For the past three days members of the Greater Chicago Food Depository staff have been taking the SNAP Challenge – eating on just $35 for seven days (the average weekly benefit of an individual living on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps).

Steven McCullough, Vice President of Community Partnerships, has been journaling about his SNAP Challenge experience, including his fear he will soon run out of food:

Steven McCullough

Day One: January 7, 2013

I got through the first day of my SNAP Challenge with relative ease.  I had a bowl of cereal and milk for breakfast.  For lunch, I made myself a sandwich of thin sliced ham on multi-grain bread. My dinner consisted of mixed vegetables and pasta with sauce as well as a glass of juice.  For the first day the meals were okay but I am sure I will be sick of eating the same thing by the time the week is out. 

I am starting to worry about whether or not the food I purchased will last seven days.  I am a big-time snack person so I have been eating Cutie oranges, fruit snacks, oat bars and trail mix to get me through the work day. I feel I am front-loading my food intake though and I will need to watch this carefully.
 
Day Two: January 8, 2013

It is a good thing I am doing this challenge the first week back from holiday break.  The kids are back to school, my wife and I are back at work and the entire family is back to our normal routine.  So my eating flow is steady; no big holiday meals, snacking in front of the television, etc.  Nonetheless, I am still fearful of running out.  

Day Two: Steven’s dinner

I had the same meals for breakfast and lunch as the day before.  For dinner, I baked a frozen pizza which I know I should not have purchased (see Day Zero’s post). But I knew I had to pick up my son in the evening and no one was going to be home.  My son Trent is 3 years old and when I talk about food and more specifically when I say pizza, his eyes get wide and mouth starts to water.  I fully intended to prepare something other than pizza for his dinner however when he saw what I was eating he insisted on having some too.  Of course I cave and he eats half of my pizza.  The pizza wasn’t even satisfying.

So far keeping busy has kept my mind off of what I am or am not eating.  When I think about food I get hungry.

Join the Greater Chicago Food Depository staff and take the SNAP Challenge. Share your photos and experience on the Food Depository’s Facebook page or on Twitter (@FoodDepository).