Food Bloggers Against Hunger, 2013
Whether it’s dining out in New York City on a weekly basis; buying, making and creating recipes from fresh food staples; or buying allergen-free-for-you processed foods, products many of the food-restricted community rely upon, we as a community typically spend our money where our mouth is, that is, on safe-for-us food.
But what if you, or I, were one of the millions of American families with a medical dietary restriction and living on a government subsidy program like SNAP or WIC, essentially on budget of $4 per day to feed yourself or food allergic child? Could you do it – could I? Could I even get to less than $4.00 per meal? As a social worker, food allergy coach and advocate, I joined Food Bloggers Against Hunger today, April 8, 2013, to blog about hunger in America and food allergies.
Some facts about hunger in America from NoKidHungry.org: "48.8 million Americans—including 16.2 million children— live in households that lack the means to get enough nutritious food on a regular basis. Millions of Americans who participate in the nation’s food stamp program are limited to an average of $3 or $4 per person each day to supplement their food budget. Additionally, the government subsidizes products like soy beans, wheat, and corn..." – which for those with food intolerances or food allergies means big trouble.
So, I looked at what I eat on a typical day and priced it out using costs found through my most recent bill from Fairway Market (NB: all prices are estimates and my math may be off):
Breakfast total: $1.62
2 organic eggs - $0.66 for two eggs
Organic extra virgin olive oil - $0.05 per teaspoon
2 slices gluten-free bread - $0.91 for two slices
Mid-morning snack total: $2.32
1 cup strawberries - $0.83
3 ounces - blackberries - $1.49
MID-MORNING TOTAL: $3.94
Lunch total: $7.60
½ cup organic cottage cheese - $1.53 per ½ cup serving
½ cup Dole pineapple chunks - $0.63 per ½ cup
12 rice crackers - $0.87 per 12 crackers
2 medium carrots - $0.64
2 bell peppers – $1.25
1 Persian cucumber - $0.69
1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes – $1.99
Teatime total: $0.74
1 T Enjoy Life Foods Mega Chunks - $0.31
1 serving K-Kritters cookies - $0.43
Dinner total: $16.12
6 ounce lamb chops - $9.99
2 T EVOO - $0.32
3 ounces organic fingerling potatoes - $4.32
3 ounces Brussels sprouts $1.49
DAY TOTAL: $28.40
I learned, I could not feed myself eating how I currently eat on $4.00 a day; I couldn’t even get past 11:00am.
Here are some posts from Food Allergy Buzz, Food Allergies on a Budget, 5 Dollar Dinners and Food Allergies on About.com about eating food-allergen free on a budget. And here are some ways you can get involved or help:
1. Tell congress Federal nutrition programs are crucial for hungry children
2. Think about becoming a food philanthropist – we need more advocates in the area of specialty dietary needs.
3. For food allergy support group leaders:
- Round up specialty items from your groups to donate to locate food banks (make sure they are marked as allergen-friendly foods)
- Do fund raisers with your food allergy support group for your local food bank
- Ask for donations from your favorite companies to support your local food bank
5. Living Without magazine talked about gluten-free and food banks, they had some great suggestions on how to help: "For additional ways to offer meal assistance to those with special dietary needs, check around your community. Many organizations have food banks. Contact neighborhood churches, your area’s “board for aging” and the WIC program (Women, Infants, Children) in your region. See if your local Meals on Wheels program has options for those on special diets."
Helpful links to learn more:
Feeding America - http://feedingamerica.org/
WIC programs - http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic
SNAP programs - http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap
Food pantries: http://www.foodpantries.org/
Meals on Wheels for the elderly - http://www.mowaa.org/