A Spiritual Journey into SNAP

One family's experiment living on a food-stamp budget

Score Card—Week 1

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We have completed one week on the Lenten SNAP Challenge, in which our family budgeted $147 for food—the maximum benefit for our family of four. [drum roll] We went over budget by $31.20.

[RATIONALIZATION ALERT]

I could easily blame the red ink on all of the other food commitments that I made for last week: Bringing a meal to a friend with a new baby ($12.48 because I wanted to include a fresh salad and its March), or the Saturday pitch-in and house church to which I bring dishes ($17.44), or dinner for EfM ($37.02). Or the $46.48 lunch in the food desert when $25 at the sandwich shop would have done. I don’t even need to take away all of these generosities to come up under budget.

And yes, this food does “count”. Hospitality is a big part of who I want to be and food is a big part of the hospitality I offer. So to have said “no” to chances to feed my friends would have been false. There is the first big choice I’ve had to make on this journey: feeding friends v. budget. So far, being authentic wins.

Like all food stamp recipients, my real budget is by the month, so I just dipped in to next week’s pot and away we go again. That’s the new rule…until we run out.

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