Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 7

Saturday night I got to enjoy my last SNAP meal of gallo pinto with a friend who brought over some Chinese food for himself. I have 2 eggs, 3 carrots, some corn flakes, a little milk, a serving of sleek, and $1.85 left over. My friend asked me, having done this for a week, to imagine what it would be like if I had to do this week in and week out, without a choice in the matter. My first thought was that it would be exhausting. After all the careful planning, extra shopping to find bargains, and extra cooking time to turn those foods into the healthiest meals I could make, I am certain I could not sustain that effort week to week. I would have to opt for more processed foods in busy weeks and be hungrier and less nourished as a result.

I am aware that there are some who would look at my leftover food and conclude that current levels of SNAP funding are sufficient. But what does it mean to make it through, to get by?  I have lost approximately 4 pounds over the week, a function of not having enough Calories to maintain weight despite having foregone all of my usual exercise. (Eating the leftover food wouldn't come close to closing that deficit.) I felt at different times hungry, spaced out, emotionally sensitive, depressed, head-achy and tired, all of which I attribute to my food intake. I know that $32.14 in DC added up to less than enough this week.  I know that living on this food budget long term would be a severe detriment to my health and well being.  Could I do it? Yes. Could I do it without suffering? No way.

Justice demands more - a better national food policy, a stronger safety net, and more from all of us to advocate with vigilance to end hunger and poverty.

No comments:

Post a Comment