Take the SNAP Challenge

More than 705,000 Virginian's Live on $4.13 per day--can you?

November 15, 2020, 12:00 AM to November 22, 2020, 11:59 PM

SNAP Challenge Flyer

Take the SNAP Hunger Challenge!

More than 705,000 individuals in Virginia live on about $4.13 per day - can you?

For Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, Social Action and Integrative Learning (SAIL) will be hosting the SNAP challenge. From November 15th-22nd, we invite you to participate in the SNAP Hunger Challenge and live on $4.13 a day for seven days.

The SNAP challenge is an educational campaign where people are encouraged to budget as a person in the US on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for just one week. $128/month was the average amount individuals in Virginia were receiving from the SNAP, in 2019, though it varies greatly due to family size, income etc. SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps, expects families receiving benefits to spend 30 percent of their net income on food. The SNAP Challenge gives participants a glimpse into some of the struggles faced by millions of low-income Americans who are trying to put food on their tables.


The Challenge provides an opportunity for participants to experience how difficult it is for families living on SNAP to simultaneously avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods, and stay healthy with limited resources. Please note, that SNAP is designed to be supplemental, so when the average person gets a little over $4 a day in benefits, the SNAP formula assumes that person has other money to spend on food. However, there are challenges inherent within access to food and how we address food insecurity and poverty in the US that this challenge can highlight. Our hope and goal is that this has an impact long past the event to have a better understanding of the power imbalances and inequity related to food insecurity in our community.

Join us for the Kickoff on Wednesday November 11th from 3pm-4pm with speakers, activities, and where we will go over the challenge in more detail. As well as the closing ceremony on Sunday November 22nd 5pm-6pm, where we will take some time to reflect on your experiences and how to take action on hunger in our community.


Challenge Guidelines

  • Sign up here https://go.gmu.edu/SNAPsignup to take part in this challenge
  • Attend both the Kickoff and Closing events
  • Each person should spend up to $29 for food and beverages during the Challenge week, which is the average benefit for a SNAP recipient in Virginia. All food purchased and eaten during the Challenge week, including dining out, must be included in the total spending. 
  • Do some research and learn more about the SNAP program as well as Hunger in the United States
  • Visit our Dos and Don’ts of the Challenge for things to consider
  • During the Challenge, only eat food that you purchase for the project. If you eat food that you already have at home or that is given to you by friends, family, or work, you should account for it in your SNAP budget. 
  • Only buy and eat/drink items that are allowed to be purchased with food stamp benefits
  • Try to include fresh produce and a healthy protein each day.
  • Keep track of receipts on food spending and take notes of your experiences throughout the week.
  • Keep a daily journal of the experience. Did you feel deprived or restricted? Did you eat differently than usual? Were you hungry? How did this impact your daily decisions or experiences?  



Participants who join us for the kickoff, closing will receive a SAIL Swag bag including a reusable tote bag for your next trip to the grocery store! 

For more information about the Challenge please visit our website:
https://sail.gmu.edu/program/take-the-snap-challenge or feel free to email us at sail@gmu.edu.