Could You Live on $5 of Food a Day?

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Co-sponsored by the Coalition Against Hunger & Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia
Posts tagged "sacrifice"

Eileen S. Sklaroff, President Female Hebrew Benevolent Society

I am starting to feel caught between Weight Watchers and a reprise of Passover. Not only am I carefully counting what and how much I eat, but I am also cognizant of all those tempting items in my pantry that technically do not belong to me this week because I didn’t purchase them with my SNAP dollars. A handful of black olives and a few artichoke hearts would greatly improve that Romaine salad. At least on Passover I don’t have to look at forbidden food over and over again.

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Carey Morgan, Executive Director, Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger

SaladEvery Tuesday, my boyfriend and I have a nice salad dinner together. It’s one of our favorite rituals, which I try to make interesting by changing up the ingredients. 

Since he is also doing the Challenge, our salad last night was about half the size it usually is. Less lettuce, not as many kinds of veggies, skimpy on the chicken, no cheese. As I finished concocting the meal, I realized that there was no way this would fill us both up for the evening, so I made the decision in advance that I would eat less than I normally do so he could have a decent sized portion. 

After finishing my plate, he offered me more, which I declined. He, too, was willing to take a smaller portion for my sake. But in the end it didn’t matter. We both were still hungry.

Doing this alone is hard, but feeling guilty because a loved one didn’t get enough to eat is much harder.

Joyia Yorgey

AsparagusSaturday’s habitual trip to the farmers’ market yielded one small bunch of fresh, young asparagus. One-half pound for $3.50 was definitely a splurge, but for the first local asparagus of the year to share with friends, this is one splurge I can easily justify.

I also picked up the rest of my Sunday brunch ingredients at the grocery store; the total, $12.86. I now have only $5.50 left in my food money envelope for the week and four more days to go. It’s a bit stressful to be so close to our budget limit, but I still think we’re going to make it.

Asparagus: Delicacy of Early Spring!

For our brunch guests, I decided to make an asparagus and bacon quiche. A quiche also requires crust, so I opted to purchase some flour and make my own crust rather than buy a pre-made crust. My quiche recipes call for either evaporated milk or cream in the egg mixture, neither of which I have or could justify purchasing, so I had to figure out a way to make do with regular milk.  I also debated with myself over whether to spend $1 on potatoes or go without. Eventually I purchased them, hoping that more food at brunch would also equal more leftovers for later in the week.  

I did not tell our brunch guests that we were participating in the Food Stamp Challenge nor make any apology for the quantity or quality of the food provided.  

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Joyia Yorgey

We hit the weekend (and the official start of the Greater Philadelphia Food Stamp Challenge) with lots of leftover Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken from Friday night, cooked oats and rice in the refrigerator and a healthy pile of fresh produce on the counter. However, complications to our budget, meal plans, and commitment to Challenge rules are already coming thick and fast.

First of all, we had planned to host brunch with friends in a couple of weeks, but they suddenly realized that they will be out of town. The only other available dates were yesterday or at the end of May. So, rather than push off our meal another month (at least), we decided to get together this weekend.

Normally, brunch at our house is a lavish affair involving pancakes or waffles with every topping imaginable, eggs, bacon, juice, coffee, etc.  But to stick with the challenge guidelines, we were going to have to entertain within our food budget for the week.

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Eileen S. Sklaroff, President Female Hebrew Benevolent Society

Coffee was one of my pre-FSC mental obsessions, a non-self-negotiable topic, as it worked out. Not a Starbucks habituée, I make my own - French press with dark roasted, oily beans that usually come from Trader’s Joe’s. But how to justify $7.99 on a $64.40 weekly budget?

Well, I don’t use a full 12-ounce can in seven days, I rationalized… rules of the FSC allow me to prorate… so I added $4.00 to the total spent. Yesterday, Mark started his day in Brooklyn at 9:00 am, and horrible wife that I am, I didn’t get up to make him coffee before he left at 5:30 am. The last thing I remember saying as he walked out of the bedroom was, “Please remember how much you spend on coffee.”

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Robin Schatz, Director of Government Affairs, Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

PastramiToday is Election Day and time for the semi-annual pilgrimage to Famous Deli on 4th Street, where politicians and political aficionados gather to eat, schmooze and kibitz.

I have been a regular at these gatherings for many years, but this year I had to think about whether or not I would go since I clearly can’t afford anything on the menu other than a glass of water.

Sandwiches—which could easily feed 2 or 3 people—cost in the neighborhood of $16, clearly beyond my budget of $5 a day. So after a lot of thought, I decided I would go to Famous, meet and mingle, and drink water. My homemade lunch (a scaled-down version of eggplant parmigiana—$1.30 per serving) will be waiting for me when I return).