I've been thinking about doing this for a while, but I've decided I need to quit "thinking about doing something" and start actually doing it. The food stamp challenge is living a week off what the average person on food stamps has, on average this is $21 (though from what I've read this misrepresents the program because it is designed to supplement food not be the primary source of food, hence the amount one family receives is on a sliding scale). So February 21-28 I will take the food stamp challenge. And the big point is that I will donate the difference between my usual weekly bill (which I should probably compute, but I'm going to say is $44, on average) to a local food pantry.
What this means (and this is something I should maybe think about doing anyway) is that I have to actually compute the cost per meal of everything I eat. I'm cheating a little by using my what's in my pantry (though I will include the cost of everything of course) because in reality, lower income families must often buy based on what's available and on sale and I've kind of already done that (I know that my box of elbow macaroni only cost $0.80 because I stocked up a few months ago, but that isn't always an option with a limited income). But also, I don't have a car so I can't go to the specialty lower cost supermarkets like Aldi or Mayfield foods (which I've seen ads for on the train).
And if it's not already obvious, I will be eating strictly vegetarian for this week. Part of the reason I'm putting it off for a few weeks is to give me time to come up with a detailed budget, which again, is kind of cheating. I get 2 weeks to plan for this, in reality this doesn't happen, families are consistently living off food stamps, they don't have the option to plan two weeks in advance. But I still have farmer's market food I need to use up and potentially some dinners out or at least weird eating patterns when the Case swim team comes to Atlanta (yay!) so instead of making exceptions, I'll start after I know these things are occurring. Again, this is clearly not realistic, but I don't think it defeats the purpose of the experiment. Pardon the double negative. So thoughts, at least at this point include split pea dahl (the spices are super cheap when bought in bulk as I do), eggs, some sort of cheap lentil soup (bouillon cubes are cheap). I'll have to look into what the least expensive breakfast food is, oatmeal, maybe?
Please leave comments on this post, either suggestions for meals I can make for under a dollar per serving or, I would love this, if you are interested in joining me. I think it would be really cool to make this an actual event to raise money for food banks, but I don't know how other people would feel about that.