A huge disclaimer to anyone who may be reading these blogs – this one week experience by my wife and I in no way gets close to the reality of someone who must live week-in and week-out on a low income and depending on SNAP to hopefully get them through the month. However, it does provide a glimpse at some of the issues one might face and there is a value to that because it does negate the claims by some that people receiving SNAP are doing just fine and mooching off the government. Also, there’s nothing like “walking in the miles of someone else’s shoes” for a while to appreciate what you have and enjoy and to be able to relate to their story in some small way.
It’s Day 5 and lunches have to be kept very simple. By midafternoon I’m hungry again. The other aspect to these lunches at my desk is what might occur if you were invited out by co-workers or friends — which did come up. Because my experience is not real to someone living at a lower income, I can let them know what I’m doing for the week and have to pass on going out to lunch. However, in the case of someone actually living this way, the situation becomes one of social discomfort and that person might say something like: “I’m really busy and can’t go out to lunch today”…..in order to cover for their lack of income and possible embarrassment.
The cravings have started. A Boston Kreme doughnut pre-occupies my mind (and stomach) – chocolate covered with creamy vanilla flavored custard filling. I came very close to cheating on this budget. Barbecue is starting to haunt me as well.
I’m definitely not getting my five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. We ran out of bananas yesterday and are down to the last two pears with two days to go. And the mayonnaise jar is scraped cleaner than ever before.
I can’t believe that the lack of eating what I typically do is giving me headaches in the late afternoon and having a negative impact on my energy level. What would this amount to long-term?
Tonight, dinner will be the umpteenth serving of the cheap chili. If I had to live on this lower income, I definitely would be doing a lot of homework on how to get more variety over the long-term. One of the valuable services that Second Harvest provides to our partner pantry clients is walking them through a grocery store aisle by aisle and teaching them how to read the labels for nutrition purposes. Also, explaining what unit pricing is all about and how to stretch their budgets and eat as healthy as possible.
So, two days to go, I’m looking forward to one of my grand daughter’s birthday party. Yes, I look forward to the celebration of her precious life… but there’s also the cake.