All along in Nashville the KNOW Hunger Nashville team and our partners have rallied around a singular cause, to raise awareness about hunger and nutrition in the Nashville area. On May 29th, we came one step closer to meeting our goals in this area with a total of 25 key leaders from across the community in the areas of faith, hunger awareness, community betterment, politics and agriculture at a SNAP Challenge event held at Tennessee State University. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – it’s what used to be known as the federal food stamp program.
SNAP Challenges can be held in many different types of forms and fashions, most typically encompassing living in the shoes of recipients for a week and blogging about it. Our SNAP Challenge is different. We asked community leaders to lend us their afternoon to learn about the misconceptions of SNAP. They had to plan their menus and shop with their teams at the grocery for a week’s worth of meals for a family of four using only $100, the average for the program. After the shopping trip each group gave a presentation on what they purchased and why. The teams were judged on the criteria of best use of resources, creativity and nutrition.
This year’s winner won because of their achievement in all three categories. Their grand total was $94.19 and key items included canned tuna, rice, pasta, chicken, pork and a variety of fruits and vegetables. After the competition and closing the consensus of the group was this: 1.) living on SNAP is hard and 2.) there is no great way to plan for everything that all members on your family need – much less want – on such limited resources. It’s fair to say that each participant left the challenge feeling that they were educated on what it might be like to live on SNAP benefits.
We’d like to give thanks to our partners Tennessee State University, Urban League of Middle Tennessee, Community Food Advocates and The Nashville Food Project for a great day of fellowship and learning. Events like the SNAP Challenge remind us why we do what we do.