grcmc  A proud service of the Community Media Center

Hunger Challenge: Introduction

Neighborhood

Section

More to the story

Follow Along with Samantha and Jackie's Daily Challenges

MLive's Meet our Hunger Challenge participants

Samantha's Hunger Challenge: Day 1 

Jackie's Grand Rapids Hunger Challenge, day 1

 

More About the Hunger Challenge in The Rapidian and MLive

The Rapidian's Hunger Aware

MLive's Hunger Action Week challenge to West Michigan: Can you live on $4.37 per day?

 

Join in 

Add your own photos to The Rapidian's Flickr pool

THE FEED

A summary of my first day taking on the Hunger Challenge

Final tally: The collection of food for the week

Final tally: The collection of food for the week

Not the only one: I noticed that many of the really inexpensive items on sale were often gone or nearly gone.

Not the only one: I noticed that many of the really inexpensive items on sale were often gone or nearly gone.

Left behind: When cashing out, I had to leave my beloved olives and a can of tuna behind. Suddenly, these were luxury items.

Left behind: When cashing out, I had to leave my beloved olives and a can of tuna behind. Suddenly, these were luxury items.

Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported

I suppose an intern's job is never an easy one. An interesting twist of my intern duties arose when my editor asked me to participate in the Hunger Challenge as part of Hunger Action Week.

As you may have already read in the Hunger Aware article, the hunger challenge involves limiting all food purchases to an average of $4.37 per day, which is the daily average alloted for an individual using food stamps.

I am meeting this challenge with mixed feelings. I have lived on both sides of feast or famine, though never delving too far on either side. I've spent $28.00 on a single steak. I've spent winters freezing homemade soups and eating them almost exclusively. I didn't blink when I spent $4.61 at Starbucks at my initial meeting with Jackie Prins, my Grand Rapids Press partner in this project

I did receive food assistance for a period of about six months, with a monthly limit of $179.00. I was able to  manage my food budget within this allotment, though it took much more planning and preparation than during other less frugal times of my life. 

I am currently a college senior working in a minimum wage job for about 15 hours a week. My food budget these last months should have been leaner than it has been. I find myself living outside of my food means often: eating out when I shouldn't or buying foods that are well out of my price range.

Still, I went into the shopping portion of this challenge overly cocky. I didn't make an actual list or plan. I figured I would cruise the sales at Meijer and be in and out. An hour into the trip, and a bracing reality check occured: this is really it for the week. 

Even when on food assistance, I could supplement my food intake easily. I was fed by my parents at least once a week, I got hefty discounts at my job that kept me in meals for almost nothing. Often my roommates would cook and pass their leftovers onto me. I was never, ever without.

And I don't think I will truly be without during this challenge. The food choices I made will sustain me for the week. As I very jokingly stated in the video above, I definitely will live to tell this tale. Despite this, I would be lying if I said that the lack of options for outside food didn't concern me. It's unsettling to know that I can easily run out of food without careful planning.

I'm looking forward to taking on the challenge and know it will teach me a lot about what food insecurity actually looks like.

 

My Shopping List for The Hunger Challenge

 

  • 1 can tuna .82
  •  Bulb garlic .50
  • Bagged lentils 1.25
  • White Rice 1.38
  • Dozen eggs 1.79
  • Jar peanut butter 2.39
  • 7 bananas 1.12
  • Can diced tomatoes .75
  • Loaf wheat bread .99
  • Box angel hair pasta .99
  • Canned pasta sauce 1.00
  • Can refried beans 1.09
  • Bag popcorn kernels 1.59
  • Frozen stir-fry vegetables 1.59
  • 1 lb. carrots .67
  • Taco kit 2.00
  • Bagged celery 1.25
  • 1 bag yellow onions 1.25
  • Block of cheddar 2.00

Grand total: $24.42


Samantha Dine is a graduate of GVSU with a degree in Professional Writing. She's a former intern for The Rapidian, and the founder of the food beat reporters. She loves food, hasn't met a vegetable she didn't like, and wholeheartedly believes in the healing nature of a cheese plate. She recently left GR for the great white north of the Mackinac Straits where she writes, swims, struggles with poor internet connection and carries an eternal torch for her hometown.

Reports on: Food, Events, New Businesses, Etc.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.