Catholic Charities : Diocese of Des Moines
Food Stamp Challenge Day Three: Bologna again, frustration setting in
March 23, 2012

By Ken Bresnan, Parish Outreach Liaison, Catholic Charities


Welcome back to the Food Stamp Challenge.  I realized in the beginning that it would be a challenge.  What I didn’t realize is that it would also be emotional.


Working through another day on $4.50 is still a challenge and a new experience.  Besides my awareness everyday that there is no money left for any snacks, morning coffee somewhere, and a mid afternoon pop, I am really starting to feel a sense of lack of freedom. 


My Menu - Day Three
My most recent day started with the ubiquitous cereal with a banana and coffee.  Lunch returned to the infamous bologna sandwich with chips and a can of pop.  That took me to
$2.80 so far for the day.  Supper then would have to come in at $1.70.  Therefore I could have a quarter lb of 80% ground beef hamburger in my Hamburger Helper along with some canned beans. Not much meat once cooked. My other choice was half a frozen pizza with a small apple. I went with the Hamburger Helper meal.


Observations about choice and frustration
Normally when I go to the grocery store or plan my meals for the day or week, I really don’t have any boundaries. Naturally I can’t have steak and shrimp every day, but I am used to a variety with a meat or fish and vegetables and fruit every day.  But when I go to the store now, I don’t feel that I have much choice. There are thousands of items in the grocery store but I am learning that there are only a small percentage of those that I can work with.


The frustrating part is that this is what I came up with after walking up and down most of the isles of the grocery store.  Let me emphasize that the frustration part is really showing itself. As I was looking for items I didn’t have the feeling that I had much choice at all. 


As I have said before, the empathy is increasing each day that I do this project. Save to


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