From Sunday, March 26 to Saturday, April 1, Community Action Center of Northfield Executive Director Jim Blaha will be participating in a SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the Food Stamp Program) “food challenge” as part of the Community Action Center’s (CAC) Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign efforts. The challenge is to eat a simple diet on a very limited budget. According to the government’s measure, a household unit’s food should cost slightly more than one-third of the unit’s income. The discipline required and the self-imposed limits on household members prohibit items that many people expect to have, like snacks or beverages. For instance, under SNAP’s eligibility requirements, two married adults, who have two children and a net monthly income of $2,025, will receive around $42 per month in SNAP food support in addition to what they’ve personally budgeted, which is an assumed one-third of their income.
Others taking the challenge alongside Blaha include Northfield Mayor Rhonda Pownell’s family, Northfield Public Schools Superintendent Matt Hillmann’s family, and Jeff Johnson and Teri Knight of KYMN Radio. Community members are invited to participate, assuming the limit of around $5 per day for all food items. Participants are encouraged to reflect on their food challenge experiences through writing, video clips or photos, some of which will be featured on the CAC’s Facebook and their website. Participants’ reflections can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
March is Minnesota FoodShare month, a statewide effort to fight hunger and help keep over 300 food shelves around the state stocked throughout the year, and this food challenge serves to put in perspective the assistance received by families on the SNAP nutrition program and raises awareness about the impact that going hungry has on families.
“Often times, this government assistance isn’t enough to sustain families. Our food challenge boils down to eating on no more than $5.14 per head, per day. That includes coffee out, any snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as purchasing choices,” Blaha said. “An exercise like this puts our neighbors’ needs into perspective.”
If community members are interested in participating in this challenge, they can call the Community Action Center at 507-664-3550 for more information.
“It goes without saying that a stable and nutritious food supply is vital to living a healthy life and supporting a household as well as helping children perform at their best in school,” added Blaha. “We often don’t realize what others may be up against in terms of barriers, like access to adequate nutrition, reliable transportation to the grocery store or the time to cook balanced meals for their families.”
The Community Action Center of Northfield exists to promote a healthy, caring and just community for all people through resources, advocacy and volunteer effort. We help our Northfield-area neighbors meet basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter, and provide crisis support, transportation and more. For more information about the Community Action Center, visit www.communityactioncenter.org or call 507-664-3550.