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September 11, 2010
2010 Hunger Challenge

According to the SF Food Bank, the average food stamp recipient in the U.S. receives $4 a day. To raise awareness for what it's like to live on this amount, the Food Bank has been holding a week-long "hunger challenge" for the last few years.

It's pretty simple: Limit your food expenditures to $28 a week and see what happens.

This year I've decided to give it a shot.

Today I had a $2.25 scone from a local bakery and a package of $2.99 Walgreen's pastry for breakfast, a Carls Jr. Double Western Cheeseburger and fries for lunch ($7.31), and I'm headed out now to go retrieve some chow fun for dinner ($8). Throw in two Coke Zeros ($3.50) plus some coffee (50 cents?) and the total for the day was $24.55.

Because the challenge starts tomorrow!

But you can maybe see why I'm interested in it. Along with using it as an opportunity to learn more about food/hunger issues in the U.S., I'll also be using it as a way to pay more attention to my eating/spending habits.

Can I make it through a week without a Coke Zero? Can I maintain some semblance of a healthy diet, or at least a semi-adequate amount of calories, on only $4 a day?

I've been some shopping/planning in advance, and $4 a day, $1.33 a meal, does not go very far. Indeed, it pretty much rules out eating out, even at fast food places. (A Big Mac costs $3.73 and only delivers 576 calories.) Also not on the menu: soda, candy, chips, booze, etc.

My goal will be to eat at least 1800 - 2300 calories a day. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to make it through the first day. After that, who knows?

Posted by Greg Beato at 07:40 PM