As I wait for my brown rice to boil to prepare my final dinner of my SNAP Challenge, black beans and rice, I have a few minutes to reflect on my seven days of living on $27.65 – the average amount a low-income, single person would receive in food stamps for one week.
It's been a week of learnings – learnings about food, about other people and about myself – some of which I have blogged about throughout the week. I lost three pounds. By the fourth day of the challenge I found I didn't have the amount of energy that I usually do. I definately was sleeping more. I spent much more time thinking about food, grocery shopping, planning and preparing meals than I ever do when I'm not living on such a tight food budget.
And now that the challenge is nearly over, I find myself wanting to do something to recognize the week. Obviously, going out for a nice meal is out of the question as is a champaigne toast. I'm still living on $3.95 a day, after all, and this isn't an occassion that calls for a celebration. Rather, it requires a call to action for me and others who might want to do something to address hunger in Minnesota.
The first thing I did was make a donation in the amount of $27.65 to my favorite nonprofit that works to address nutrition and hunger in the Twin Cities. I specifically donated that dollar amount in recognition of one of the 440,000 Minnesotans who received food stamps in October.
The second thing I did was visit the website for Hunger-Free Minnesota, a collaborative campaign to end hunger in the state. Hunger-Free Minnesota hopes to get 25,000 people to sign a pledge that reads: "I believe that food is a basic and essential human right. I believe Minnesota produces enough food to nourish and sustain all who live here. And I support Hunger-Free Minnesota in its campaign to end hunger." It took me one minute to sign the pledge.
What I'm doing now is asking others to join me in making a donation in the amount of $27.65 to a local food shelf, hunger relief or meals-on-wheels organization. And I'm asking others to visit www.hungerfreemm.org to sign the pledge to end hunger in Minnesota.
The last thing I am going to do is enjoy every morsel of my Thanksgiving meal on Thursday and wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.