Food Stamps Don’t Buy Diapers

Harvesters SNAP Challenge Day 3 – While driving to work yesterday, I heard Eminem’s Eight Mile theme song “Lose Yourself.” The lyrics, “Food stamps don’t buy diapers” resonated in my head. There are so many things Jeremiah and I use every day that you can’t buy with SNAP benefits. For example, here are just a few items I used this morning:

  • Soap_in_blue_dishToilet paper
  • Paper towels/napkins
  • Foil
  • Storage containers
  • Baggies
  • Paper plates
  • Soap
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo
  • Shaving cream
  • Deodorant

The list goes on and on. I hope you will think of these things and donate them to Harvesters when you can. Barrels are available throughout the year at area Price Chopper stores. If you would like to learn more about hosting a food drive, please contact Harvesters at 816-929-3055 or fooddrive@harvesters.org.

Yesterday, Jeremiah asked me why if it is so difficult to spend only $4.50 per person per day on food that SNAP benefits haven’t increased. Unfortunately, many of the people making decisions about our national budget have never experienced living on food stamps. If you participate in the Harvesters SNAP Challenge or are a recipient of SNAP, I hope you will use your voice to educate your elected officials about the challenges of living on $4.50 per day for food. Based on the challenges Jeremiah and I had with our menu, I completely understand why many SNAP recipients run out of benefits three weeks into the month. Each month over 141,000 people in northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri rely on Harvesters to help feed their families. I complete understand why so many of the pantries who receive food from Harvesters are reporting increases in the numbers of people they are serving as the economy appears to be healthier than it was just a few years ago.

Jeremiah and I are very lucky. We are both college educated people. We have careers that pay us a living wage. We are fortunate enough to be at a place in our lives where we can go to concerts and dinner without too much thought to the cost doing so. Unfortunately, like so many people, we have debt. The vast majority of our debt is student loans. For the last seven weeks, we have been participating in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. This week’s lesson was about investing to build wealth. I’m very proud to say that we are both doing a good job saving for our retirement. I asked Jeremiah the other night why if we can save as much as we do for our retirement that we can’t figure out how to live on a $45 food budget for a week? Jeremiah reminded me, it’s always easier to save money when you have it than to try to save it when you don’t. I know we will make this work though.

 

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