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Food Stamp Challenge: Continued

By Lori on 11/07/2011 @ 04:56 PM

I am still attending a conference with an abundance of food, but I have managed to go without. Lunch was particularly difficult today. There was whitefish, lox and fantastic Jewish delicacies. I ate a sliced tomato and a banana. Although I cannot truly understand the feelings of an individual on food stamps or to have to choose medication over food, I have grown more sensitive or aware because of the Challenge.

When someone who is in need is allocated approximately $31.50 per week for food, grocery shopping becomes a delicate and well-thought-out procedure. Similar to my approach to the buffet, an individual experiencing economic hardship and on an extremely fixed income must approach the grocery aisles with forethought and perhaps longing. Just as I wanted the lox and whitefish but opted for the sliced tomato, an individual on food stamps may have to choose a can of tuna over fresh fish, canned goods over fresh produce or simple carbohydrates over lean proteins.

Of course, I am not the only one who is struggling with the Challenge, as income limits the choices that are available. One congressional representative shared that she had “peanut butter and crackers for breakfast.” Another representative tweeted, “this #foodstampchallenge is going to [be] really hard. [I] checked prices in [a local supermarket] and [it is] so easy to blow the whole week’s allotment.”

I understand that all people are not able to subscribe to the food stamp “diet.” However, there is an opportunity for others to take part in the Food Stamp Challenge. The next time you are in the grocery store, see the amount and type of food that $31.50 purchases. One point of this Challenge is to create a greater awareness of the struggles of those who are in need.

If you are able and inclined to do so, another way to participate is through a donation of $31.50 or more to the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, as Federation supports many programs and services that feed the hungry and provide financial assistance to those in need. So, if someone is in the position to have to decide between necessities in life – like providing day care for their children versus proper nutrition – a scholarship for day care may make funds available for more healthy food items. Also, you can also donate $31.50 worth of kosher, non-perishable items to the JCS Kosher Food Bank, operated by Jewish Community Services of South Florida, a local partner agency of Federation.

Your participation is important, as we cannot have a Jewish community without the community.

Lori Dearman

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