Editor’s Note: Kathy Moran, a longtime volunteer and supporter of Connecticut Food Bank, agreed to take the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge earlier this month and live on $4.45 a day for food for five days. We will post her experience in this blog over the next few days. In this entry, Kathy recounted the difficulty she faced as she shopped for her food for the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge.
I didn’t have as much time as I would like to have had to look through the sales flyers before heading to the store to buy my food for the week, so I just decided to go to my local Stop & Shop. It was tough enough to read through the sales and having to really think through my options, but actually going to the store and keeping a tally of what I was buying and trying to balance nutrition and desirable foods with what I had in my pocket was even tougher.
I tried to avoid buying five $1 TV dinners, but instead purchased some fresh meat, only a quart of milk, a package of frozen veggies, a package of chicken, two small sweet potatoes, and a small TV dinner to make up most of my meals.
YoCrunch was on sale, thank goodness, so there was a bit of granola with yogurt for breakfast for a few days. The least expensive bottle of juice was $2.50, so I opted for a box of Capri Sun fruit punch at $1.97, which would give me 10 servings, enough to have one at lunch each day with a little left over. Snack cakes were on sale for a dollar a box, so I bought one so that I could have a little something sweet each day.
My original list changed a few times as I wandered up and down the aisles looking at various items, thinking about how I’d make them last over the course of the week, and how I’d try to make things interesting. I ended up walking in circles, adding one thing, taking something else out of my cart, and repeating this until I finally had enough.
Walking through the store, I couldn’t help but notice what everyone else had heaped in their carts and thought a lot about what I normally would have been putting in mine. This was certainly a humbling experience and I wondered if anyone was curious as to why it was taking me so very long to pick out such a small cartload of food.
It only took three cloth bags to carry my week’s worth of groceries and they weren’t even heavy. Other than the few things that needed to go into the fridge, everything fit in one small space on my counter. This would be my food for the duration of the challenge.
|Little Debbie Cake||$1.00|
|Canned beets (1 lb)||$0.85|
|Canned greens (1 lb)||$0.69|
|Lipton Soup Mix||$1.00|
|Hunts canned tomato sauce (28 oz)||$1.00|
|Barilla elbows (1 lb)||$1.00|
|WG chicken tenders (1.25 lbs)||$3.80|
|Stop & Shop frozen mixed veggies (1 lb)||$1.34|
|Banquet salisbury steak dinner||$1.00|
|Garelick Farms milk (1 quart)||$1.39|
|Big Daisy white bread loaf||$1.00|
|Five medium bananas||$1.34|
|Two sweet potatoes||$0.81|
|SB peanut butter||$1.88|
|Capri Sun fruit punch (10 count)||$1.97|
Posted by Kathy Moran, longtime volunteer and supporter of Connecticut Food Bank