The Do’s and Don’ts of the SNAP Challenge
DON’T assume the SNAP Challenge will show you exactly what it’s like to be low income.
Subsisting on $4 per day is just one aspect of poverty. Your fast has an end date, while SNAP recipients continuously live with the uncertainty of where the next meal is coming from. Recognize the privileges that mitigate your discomfort during the SNAP Challenge (employment, transportation, free time, etc.).
DO remember to include advocacy.
Tell your legislators to support SNAP funding. Write letters to the editor and social media posts about the importance of the food safety net. Share links about hunger facts. Educate your social circles about what you have learned.
DON'T go into the SNAP Challenge expecting to prove food-insecure people wrong.
They are experts on their own experience. There is nothing the SNAP Challenge will teach you that a hungry person has not already tried to tell the world. You are participating in the SNAP Challenge not to verify their claims, but to walk with them in empathy, if only for a short time.
DO share your experience.
You may notice things about yourself and the world that you’d taken for granted before. You may confront your own assumptions about hunger and poverty. Pay attention to how hunger affects your emotions and thoughts; imagine living with those effects for months, or years. What changes have you made to your daily schedule? Share these realizations and encourage others to challenge their assumptions, too.
DON’T treat it like a game or an adventure.
Nobody wins the SNAP Challenge. Making it to the end of the week is not a victory. Treat it as an exercise in compassion. Treat it as a reminder to pay more attention to the struggles of people living in food-insecurity, and advocate for them. Cultivate admiration for their resourcefulness and strength in extraordinary circumstances.
DO your research.
Read articles by people who rely on food banks and SNAP. Understand challenges around access to healthy food, food deserts and the many layers involved in food insecurity.
DO consider donating the money you saved.
Take all the money you didn’t spend on food during your SNAP Challenge week, and consider donating it
DO continue your advocacy when the SNAP Challenge is over.
When the week is over, you may be able to go back to your regular eating habits, but people all over America must still rely on SNAP. Keep advocating for policies that better serve them. Keep listening to their stories and supporting them.
What you can purchase with food stamp/SNAP benefits:
What is not allowed through SNAP:
Share your experience:
SNAP Challenge participants are encouraged to keep a daily journal and share their experiences—during and after the challenge—with SAIL as well as their friends, family and others. We just ask that you be mindful that your experience is your own. Recognize the privileges that mitigate your discomfort during the SNAP Challenge (employment, transportation, free time, etc.). Subsisting on $4 per day is just one aspect of poverty. Your fast has an end date, while SNAP recipients continuously live with the uncertainty of where the next meal is coming from.
Participants who join us for the kickoff, closing and share a quick reflection whether through a social media post, blog post or video blog will receive a SAIL Swag bag including a reusable tote bag for your next trip to the grocery store!