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Why We Are Doing the Food Stamp Challenge

Since the beginning of October, at least once a day I am asked why I chose to do a food stamp challenge this month.

Because I wanted to put my thoughts together in a single place and in an effort to answer that question as thoroughly as possible, I present the following reasons:

  1. People are going hungry in our back yards. This isn’t the Sally Struthers kids on the other side of the planet, these are people in our neighborhoods that we see every day and have no idea they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
  2. People are wasteful.  Statistics show that the amount of food wasted every year by the average person in North America is enough to feed someone for nearly two months. That’s between 200-250 pounds of food waste per person per year in North America and Europe.
  3. People are “too busy”. Last time I checked we had the same 24 hours in a day that our parents and their parents had, yet even though technology has made our lives “easier” than ever before, we are somehow too busy to eat right. We are too busy to look at sales fliers and too busy to clip coupons.
  4. People don’t understand food anymore. We can guzzle a 2 Liter of soda but can’t choke down a glass of water. Our kids are taught that macaroni & cheese and French fries are vegetables and many people eat fast food daily. Our diet is killing us and people don’t realize that what we are eating is the cause.
  5. People don’t realize that it is overall cheaper and healthier to cook at home. Blinded by convenience foods and dollar menu convenience, we don’t realize that we are paying a much higher price for our food than we knew, both in terms of our money and our health.
  6. People don’t know how to cook.  We have become a society that wants a microwave dinner ready in 5 minutes. We have lost the knowledge that previous generations survived on – cooking and food preservation.
  7. People don’t know how to grow their own food. I have made it my lifelong goal to help teach people to grow their own food at home. It isn’t difficult, it isn’t expensive and it isn’t going to get any less expensive at the grocery store.
  8. People are closer to needing food stamps than they used to be. The recession has put previously well-to-do people in a position where they have to be more careful with their money than they used to. Foreclosures are displacing hard working families and many of us are no more than a paycheck or two from needing government assistance.
  9. People look down on food stamp recipients. When we see someone take out their EBT card (or their food stamps before that) we roll our eyes, we pay closer attention to the items in their carts. We judge.
  10. People are hungry and people should not be hungry. (see #1)
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