SNAP Hunger Challenge Highlights Hidden Issue

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Champaign- Many people struggle with food insecurity from living on a low income. They have learned how to make a few bucks stretch and many adults are stretching so little to feed multiple people. That is reality for many and this week it's reality for more as some live off of $4.50 a day for an entire week for the SNAP Hunger Challenge.

Those doing the challenge are realizing it is more difficult to purchase nutritional products when on a tight budget.

"Things like protein and fresh produce, the things that you should be eating are often times what people on food stamps often times can't afford," said Kristen Bosch from the Eastern Illinois Foodbank. "They are buying lots of processed foods [and] lots of carbs. Things that make them feel full, but aren't nutritionally dense."

This week, Teresa Brown who works at the Eastern Illinois Foodbank is challenging herself to live like others with food insecurities.

"Starbucks or something like that, those are out," Brown said.

She said, she lives in Monticello and it is only one grocery store in the city. That makes it even more difficult to shop, she said.

"It's not like you can shop around and find those different things," Brown added. "Last night we did some homemade pizza. . . and that's lunch tomorrow. The pasta, I can add the chicken to the pasta and eat leftover pasta."

For Brown, it's a serious test as she thinks if she had to manage a tight budget with several children.

"It truly does open your heart, because I know that there's an end in sight. Imagine we all get those hunger pains around lunch time. What if we didn't know when that was going to end," Brown said.

"It humbles you and makes you appreciate what people are going through on a daily basis," Bosch said.

SNAP dollars can go a longer way in Champaign at farmers markets. SNAP points are doubled, so $4.50 gets turned into $9.
 

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