Friday, July 2, 2010

Food Stamp Challenge: Day 5

Thursday and Friday were whirlwinds. I think both our Capitol and District Offices were working double-speed to get ahead of the short week coming up after a three-day holiday.

My meals last night and today were made up of the week's leftovers. I never did use the two roma tomatoes and still have $.76 left.

But tonight, as I close out the 2010 Food Stamp Challenge, I have made myself a strong cup of coffee out of the 1.5 oz. package of French Roast that I have been saving all week. Have not had a cup of java since last Sunday, and I can say that I am savoring every swallow. For a coffee-holic, this cup is like a special dessert.

As we begin this Independence Day holiday weekend, I think of all those who would like to throw a barbecue for their families and wonder if they will have enough to celebrate.

Although the comments posted on the Woodland Daily Democrat and Vacaville Reporter websites have been mixed, I am glad to see this issue being discussed. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, providing millions of Americans with basic food security.

The first Food Stamp Program began in May of 1939, more than 70 years ago. With our State unemployment rate at least 12%, our economy slow-to-recover, jobs scarce, and the widest gap between the rich and the poor since the Great Depression, SNAP benefits can provide a common-sense lifeline to all those who qualify.

Happy Fourth of July 2010! Mariko


  1. Saw the article in the Sac Bee. Thankfully I have never had to rely on food stamps myself, but I applaud your participation and effort to eat a healthy diet in this challenge. My only comment is that Safeway is probably not the best bargain in groceries. The dollars would go a lot further at Grocery Outlet, Walmart or other discount stores.

  2. Ms. Yamada,

    Along with the others reading this blog, I appreciate your efforts and communication regarding making frugal choices and living on a budget. I hope you know that the "food stamp diet" isn't just for those living off of food stamps. I have a family of four for which I budget $200 a month for groceries, which breaks down to $50 a week, and averages out to less than $2 per person per day. If we could afford to live on a "food stamp budget" at around $4 per person per day, we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves! So, I hope you can see that even families that don't qualify for state assistance make do on a strict food budget, too. And it's a lifestyle more common than naught. Though our food budget is small, we never go without and still manage to enjoy "name brand" and organic foods with the use of coupons and store sales. I tell you this because I don't want you to think that this "frugal" lifestyle that you experiment with each year is an anomaly or only limited to food stamp qualifying households. It's a way of life for many families and can isn't as difficult or depressing as it sounds.

    Thank you for your time, and keep up the good work.


  3. I commend you for temporarily living on a food budget for a taste and feel of the real person living on low income or help from assistance. I lived a similar life for a couple of years back in the 80's, had a job and not on assistance. My job paid for the roof over my head and covered my utility bills. I had a 12yr old used car and it was paid for, but insurance still had to be paid. After paying monthly bills I had $150 left for food, fun, and fuel for 30 days between pay checks. I started riding my bike everywhere to work, visit friends, and grocery shopping to avoid buying gas. I used my sewing skills, learned in Jr High, and spent $6 on fabric from the remnant bin, to make a skirt and 2 blouses for work cause I couldn't afford to buy new clothes. Just thankful I didn't have any kids to support. It was a struggle but food was the least of my worries as I am a good cook and able to create meals from fresh foods w/ leftovers and brought my lunch to work each day. Yours was a good attempt but not a true test as it does make a difference when you don't have a busy job like yours to keep you occupied during the day so you don't have to think about your next meal.
    I have a suggestion for next time you or any other concerned representative attempts to live the real life: I believe more lower income folks shop at lower priced grocery stores to stretch the food stamp $. Safeway doesn't meet that low priced criteria. Try shopping at the Grocery Outlet stores and also visit some ethnic type stores like Mexican grocery stores. Lots of fresh produce for affordable prices and more bang for your buck, these stores are located on Habor Blvd in W Sac, easy access from Davis.


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