Friday, October 16, 2009

Alaska Food Stamp Challenge

The Food Bank of Alaska held a week long Food Stamp Challenge last month. These challenges have picked up steam over the last few years as they moved around the country, encouraging law makers to attempt to live on food stamps for one week.

Inspired by Jessica's Food Stamp Challenge at www., I've decided to join in for the two week experience. I will not, however, be following all the rules.

After consulting with my husband, we determined that we would use our stockpile for staples such as flour and rice, but provide prices as if we had purchased the items during that week. This will likely mean that we will not be getting the best "bang for our buck", but hopefully, I can create a menu plan that is consistent with sales. Additionally, I menu plan and shop for the week on Saturdays, so I will begin the challenge Oct 17th, rather than on the October 19th start date. I will provide three weeks worth of menus and deals to compensate for this difference.

Like Jessica, "my goal is to try to inspire Alaskans to learn new ways to save on groceries and thus become more self-reliant". The point of this exercise is not to judge or shame my neighbors who currently find themselves needing public assistance, and I will not support a forum which debates public assistance policies. Also, I'd like to show that a little bit of effort can help. One doesn't have to become a coupon queen or gourmet chef to provide quality, tasty meals to their family while on a budget.

I hope by entering the challenge to offer the perspective of a WOHW in Juneau, since many of the other participants likely will be 1) families with children and 2) from South Central, Alaska.

Because we are a two person household with some income our budget will be:

  • Food Stamp Benefit - $68.94 per week
  • MFP Voucher - $30 per week fresh fruit, veggies, milk, yogurt, and other perishable items, as if we received a Mobile Food Pantry distribution (Juneau does not have a MFP, but we do have several wonderful food pantries).

This budget seems pretty generous to me so I hope to be able to "stock up" during the food stamp weeks.

I will be focusing on one particular store - Fred Meyer. This will simplify the challenge for me as I gather prices to use for my stockpiled items. Also, I hope to simplify the deal finding as I represent a food stamp-er with limited transportation and computer access.

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