SNAP to it Food Stamp Challenge–Day 24

By Sharron R. Blezard, June 24, 2010


I’ve been thinking way too much about food over the last 24 days. My pantry has been analyzed more thoroughly than ever before. I’ve questioned my shopping skills, I’ve second-guessed my decisions, and I’ve done well some days and poorly on other days. I’m still ahead of the game—barely—but there are still six more days of June and a hungry teenager in the house.

Don’t get me wrong…there is plenty of food to be had in the fridge and pantry. The Lucas women will finish the month with ample food to spare and full bellies. We are among the lucky ones. My daughter will not go to bed hungry tonight unless she chooses to do so. Granted she would much rather have sushi from Green Life than leftover pasta or, perish the thought, beans and rice with salsa. I would love to have a box of store-brand Triscuit crackers and cheddar cheese on which to snack, but I’m not going to cave in. Technically, even though our budget is uber tight for the rest of the month, I could make it happen. I can provide, even if it means taking a few books to the used bookstore. Options are there.

Yet, we persist. We will see this SNAP Challenge through until the end of June. If I’m counting SNAP pennies on day 30, then it is a good lesson and reminder of how close to the margin we really live. Without family and friends, I am now just a month or two away from financial disaster thanks to the move and job search. I could be in this position FOR REAL. Thankfully, I will begin a new ministry position on July 1, and I start teaching English as an adjunct instructor in September, so we should be alright; we will persist and thrive where we have been planted.

I will persist in learning and growing. I am not a coupon maven—with just the two of us I’ve never seen the point. Now I am reconsidering after a conversation today with a woman who has couponing down to a fine art. With just a little effort, I should be able to save more AND give more, too. I need to learn to do a little more planning upfront to maximize my shopping dollar and learn how to combine trips and determine when a deal is really a deal in terms of time, gas, and cash.

Today I saw this tiny plant growing out of a crack in the retaining wall near my apartment. It’s a tiny tree, determined to live in spite of impossible obstacles. This little plant is a fitting metaphor for so many people who face daunting odds each day yet who somehow manage not just to survive but to thrive and do their part to make this world a better place.

Like this little plant, I want to grow against all odds, to stretch my arms toward the sun and blossom so that one day I can provide shade and a place to rest for the weary, produce fruit, and sow seeds for the future. Whether I ever become that mighty oak I haven’t a clue. That’s not what really matters; no, the important thing is to live each day with gratitude, purpose, and grace.

Thank you SNAP Challenge, thank you for teaching and inspiring me to reach beyond my comfort zone. Oh, yeah…only six more days. We can do this. How about it?

State of the Pantry

I bought a 99 cent cup of coffee at Green Life this morning, using my own travel mug, and a few strawberries for a $1.18 as part of an interview. My daughter had asked me to bring home sushi, but I declined given the state of our SNAP budget and knowing that she may want milk or orange juice before the 30 days are up. She was fine with that and fixed herself a batch of pancakes for brunch. I had cereal and milk for brunch, peanut butter and a Dove chocolate for snack, black beans, brown rice, and tomato for lunch. Supper was angel hair pasta with vodka sauce and the last of the melon.

Website of the Day

Check out one of my fellow compactor’s blogs by clicking here. She has a great essay today entitled “The Beauty Standard of Food Privilege” that is part of her reporting on the June Food Stamp Challenge.

About the Author

The Rev. Sharron Riessinger Blezard is an ELCA pastor currently rostered in the Lower Susquehanna Synod. She came to ordained ministry after teaching secondary and college English, working in non-profit management and public relations, and moonlighting as a freelance writer. See more posts by .

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