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Can you live on $4 a day for food? Take the SNAP Challenge

Can you live on $4.00 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 more than 380,000 people right here in Connecticut, it’s not a question. It’s a reality.

In September, designated as Hunger Action Month, we’re asking our supporters to experience that reality for one week. 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 11 percent of people living in Connecticut depend on SNAP/food stamps to put food on their tables, according to the latest report from the Food Research and Action Center.

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.

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 $4.00 per day, a typical daily allotment.

– 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

This article was posted in Advocacy, Hunger Action, Nutrition, Public Awareness, SNAP/Food Stamps, Uncategorized.

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One Comment

  1. alex
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    My family lives on about $4.76/day (for food) and has for at least the last 5 years. We budget $1000/month for food for 7 people. Over a period of 30 days that works out to $4.76/day. And I have a full time job. If you don’t buy sugary/salty snacks and candies. If you budget properly, you can do it. It might require eating more pasta and stews than I like, but it is definitely doable. (and we don’t use coupons, but we do look for sales.)

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  1. […] liaison to Connecticut’s nonprofit community, Deb Heinrich, on taking the “SNAP Challenge.”   SNAP is Connecticut’s dressed-up name for food stamps, and Heinrich attempted to […]

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