This is the last installment in our ‘SNAP Challenge’ guest blog series by Jasmine Zandi and Claire Thompson
The SNAP Challenge is done, and it was one of the hardest weeks of our lives. Hangry scale definitely hit a 10 by the end of the week…even for Jasmine.
We were really craving sugar, felt kind of dizzy, seemed to need more sleep and life was just more bland without a Strawberry Slush from Sonic.
On Friday, we went to pick corn. This kind of activity in the Arkansas summer heat required a lot more from us physically than what we had been experiencing earlier in the week working in the office from 9-5. This kind of labor-intensive work requires a lot more energy and more food than we had been eating in the previous days. As if living on SNAP was not hard enough, having any job other than one sitting at a desk from 9-5, or even working out, becomes harder when you don’t have enough to eat.
Obviously, doing this challenge with an end in sight will do little in terms of alleviating anyone’s problems in the real world, but it did show a few teens of privilege that the realities of life can be very difficult. However, an experience like this does make you realize that trying to eat on $4 per day is not livable. People that receive SNAP benefits need to be advocated for, and changes need to be made.
Living on SNAP is hard. It’s like having a whole other job. You have to wake up early, plan, budget, prepare your meals, all while also continuing to live the rest of your life. Meanwhile, the whole SNAP program is often stigmatized and stereotyped. In addition to this “job” that keeps you fed, you have to deal with rules and regulations, and overcoming the negative connotations that accompany being a SNAP recipient.
If you want to help, contact your senator, donate to your local community and food bank/pantry, or volunteer.
- A simple call or letter to your senator can let them know more about the issues that their constituents find important. This is a vital step in the process. Our legislators are elected to be the voices of the people, and they can’t do their jobs effectively without knowing where the problems lie.
- Food banks and pantries around our state and in your local community help alleviate some of the food insecurity that thousands of Arkansans face on a daily basis. Help them.
- Volunteering your time and/or expertise is also a vital asset. Something as simple as taking a day to pick corn that goes to the Arkansas Foodbank makes a world of difference.
If you’re looking for more information, or ways you can help out, check out the “Get Involved” tab of the Hunger Relief Alliance’s website.
Thanks for keeping up with us on this little journey, we greatly appreciate the opportunity to share our experience through Inviting Arkansas and the support that we have received in the process.
~ Jasmine & Claire