Cory Booker recently had a conversation on Twitter with a lady from North Carolina about free meals at schools and food stamp programs. A challenge came from this conversation that Booker and the North Carolina woman would try to live on a food stamp allowance for a week. The federal food stamp program is called SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Hence, the SNAP Challenge is born. We thought we’d join the challenge. I deliver food to people in need as part of my town’s neighbors-helping-neighbors-type program so I’ve seen many, many bags of groceries that should feed a person for a week. I thought I could use that knowledge and my mom’s training in thriftiness to my advantage.
My only qualm here comes right from the name. It’s supposed to be SUPPLEMENTAL assistance, not all the money you’ll need to feed your family. So, trying to live off the allowance that you get from the program isn’t what it’s intended for, really. But, I can see past that and see the good that could come from trying to understand what it’s like for a family who’s trying to live on the income that is low enough to meet the eligibility requirements for SNAP. So, I made up an income for Ed and myself and plugged our numbers into the NJOneApp.gov website to find out what we’d qualify for. I knew you had to make less than $2000 a month so I said that we made $1900. The rest of the questions I answered for real, including rent and utilities information. After it crunched our numbers, the website said we’d qualify for about $59 a week in SNAP benefits. We have our grocery limit!
So far, I think we’ll be fine. Here’s what we bought at ShopRite for the week taking advantage of sales and low-cost proteins (frankly, a lot of this stuff is what we already buy):
Better Oats – Oat Revolution oatmeal packs – 2 packs – 10 servings, $2
ShopRite Omega3 eggs, 1 dozen – 5 servings, $3.49
4 bananas, $1.36
6-pack romaine hearts – 6 servings, $3.99
6-pack mini cucumbers, $2.99
3 cans Starkist tuna, $3
2 cans garbanzo beans, $1.38
Pfieffer salad dressing, $1.88
Progresso Soup – 4 cans, $5
Chicken drumsticks, $3.63
Chicken leg quarters, $2.83
Shake N Bake, $1.99
5 lbs. bag potatoes, $2.99
Ball Park hot dogs, $3.99
Hot dog buns, $1.39
Goya baked beans – 2 cans, $2.58
On-Cor salibury steak, $1.99
Colonna penne, $0.79
Colonna tomato sauce, $0.77
Italian Village meatballs – 2 meals worth, $3.99
Pork chops, $2.28
5 bags, assorted Hanover frozen vegetables, $5
Grand Total: $58.95
Wow! I can’t believe we came in within five cents of our total! I thought we’d be close but not that close. Good thing I didn’t get five bananas.
Stay tuned throughout the week to see what we’re eating.
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