Something to chew on

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The List

Here's the list we'll be working with as a couple dozen Austin food bloggers dive into the food pantry project. It's pretty close to exactly what recipients walked away with when they visited a food pantry in Pflugerville just last week. They can visit once a month.

(We're each duplicating this bag on our own instead of taking one from the pantry and possibly from someone with a need.)

To supplement their monthly take away from the food pantry, many are lucky enough to also receive help from the SNAP program (food stamps) or WIC. The maximum benefit that we heard about during our meeting Wednesday evening was $200 for a month.

So, since I'm doing this for seven days, I'll use the full list as I plan my menu, cook and eat, and keep my "extras" (like fresh produce and dairy) to under $50.

Here's the complete list of food pantry items some Pflugerville recipients took home last week:
  • 2 cans spaghetti sauce
  • 4 cans veggies
  • 4 fruit cans
  • 1 meat selection (like 1 lb. of ground beef)
  • 3 drink items (choice of large bottle of cranberry apple juice and/or powdered milk and/or apple juice boxes)
  • 1 bag spaghetti or egg noodles
  • 1 bag of beans
  • 1 bag of white rice
  • 1 package of jalapeno slices
  • 1 ready-made dinner (like Hamburger Helper)
  • 1 bag/container of oats
  • 1 bag of cheerios
  • 5 lb. bag of potatoes
Update: I just finished my shopping for this project, and my "extras," those things someone might use their SNAP or WIC benefits for, came to $28.17.

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  • Hi Summer,

    I am really interested in seeing where this project goes!


    By Anonymous Marianne, at April 22, 2010 9:47 AM  

  • WTF? The stuff they received from the food bank is supposed to last a month?! Holy crap, I'd go through that stuff in about a week cooking for two, and we don't eat a lot!!

    I'm really interested to see how this turns out... what are the extras you purchased, can you tell us? :D

    By Anonymous Megan, at April 22, 2010 9:48 AM  

  • Oh sure, I'm happy to tell you what I spent my supplemental funds on... :-)

    Bananas, a yellow onion, a pork roast (the priciest thing I purchased, but I figured cooked in the slow cooker we could do pulled pork over rice, pull pork sandwiches, etc.), a loaf of bread, a spice mix (for seasoning meat and potatoes), a jar of our favorite Texas salsa, tortilla chips, cold milk and a package of cookie dough. I'll get a sweet tooth along the way and definitely need a couple!

    I can't imagine the challenge that some of these folks face when trying to make this list last a whole month, I find myself questioning how to do it for just a week...

    Thanks so much for your visits and words, y'all! I truly appreciate it...

    By Blogger Summer, at April 22, 2010 9:55 AM  

  • Hello,
    I work for a non-profit in Columbus Ohio that helps people apply for foodstamps, utility assistance, Rx assistance, etc... I run into a lot (I mean a staggering) amount of folks that for one reason or another do not qualify for foodstamps, particularly the senior citizen community that might make just a few too many dollars to qualify because of their social security income, but who spend almost all of that income on prescriptions and shelter expenses. There are many households living around us that make due on JUST foodbank food, every single month. I met a mom the other day that has lived off of Peanut Butter and Saltines since February so her unhealthy child can eat right AND be able to afford his prescriptions. I commend you for participating in this challenge, and I feel it has real benefits to educate us on hunger, but I also feel it's only fair to point out that many don't even have the luxury of the extra foodstamp allowance, and survive solely on that box of food. Also, I would be curious to your comments on any emotional effects this has on you this week, with your lack of options and constant close budgeting of your rations. Thank you.

    By Blogger Emily, at April 23, 2010 11:03 AM  

  • Hi Emily, thanks so much for your words and for your visit.

    On Day 1, just yesterday, I felt emotions that I wasn't expecting. The worry, the frustration that comes with the lack of choice. And that's just barely scratching the surface.

    I'm sure by Day 7, I will have felt a full range of emotion. I hope that will include an increased level of empathy and call to action, and maybe even I'll find myself getting to celebrate for coming up with a great recipe using just what's on hand.

    Also, each of the bloggers participating are using (or not) those supplemental food stamp funds on different levels. Some will be using the max, some won't be using any at all. That way between all of us, by the end of the project, we've hopefully experienced the full range of possibilities. It makes me hope that my $28.17 worth of "extras" can really stretch over the week...

    I'll definitely keep you posted here!

    By Blogger Summer, at April 23, 2010 11:27 AM  

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