Monday, November 12, 2012

It's one thing to pretend

Michael DiPlacido

Here is what I bought for my one week Food Stamp Challenge:
$5.85     2 lbs. tilapia filets (8 filets)
$9.60     2 lbs.  skin-on salmon filets (8 filets)
$8.00     2.30 lbs. boneless ham steak
$23.45  Total Amount Spent

I figure it is enough for me to live on for the entire week.  I have $8.05 unspent from my budget.  If I run out of food to eat, or feel the need to eat more than what I have now, I will spend the remainder on additional items. 

Day 1: Today went well. I had only one meal, dinner. I worked hard baking challah at CRC this morning and afternoon. I ran some errands. Went home and relaxed for a few hours, and decided to fix dinner around 7:00 PM. My cooking routine changed as a result of the Challenge: instead of microwaving my meal, which is how I prepare virtually every meal, I used the broiler to cook my two pieces of raw fish. I am so used to Straub’s fully-cooked Lemon Pepper Tilapia and Grilled Salmon, I was a bit concerned that I would not like this new fare. But, I was pleasantly surprised: it was delicious.

My meal consisted of the following: 1 tilapia filet ($0.73), 1 salmon filet ($1.20), ½ lb ham steak (0.575 lb.) ($2.00) for a total of $3.93. So, I have 57 cents to carry over to a future meal, if I feel the need. 

It’s one thing to pretend that you are on food stamps, living on $31.50/week, but what we aren’t simulating here is all the other insufficiencies that many people on food stamps may endure.  Just the fact that I was able to “run some errands” this afternoon in my car, for example, sets me apart from a real food stamp recipient. Many people on food stamps don’t have a car, and thus are severely restricted in where and when they can go places, and what they can do. I am grateful for the independence that a car gives me to do the many things I want to do.  

Some people on food stamps don’t have heat or electricity in their houses or apartments simply because they can’t afford it. I’ve seen entire families living in one room of a two story house, because they can only afford to heat one room. I am grateful for my warm and well-lit home.   Many people on food stamps don’t have warm clothing to wear as the weather begins to get colder. I have more than enough clothing for all seasons; and if I need something new, I get into my car and drive to a store and buy what I need or want. I could go on and on. The point is that there can be so much more to “being on food stamps” than simply having only $31.50/week to spend on food. I am grateful for the opportunity this simulation gives me to consider these things.

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