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Take The Food Stamp Challenge And Then Tell Me That SNAP Recipients Get Too Much!

Updated on December 10, 2012

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!

How hard is it to eat when you need food stamps to survive? Take the food stamp challenge and find out! Try it for a week and then tell me that recipients of food stamp assistance have it easy. I contend that it is not easy to live on an average of $31.22 per week, per person. I am willing to try it. Are you?

How many times have I had to listen to people, not just on this site, but countless others, say, "Oh! I see these people buying things that I cannot begin to afford." I am tired of it and if that is your opinion, then it is time to put your money where your mouth is, literally! I would further suggest that at the end of the week, take the money that you would have normally spent on food, coffee at Starbucks, McDonald's, eating out, etc. and donate it to a local food bank.

At this time of year, especially, when we are so caught up in the frenzy of holiday buying and getting ready for a Merry Christmas, maybe we could all use a small sacrifice to keep the season of giving in perspective.

In September of 2012, CNBC reported that 46 million Americans were using food stamps. They attributed it to the recession that hit in 2008. The article also discusses the stagnation of wages and underemployment as part of the cause. The International Business Times reports that 16 million of our children are hungry everyday, and that 75% of the families receiving food assistance have family members that include seniors, disabled or children. 85% of the families are living below the poverty level.

I have had my fill of all of the talk from those who say that throwing people off the food stamp rolls will force them to become independent. Sure, let's force our hungry kids to become independent! That'll work! Let's force the working poor to become more independent by starving them! If you feel that way, then have the guts to face a fellow human being who is working hard for low wages and tell them, face to face: "You are a taker, not a maker, and I am tired of helping you eat!"

As I said before, I'm in and I am issuing a challenge to all Hubbers, and anyone else interested---let's do this together and then write about our experiences. This experiment could change some opinions and I cannot predict what those opinions will be, but am interested in any results from this challenge.

The Food Stamp Chart: Monthly Allowances

The Kaiser Institute has published a chart (below) based on 2011 allowances. Either go by your state allowance or use the national average. Remember to divide by 30 and then multiply that by 7.
$133.84 divided by 30 = $4.46 X 7 = $31.22 for a week going by the U.S. average. You can check my math. I lost my trusty calculator...

Average Monthly Food Stamp Benefits per Participant:

United States average = $133.84

Alabama = $135.18

Alaska = $170.83

Arizona = $128.70

Arkansas = $123.52

California = $147.11

Colorado = $140.48

Connecticut = $142.47

Delaware = $126.80

District of Columbia = $141.68

Florida = $139.55

Georgia = $135.37

Hawaii = $215.38

Idaho = $131.95

Illinois = $139.15

Indiana = $131.66

Iowa = $126.33

Kansas = $126.34

Kentucky = $127.60

Louisiana = $130.59

Maine = $128.43

Maryland = $129.19

Massachusetts = $132.29

Michigan = $136.18

Minnesota = $115.08

Mississppi = $123.29

Missouri = $127.05

Montana = $129.66

Nebraska = $122.69

Nevada = $124.36

New Hampshire = $119.54

New Jersey = $133.26

New Mexico = $127.07

New York = $148.63

North Carolina = $124.58

North Dakota = $131.58

Ohio = $139.87

Oklahoma = $128.43

Oregon = $128.25

Pennsylvania = $128.40

Rhode Island = $142.95

South Carolina = $132.21

South Dakota = $132.70

Tennessee = $133.82

Texas = $125.57

Utah = $117.41

Vermont = $122.10

Virginia = $129.55

Washington = $126.19

West Virginia = $119.81

Wisconsin = $116.28

Wyoming = $122.96

Guam = $216.25

Puerto Rico = NA

Virgin Islands = $176.11

I'm Starting on Saturday!

I am going to start on Saturday. Will you join me?


Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    Kudos to you, Jillian, for writing this piece. As someone who received SNAP benefits for a short time, I can tell you that it is in no way enough, and I live alone. Additionally, I felt so ashamed that I used to go to the grocery store during off-peak hours and would quickly swipe the card (at the self check-out) after looking around to see if anyone was watching. I've been without a permanent job for 3.5 years and when my unemployment ran out (after 1 year) I was eligible for SNAP because I received no other benefits from the government. When I landed a long-term temporary job (much lower pay than I previously earned), the benefit ended. Thank you for bringing this to people's attention.

  • Jillian Barclay profile imageAUTHOR

    Jillian Barclay 

    5 years ago from California, USA

    Dear Howard,

    And there it is in a nutshell! You know that your job is so physical that you absolutely COULD NOT make it through your work day, and how many of those who work physical jobs could make it through the day with this type of food budget? Not many!!! Yet so many are trying because they have no choice! My son-in-law works heavy construction and he could not survive on this either. He easily consumes 5000 calories a day and he is far from overweight! He is fortunate enough to be in a union, so his wages are good. Times have been rough for him lately. Some days he works, others he doesn't, but because my daughter works, too, they make enough to eat, and even though they are struggling, they took four large bags of groceries to the food bank last week.

    I know that Mayor Booker has accepted this challenge. More of our politicians should.

    Much love to you, Howard! And watch the weight loss----we all need you strong!

  • profile image

    Howard Schneider 

    5 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

    Excellent Hub, Jillian. These critics are out of their minds. This allowance for food is not even a bare minimum at our prices. Sorry, but I will not be joining you testing this out. My new job is too physical and I have already lost 40 pounds in the past year on this new position. I would not be able to make it through my work day. Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, NJ is doing exactly the same thing as you this week.

  • Jillian Barclay profile imageAUTHOR

    Jillian Barclay 

    5 years ago from California, USA

    Dear lovemychris,

    You have expressed my feelings well! I agree with everything that you have said. It is shameful that we begrudge our fellow human beings food, of all things! I talked yesterday to a woman undergoing radiation therapy for 2 brain tumors (her hair was gone, the tumors were clearly visible, she was a veteran, older, and living on a small disability check) and she clearly put hardship into perspective for me. She was laughing because she was cold- said she had met someone who was "worse off than she" and she gave that person her hoodie. She told me about how lucky she was; that she had once been "houseless" (when her cancer caused her to lose her job), she said- never "homeless" because her "home" was this country, her country. She told me how you can live on Ramen noodles and eggs, but "while that was okay for adults", she felt that it was not healthy for our kids------this beautiful woman who is dying, was the most inspiring person I have met in a very long time.

    It hit me hard! Today when I go to radiation treatment, I am bringing a coat with me- she will be there. Cannot wait to speak to her again (we have treatment within 10 minutes of each other)! This woman made me know without a doubt that your feelings and my feelings are not wrong---we have to help each other and those that resent being "forced through their tax dollars" to help when they feel they shouldn't have to, are wrong!

    I will be eating alot of pasta next week- and that is okay- I am Italian, after all. Clearly not my diet of choice, but I think it necessary to put things into perspective.

  • lovemychris profile image

    Leslie Mccowen 

    5 years ago from Cape Cod, USA

    I'm with you Jillian. Let's see how much people will love oodles of noodles after this!

    It's a scam that people have to beg for food.

    With all the money we have at our disposal, it's a crime if you ask me.

    2.2trillion......sitting in Swiss banks, because they can dammit!

    And meanwhile, old people....disabled people, and children eat poorly. It affects health and stamina and just plain human dignity.

    As one who has availed myself of the local food pantry here during the winters.....

    It makes me angry to see old people on walkers have to beg for food.....makes me angry to see little kids denigrated because mommy is poor.

    But of course, you can't ask for better wages...why that is blasphemy. How dare you!

    Can't ask for cheaper prices on things....why that is un-American after all....Profit uber alles!

    So, people in the richest country used to be in the world have to BEG for food.

    It's shameful....criminal. Shame on us!

    I dare people to this challenge too......see how much they hate Ramen noodles when it's done.

    Walk a mile in another's moccasins....then degrade them if you still must.


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