why it’s so important. The CalFresh Challenge is a simple way to achieve some of these goals by living off $4.38 per day. That’s what I’m doing.  Let’s get started.First, check out this video.  It’s Republican Senator Bob Dole and Democrat George McGovern. They lead the largest expansion in the Food Stamp Act in history…together.  They left insults and party at the door to do something that matters. It’s a well-done video.

Below you’ll find links to each of the days of this year’s challenge (they’ll go live as I complete them).  Technically it’s supposed to be a full week.  As I said last time, I don’t have any illusions that I am fully putting myself in the shoes of someone who experiences hunger on a long-term basis. But I do think being hungry for a few days every so often and NOT reaching for a snack is a good reminder of what many people deal with, so it’s something worth doing.  I hope you enjoy this series and that it makes you think a little. And if you were inclined to assume that food stamps were just another government program fraught with waste and abuse I hope over the course of this series to shift your thinking just a little with data and some earnest discussion. Cheers.

Living on $4.38/day: Day 1 – Eating Slowly

Living on $4.38/day: Day 2 – Settling in

Living on $4.38/day: Day 3 – Turning the corner

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

This is the second time in three years that I gave this challenge a try. The first time, back in 2012, I also wrote about (here).  One of my passions is increasing economic opportunity for everyone.  Opportunity really does start with a solid education – which means being able to read at a level that allows a child to learn everything being taught. And one of the essential building blocks to being ready to learn is having a basic level of health and nutrition. Economic stability would also be great, but most kids don’t know what “poor” is the way they know what “hungry” is. Organizations like San Diego Hunger Coalition, United Way of San Diego County, and Voices for Children provide essential bridges for our neediest children in a variety of ways. I hope you find this journey interesting and helpful and can provide some of the bits I share about eating on the cheap or policy considerations to those you think may benefit.

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