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Can you live on $4.45 a day for food? Take the SNAP Challenge

Connecticut and Food Stamps By the NumbersAsk yourself: Can you live on $4.45 a day for food? Be honest with your answer. That’s how much some of us spend on coffee or latte during the day.

For one out of 10 people right here in Connecticut, it’s not a question. It’s a reality.

And it’s a reality for more Americans today than years past, prompting a guest blogger for The Christian Science Monitor to ask this week: Are you on food stamps yet?

Starting Sunday, we are asking our supporters to experience that reality for one week this month. Called the SNAP Challenge, participants are asked to live as if they are on food stamps, now known as the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Details of the challenge are included below.

Nearly 10 percent of people living in Connecticut depend on SNAP/food stamps in order to put food on their tables, according to the latest report from the Food Research and Action Center. Connecticut is among the top five states, sandwiched between Utah and Nevada, as seeing the most increase in SNAP participation in a span of a year.

The SNAP program helps people and families buy food. Eligible people receive a monthly benefit that they can use to buy food, non-alcoholic beverages and food-producing seeds and plants, according to the website by End Hunger Connecticut!

For one week during Hunger Action Month, take the SNAP Challenge and see how you would do. Here’s what you need to know about the SNAP Challenge:

  • Each person may spend $4.45 per day, the current average daily allotment. (The discussion in Congress right now is to reduce the food stamp budget which would bring the average back down to the pre-recession average of $3.50 per person. If you think you can do it, go ahead and try a daily allowance of $3.50.)
  • You may not consume food and beverages that you had in your refrigerator or pantry (or garden) before your SNAP week begins.
    Your daily allowance is for any food and beverage you consume. That soda from the vending machine counts. Dinner at a restaurant counts. Fast food counts.
  • No free food may be accepted during this time (that means no cookies from co-workers, nothing to eat at that breakfast meeting, etc.).
    With the exception of salt and pepper, you must purchase any condiments you need or want with your monetary allotment.
  • Keep track of receipts on food spending and take note of your experiences throughout the week.
  • You may visit local community soup kitchens or food pantries, but if you do, please make a financial contribution in an amount that at least covers the cost of the meal or food you receive so they can continue to serve people who are really in need. Your financial contribution to that program will not be subtracted from your SNAP allocation.

If you fail to make it through the whole week (which is possible), we’d like to hear what happened. Please submit your comments (and even your menus or recipes) for possible inclusion in this blog. Send e-mail to

Posted by Janet Kniffin, Chief Development Officer of Connecticut Food Bank

This article was posted in SNAP/Food Stamps.

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