Editor’s Note: Kathy Moran, a longtime volunteer and supporter of Connecticut Food Bank, agreed to take the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge last month and live on $4.45 a day for food for five days. In her sixth and final post, Kathy talks about the end of her challenge.
After my challenge ended, it was time to return to the store to purchase my next “normal” load of groceries. I felt what Robin Williams’ character must have felt in “Moscow on the Hudson.”
In that movie, Williams portrayed a Russian circus performer who defects to the U.S. He is befriended by a family who one day asked him to go to the store and buy a can of coffee. After living a life of waiting in long lines for very little in his home country, Williams’ character was overwhelmed by the quantity and variety of coffee products in the supermarket and fainted in the middle of the aisle. There was so much food on the shelves and in the aisles, so many kinds, sizes, brands, etc. in just one supermarket that it was more than he could handle.
A week earlier, I brought home barely two dozen items that cost under $22.50 and had to sustain me for five days. After having completed the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge, it was a stunning experience to look at the abundance of every kind of food—fresh, frozen, or packaged—in the store.
People routinely go food shopping in search of particular items. They will often take a few new or different items into consideration as they make their selections. But after truly scrutinizing every aisle and option during the Challenge, I was fascinated by the way I saw my old, familiar store and all it has to offer.
One of the most interesting things I was thinking about was that if everyone was more careful and less wasteful with really anything, the “haves” would have more to share with the “have nots.” The habits of responsible conservation would create an abundance of what can be shared with those in need—food as well as other goods.
A friend of mine recently quoted one of the great philosophers who said, “Live simply so that others may simply live.”
I consider myself to be fairly well versed in the state of food insecurity and try to make others aware of the problem and all that comes with it when the opportunity arises. I would recommend taking this Challenge to anyone who can give it a try. It will teach you more about living with food insecurity along with the physical, mental, and emotional factors that so many people have to live with every single day than most articles or lectures ever could.
Dictionary.com defines the word compassion as “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”
May we all grow in compassion so that we may be driven to work harder to alleviate hunger and hunger-related conditions suffered by our fellow human beings.
Thank you for sharing my experience.
Posted by Kathy Moran, longtime volunteer and supporter of Connecticut Food Bank