“Let’s be Poor for a Week” Challenge

26 Sep

also titled “The Hunger Action Month Challenge.”  Upon reading the title my first thought goes to awareness. For example,  Breast Cancer Awarness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, where people take the time to be ‘aware.’ This is the time where conferences are held throughout cities. Even products are being sold where a certain percentage goes out to survivors/victims/or just to support the cause. We have to constantly bring awareness to these issues least they slip under the rug and funding becomes obsolete. Nowadays, every month is some type of awareness month. Which is fine. But now there’s a new twist. Because simply being aware is not enough. We should all be called to ‘challenge ‘ourselves. Put ourselves in other people’s shoes. Feel what they feel. How can you completely be aware when you’ve never been in their circumstance. Right. Well, never fear, here’s a challenge for you. For anybody who felt they couldnt do anything for the hunger crisis that is going on in the U.S., now here’s your chance. You have one whole month to ‘sacrifice’. You know, live like the poor folks do. Low income. Impoverished. Homeless. Challenge yourself to be broke for a month and you’ll make a difference

At least that’s what Monica Eng at The Chicago Tribune is doing and also countless others. Excerpt from the kitchn, from the article “Eating on $31 a Week: The Hunger Action Month Challenge” ….

“Could you feed yourself on $4.50 a day? This week Monica Eng at the Chicago Tribune is documenting her attempt to eat on just $31—the amount given per week to the average food stamp recipient—as part of a challenge for Hunger Action Month organized by Feeding Illinois.

The biggest surprise? She’s done most of her shopping at farmers markets and Whole Foods—and still managed to stay within her budget.”

I’m starting  to see countless blogs and articles attempting to challenge themselves by playing ‘broke’ for a week/month and then patting  themselves on the back because they successfully ate on $4 a day. I mean really, can you be that narcissistic. If you really want to challenge yourself how about volunteering to cook a healthy meal for a family in need for a week/month. Now that’s a challenge. And yes there are venues where you can actually do that. What about this challenge, creating a short cookbook, (about 7 pgs, pamphlet size) for basic healthy inexpensive meals to administer to families and indiviuals in need. Also back in the day as a broke college student, I attempted to collect foodstamps. I never ended up qualifying, because I guess I was never broke enough, though my wallet would disagree. But before I could even think about getting foodstamps they made take these stupid job training courses. Mandatory. And when I took so many I was then deemed fit to recieve food stamps (EBT card), even though I never received anything. So  what if prior or while receiving food assistance their should be a option for mandatory cooking/info classes including where to shop and how shop (for unprocessed food), along with of course the job training option. Idk. Just throwing out ideas. Anything seems better than suddenly deciding to live off $31 a week to  you can proudly say “See I did it. It’s not that hard, Homeless Joe.” From a commentor  (Rx) on the article \”Eating on $31 a Week\”, they took the words right out of my mouth….

@bibi99……I totally agree with you. I work for a non-profit social services agency and see hundreds of clients a month who live on less than this every week – who often have multiple children, disease, medications, mental illness, substance abuse problems & no transportation. The majority of my clients lack the skills, motivation, or resources enough to A) know to shop at WF or farmer’s markets or B) how to cook food like this. Many of them are hold down several jobs, care for their aging parents or grandkids, or are fresh out of prison. They rarely have Internet access, and some can’t read at all. Many live on the street or packed 8 deep into studio apartments.

It pisses me off to see how these noble bloggers treat the notion of living like this as some “social experiment” for themselves to photograph and write about. It reeks of sanctimonious self-promotion and blindly classist elitism. My clients don’t give a crap about beet tops and bulk organic barley. Take your $31/a week and give it to someone who no camera, no internet access, no writing skills, no blogger witticisms, no STOVE, and spare me your voyuerism into a world millions of people slog through every day – who don’t need their plight exploited by your patronizing condescension.”


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Posted by on September 26, 2010 in dear diary


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