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Hunger Challenge: Day 1

A summary of my first day participating in the Hunger Challenge
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Follow along with Jackie Prins, taking the same challenge for the Press


Grand Rapids Hunger Challenge, day 1: Staying on budget, resisting offers of food


More About the Hunger Challenge in The Rapidian and MLive

Samantha's Hunger Challenge: Introduction

The Rapidian's Hunger Aware

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

MLive's Meet our Hunger Challenge participants


Join in 

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The lentils I was supposed to turn into a healthy soup on Day 1.

The lentils I was supposed to turn into a healthy soup on Day 1.

Right as the summer is ending, the first days of my hunger challenge are beginning. As I mentioned in my previous article, I am having somewhat mixed feelings about beginning the challenge. To stave off my now growing panic of running out of food, I ate almost as little as I could during Day 1.

I had a fairly busy Labor Day, helping my brother move, trying not to think about food.  It was hard not to be reminded of the challenge, however, because the front page story in the Grand Rapids Press featured an introduction to the hunger challenge with photos of my partner, Jackie Prins and myself. 

Jackie and I had our first conversation about the challenge last night, and I can see she is going to be a great person to share my thoughts with and bounce ideas around. She explained her shopping process to me:

"I spent $20.95 on groceries, because I needed to save some of my budget for my trip out of town this weekend. I bought oatmeal and brown sugar for breakfasts. Veggie pasta and tuna and white beans to make for a few lunches, ground beef and stroganoff mix, PB&J, a few ramen noodles and eleven apples. Oh, and a cheaper version of a Crystal Light type thing. I found the most difficult items to buy were produce. The apples were the most expensive item I purchased."

She and I have chosen a few similar strategies: getting off coffee, veggie pasta, increased peanut butter & jelly consumption, limited produce and drinking mostly water. I am very curious to see how she will hold up during her out of town trip next weekend. We are planning on using $4.37 for one day of exclusive dining out, to add challenge to challenge.

My parents and siblings were very excited and proud of me for taking on this challenge and having the story featured in the Press. I received a few other supportive messages from other family and friends. It's great to have the support, and I hope I make them proud.

I was surprised to see a few dissenting comments online about the hunger challenge. I naively made the statement on Saturday that "hunger issues aren't controversial."  I couldn't have been more wrong there. Online, there is endless debate about the validity of the food stamp programs, gardening versus purchasing, coupon usage and food choices made by low-income individuals. It's intimidating. I feel like I'm being offensive with absolutely no intention of doing so.

I am not doing this challenge to support or refute any of these arguments. I'm glad people are talking about hunger. Regardless of the reasons behind it, people in Kent County are food insecure. I wouldn't say that is a controversy: hunger happens here. For me, the purpose of this challenge is to create awareness, to get people talking and thinking about this issue, and hopefully finding their own way to help.


My Food Diary for Day 1


Breakfast: Two slices of toast with peanut butter

Lunch: Tuna fish sandwich with cut up celery

Dinner: Intended to make lentil soup, but instead had the rest of the tuna and air-popped popcorn.

Jackie and I had our conversation after 11 p.m. last night and I was feeling pretty hungry and uncomfortable sitting up in bed chatting with her.

I am going to make an effort to make some lentil soup for Day 2 so I can have something a little more healthy to eat throughout the week.

Overall, a good start: I'm feeling excited. Not sure if this excitement will last for the next 6 days, however.

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