ALAMOSA — The average person who receives food assistance in 2019 only has $4.46 to spend on food each day.
Managing to get full and to make healthy choices while shopping on such a small budget can be a challenge.
Mayor Ty Coleman and AmeriCorps members are learning more about this reality by taking part in the “SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge” during La Puente’s Hunger Education Week.
This challenge involves living on the limited food budget of a food stamp recipient for one week, so they can get a sense of what it is like to try to eat healthy on food stamps.
This means spending only $4.20 per day, per person, on everything that you eat, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, seasonings and drinks. At the end of the week, they will calculate the difference from what they usually spend on food.
Instead of spending that extra money on themselves, they will go shopping for the Food Bank Network of the San Luis Valley, which will provide more choices for those in our community who often struggle to put enough food on the table.
Hunger is a reality for many individuals and families in the community.
It’s important to raise awareness on this issue and takes steps to address it, but the best education is lived experience.
Many will never know just how hard it is to walk up and down an aisle searching for the most affordable option; or what it feels like to spend much of a day worrying over whether one’s children will have enough to eat; or how difficult it is to work on a half-full or empty stomach to stay on budget.
It can be easy to forget that this is a daily reality for some of our neighbors even though most of have never felt it themselves.
Participants will journal their experiences and shore them next week in the Valley Courier. While those taking the SNAP/Food Stamp challenge recognize that they do this of their own free will, others in the community are not given a choice, participants take this small step in solidarity — hoping for a day when hunger will be an issue of the past for the San Luis Valley.