Thursday, September 20, 2012

Food stamp challenge?

Katy at The Non-Consumer Advocate is doing a food stamp challenge, where people are trying to eat on a food stamp budget for one week. I have a love/hate relationship with these kinds of things because while I think it can be valuable for some people to truly understand how hard it can be to feed your family on such a small amount, only doing it for a week isn't really much of a challenge. People who are truly on food stamps eat like that every damn day, and doing something for a week and being proud of yourself is a little, well, insulting to them. Or am I reading too much into that?
I wasn't going to participate. Mostly because I didn't want to bother calculating out what we have on hand and how much those ingredients cost ( cup of bulk oats is .X pounds, which works out to this many cents!) and figuring out whether "free" food should count. We have tons of wild salmon in our freezer: if I eat one of those, do we have to calculate the cost of buying it (ridiculously expensive) or is it allowed because it's free?
However, I did find out some neat facts about poverty and benefits in our state. Like the fact that, as students, Shane and I were eligible for SNAP benefits. (I thought at the time that we might be, but I knew we'd be ok so I consciously didn't look it up. I'd rather that money go to people who really do need it.) Also, if I had been participating in this challenge then the weekly allotment for two people in AK (for me and the Boy) would be just over $91--$367 divided by 4 weeks. (Katy's figure was $122/week for a family of four, but that's in Oregon.) A family of four in Alaska gets about $167/week--$668 divided by four weeks.
Despite my intention not to participate in this, however, I accidentally made the decision not to go to the grocery store at all this week. (Yes, accidentally.) When Shane was home we were so busy that when we went to the grocery store, twice, we never actually got more than what we needed for a meal or two. So I didn't stock up on groceries the way I intended. Now we either have to bike (something I'd have to do by myself, since the Boy doesn't have a bike here) or walk. Even having the grocery store so (relatively) close by, I hate making mid-week shopping trips. So I decided not to. We have plenty of food in our house, just not what I was intending to make. So I changed meal plans around to suit what we do have, and left out ingredients we've run out of (like onions). The only thing we've bought was the gallon of milk the Boy grabbed from the corner store. (That kid drinks so much milk!) And we've been totally fine. In fact, despite my fears that we'd eat fewer vegetables I think we've actually been eating more because I've been so conscious about it.
I did open up one of my applesauces yesterday. I feel a bit bad about breaking into my stash of local, preserved food since it hasn't even snowed yet. But oh well. The food is there for eating, it doesn't really matter if I eat it now or later.
And I got a message from my MIL. They got a moose! Now we just need to figure out how to get the moose meat all the way up here. Perhaps I can convince them to travel up here for a few days? Then they could bring some more potatoes, too. I really thought my potatoes would probably last us the whole winter but it turns out we've been eating a lot of potatoes lately! We've eaten about 1/3 of our stash already. Whoops!

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