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Take the “Eat on $4.50 a Day” Challenge During Hunger Action Week

September 16, 2010

Could you eat on only $4.50 a day? That’s what Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties and United Way Silicon Valley are asking of people in Silicon Valley. Next week is Hunger Action Week (September 20-25, 2010) to raise awareness of the hunger problem in the community. To drive the point home, the two agencies have issued  an “Eat on $4.50 a Day” Challenge. The amount represents about how much local  food stamp recipients receive (the food stamp program is now called SNAP, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). I learned about the challenge at the recent Santa Clara County Hunger Issues Forum: Hunger, Sustainablity, and Access to Nutritious Food. Organizers encouraged all of us to try to eat nutritious meals on the relatively small amount of money for all or part of the week.

I tend to get competitive with a challenge, not necessarily with other people, but with myself. The more I thought about the eating challenge, the more I got curious about whether I could make it through several days eating on only $4.50 per day. I started trying to mentally price each part of my breakfast, and then quickly realized I probably couldn’t snack at all during the week, since each meal could only total $1.50. I can already hear my stomach growling.

The challenge gets even more tricky, I learned at the website, The $4.50 is for food and beverages, and must include any fast food or eating out in the total spending for the week. It does not include food you already own (not including spices and condiments), which means you have to go out and purchase all the ingredients you are going to use during the week. You are not supposed to accept free food or drink from family or coworkers, including at receptions and meetings. And you are supposed to include fresh produce and healthy protein each day. Participants are also encouraged to keep track of receipts and share experiences on the site’s blog.

So, could you eat on $4.50 a day? Will you for all or part of next week? Let me know if you’re willing to take the challenge with me. I’ll be posting how I fare through the week.


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