Rabbi Susan Talve
My least favorite thing is shopping. Jim even does all the food shopping. But a shopping trip to Aldi was the first step in actually taking the food stamp challenge. I knew this wasn't Straub's when the security guard came up to our little group that had gathered to prepare for our shopping trip and told us that loitering was not allowed. This was not going to be easy or comfortable on many fronts.
I had been paying attention all week to the cup of coffee that cost as much as two meals and the sandwich that would have been food for a whole day. I shopped thinking that I was shopping for two. Jim kept saying that he wanted to participate though he didn't really get the point. Having double the food stamps would make it easier to buy enough for the week but planning and coordinating meals was going to be a real challenge.
I thought of the woman who spoke on Friday night and told us she and her five children lived on food stamps while she was going to school. I thought about the luxury of reading every label when my kids were growing up, limiting preservatives, only buying free range eggs. There were no free range eggs at Aldi.
When I checked out at exactly $31.48,two cents short of the $31.50 allotment for the week, I thought it might be a sign that I should do this alone. But the real challenge would be for us to do this together, even if it was difficult. So here we go.
Coffee was the first challenge. For $2.99 I bought a package of Turkish coffee (not at Aldi) that I hoped would last us the week. No need for milk. I know that for many of us it is just a week. But if it helps us to raise awareness for this life-saving program and helps us figure out how to best advocate for healthier food availability and choices for those depending on food stamps, we will be part of growing a movement that just might bring about real change.
Thanks for paying attention.