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More Thoughts from a Food Stamp Challenge Participant

September 21, 2010

Day One: Thinking about food I don’t have.

A few thoughts from my first day on the challenge:

  • I woke up early in order to bake corn muffins for the week and to make macaroni and cheese.  Tomorrow I’ll have time to make a big meal at home but today it had to be about efficiency. Even though I had one of the mini-muffins for breakfast and often don’t have any breakfast at all, I was so hungry by the time I got to work.  I realized that much of this was in my mind: I was hungry in anticipation of the food I wouldn’t have.  I spent my entire subway ride (45 minutes) doing the math over and over again to see if I could buy a cup of deli coffee (I couldn’t) and trying to figure out the ethics of using food I already had (my leftover peach pie!  sigh) or how much “extra money” my husband counted for, if I was sharing my food with him.  By 10AM I was extremely anxious.
  • I held off lunch until 1PM at which point I heated up my mac & cheese.  I realized that I was lucky that a) I had time to cook this meal ahead of time and b) I work in an office with a microwave. The big dilemma of the day: my office was having our end-of-summer party, which had been planned for over a month.  Free food and alcohol was to be served.  I had to go, but was I allowed to eat, per the challenge?  It started to bring up questions about “people who have food stamps” – would they have access to such events? would they work in an environment where there was a party? – which were truly narrow-minded questions.  But I realized that you can’t assume anything about people on food stamps.  My brother was on food stamps last year.  A co-worker used food stamps last year. They both worked for non-profit organizations. Ultimately, I went to the party and did eat.  I know that extra food helped me sleep last night – I couldn’t stomach any more corn muffins today.
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