$4.50 in Perspective
Hunger Challenge Week, sponsored by Feeding Illinois members,
challenges you to live on $4.50 a day for seven days. $4.50 a day, including
beverages and not counting food that you already have? That amounts to around
$30.00 a week. When I heard that, it got me thinking what a small amount of
money that is. I spend a lot more than $4.50 every day without even thinking
about it, on stuff that I don't really need. The SNAP challenge made me think a
little bit more about said purchases. For example...
1. The next time I go to Starbucks, just because I need caffeine, or want a
delicious drink, Ill look at the menu and think: I can spend $4.40 on a cinnamon
dolce latte or $4.35 on a Frappuccino. That will give me something to drink for
maybe half an hour, while someone in the SNAP program would have to use that
money for food for a whole day.
2. Sometimes, when Im bored, Ill go to rent a movie. To get two movies from
the local movie rental store, I would have to pay $5.00. Therefore, I would spend
the same amount of money on movies that a person would spend to feed
themselves for one day.
3. One time, I locked myself out of my apartment. I had to spend $30.00 in order
for my landlord to unlock my door. My carelessness cost the same amount that
those on food stamps have for a week of food.
4. My best friend loves buying lotto tickets: if she has a $5.00 bill to spare, it will
go in one of those “scratch-and-win” lotto machines. I had never thought much
about it before, but I now realize that for my friends couple of minutes of fun from
the ticket would feed someone on SNAP for an entire day.
The reason I thought of the aforementioned examples is because, throughout the
SNAP Hunger Challenge week, I realized what a small amount of money $4.50
is. I also realized how much I take that small amount of money for granted,
spending it without even realizing how much that $4.50 can mean to other
people. And thats really one of the points of the SNAP Hunger Challenge: to
understand just how hard it is for people to live on food stamps. SNAP is not the
government giving out handouts, it is basically the government giving those in
need the bare minimum to survive; I will remember that amount the next time I
have $5.00 in my hand and am about to spend it on something unnecessary. To
some people, that money is their livelihood.