Archive for Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Just Food challenges Douglas County residents to live on food-stamplike grocery budget

November 13, 2013


The Douglas County food bank Just Food is recruiting volunteers to live on a grocery budget of $3.96 a day next week to spotlight the challenges food stamp recipients face, the group announced Wednesday.

To mark National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, November 16-24, Just Food is encouraging people to live off the average food stamp benefit in Kansas for their per-day grocery spending. Those who want to take the challenge, or those who are just interested in learning more, can meet at 6 p.m. Monday at Checkers grocery, 2300 Louisiana St., in Lawrence. Those participating can shop for their weekly allotment of food at that time.

“While living on a food-stamp budget for just a week cannot come close to the struggles encountered by low-income families week after week, it does provide those who take the challenge with a new perspective and greater understanding,” said Leah Charles, Just Food AmeriCorps member and organizer of the food-stamp challenge, in a news release. “We hope to shed a light on the challenges facing many in Douglas County and the urgency to provide for the needs of low-income residents.”

Just Food, relying on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said that more than 18,500 people in Douglas County are in danger of being without adequate food. Of those, only 54 percent are eligible for food stamps, according to the group.

To learn more or to sign up to participate in the challenge, go to,


5 months ago

So, sounds like everyone is up for the challenge, then?


Scott Morgan 5 months ago

Amy, I'm not sure about the negativity, for at least my family does give when the need is there. When a case as the above is made we find it difficult to give our hard earned monies. Or support expansion of tax funded programs.

So, I will make such a case about a true need.

On the other hand we do recognize and support all the programs (at least the ones we know) in helping with clothing costs for the needy.

Chat with a school social worker about the lack of proper clothing for kids, it will tear your heart strings. You may be one, I was one whom used to comment about jr. and senior high school kids wearing shorts all winter. That was until I found they often didn't have a pair of proper fitting long pants.

As I found as a new parent years ago, kids grow, and kids are sensitive about what they wear.


Amy Heeter 5 months ago

Talking about the needs of the poor is likee arguing about Tiller and abortion. Opinions are already in stone. The solution it to consume within your means it pay the consequences. This challenge to way on a snap budget accomplishes nothing. Those who donate will continue to do so and those who don't won't start to.


Leslie Swearingen 5 months ago

I am a SNAP recipient and I get $98.00 a month. I recently had an insight that I should have had earlier in my life, but did not. I have been buying a lot of snack foods. Talk about health and nutrition went in one ear and out the other. But after reading some comments and columns I realized that I could not afford snacks. If I only buy foods meant for three meals a day I can make it on the food stamp allowance. If I tell myself that something is not in my budget then I will not be as tempted to buy it. I really don't want to go into why it took me so long to figure this out. The important thing to me is that I have. I plan on keeping a written record of the meals that I will plan for this month.

I would also like to add that working people cannot take off work to take advantage of Just Food and like places.


Kat Christian 5 months ago

Irregardless if you like that people receive food assistance it is society's responsbility to help each other. This is what makes us Americans. Would you rather have starving children digging through your trashcans for bites to eat, sleeping under your porches to keep warm? Crime and chaos would hit the rooftops, not to mention our economy would dump because not enough people would be able to afford to purchase food or clothing. So the government is doing the right thing by giving assistance, believe it or not it is helping the economy. The system isn't perfect by all means but its better than the other outcome. I agree that SNAP is intended to be a "supplement" food assistance, but there are many who don't have the extra cash to add to what food assistance they are receiving and it isn't nearly enough to feed a family of 4, especially when they are mostly children and one adult because most households who receive this assistance are usually without one parent. The food they offer in schools is not nearly healthy to eat with empty nutrional value. So stop complaining because you never know you just may be one paycheck away from going hungry and will need help one day. We are all in this boat together and if we all don't start pulling together to help it stay afloat it will eventually sink into oblivion by our own doing.


George Lippencott 5 months ago

Wait a minute. Are we actually asking people to feed themselves on less than $4.00 per day. Exactly what are food stamps. The program is called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Key word -supplement. These benefits are part of an over all assistance net that provides about $23,000 per poor person per year.

Another key word is "nutritional" which is different from the word "hunger". Try as we might we will never get people to eat nutritionally. Throwing money at that problem is like bailing out the Titanic.

Yes we need to take care of people but we need to remember that the advocates get federal money to support additional food programs beyond SNAP and their view may be colored by their jobs depending upon continuing and expanding federal money.

It is time we looked at all out social safety net programs and consolidated and focused them toward a common set of goals. Right now they are scattered all over the government with little coordination or focus.

Let's tell the advocates they need to get organized and present a total picture before they demand more tax money.


Scott Morgan 5 months ago

I agree something has to be done to help, and I certainly agree with John G about using warm and fuzzy names for programs.

We need to be honest, then work to solve the problem of hunger in our nation. Honest as in let's not forget the other programs as public school free and reduced breakfast and lunches. This is around 40 meals a month per each of the assumed 2 in this family having to live on 632.00.

Oh, at least in Lawrence free chow is offered at many locations during the summer. Not great may I add, but calories. Some after-school programs offer snacks too. We must add in the many private/public food pantries, and of course government surplus handouts as well.

I'm serious here, not easy to work a budget for struggling folks, especially when it involves transportation to the pantries and government give-aways. An older vehicle can smash a budget quickly. But.......I think it's disingenuous to claim a family has to live on 632 a month.

In short, let's start with an honest look at the problem.


Beer Guy 5 months, 1 week ago

I went on food stamps for a short period when I broke my arm at work and had to sue my workers comp to get them to even notice I existed. I ate better then I do now without food stamps and they were quick to take away my food stamps when I finally got my workers comp. I have respect for what Just Foods does but I don't believe this $4 a day lie. If anything food stamps were over generous with me. I could of easily been eating beans and rice and been happy for less then $4 a day but instead I was eating steak and lots of expensive trashy frozen foods. Obviously if a family is getting less then $4 a day then they must have other sources of income.


John Graham 5 months, 1 week ago

What else would you have society do to help feed children. They get lunches, in some places breakfasts not to mention snacks when school is in session. Many districts send kids home with goodie bags for the weekend. Some districts have summer programs that provide meals and snacks. There is SNAP to give parents additional funds for food that the parents may or may not actually use to feed their children versus sell for other purposes. I am certainly not happy to see any child go hungry. The parents are ultimately responsible to provide for the children they brought in to this world. Too many of them are failing to provide for their children simply leaving it up to society to do so. Maybe the question should be how does society force the parents to do their job? We can't seem to limit people from having children and we can't seem to make them take care and provide for them once they are conceived. No one has the stomach to remove children from parents that don't provide except in the most extreme of circumstances, and when they are removed they may not be in much better conditions in some foster situations. When parents fail In their responsibility to adequately provide and parent their children there is only so much that society can really do to make up the difference despite the best of intentions.


Steve King 5 months, 1 week ago

The other reality is there are too many children plus, going hungry. How do we fix that?

I've been to Just Foods in a contributory manner and was stricken by the staff's personal mission to be out of a job. To no longer be needed. And I've seen many a "customer" who would go hungry if not for the kind people running Just Foods, over 90% of them working purely voluntary.

People through no fault of their own come upon hard times at times.


John Graham 5 months, 1 week ago

Earlier this week an editorial in LJW reported a family of four would receive $632 per month in supplemental food allowance. If calculated for the entire year to account for 30 or 31 days per month, leap day etc, the daily per person supplemental allotment works out to approx $5.19. This may not sound like a lot but it is 31% more than what the demonstration is using. If the individual monthly max supplement is $200, that works out to approx $6.58 per day. That is 66% more than what the demonstration is using.

The demonstration is not set up in a fair manner. SNAP funds are designed to be a "supplement" not the only source of food funds as previously stated by To Sides. For the demonstration to be fair it must allow the participants to use their own funds in addition to the SNAP funds. If the demonstration forces the participants to use only SNAP funds then any and all results will be invalid. In short they are comparing apples to oranges. If the demonstration is invalid in its design from the start then we must conclude the demonstration is nothing more than an attempted ploy to appeal to the emotions of people in hopes of guilting them into demanding more SNAP funds for recipients. I hope the public is smart enough to see the demonstration for what it is and refuse to be fooled by it.

While I applaud Just Food for the work they do, this demonstration has not been designed to be a fair. It has been designed to fail miserably simply for show but not for reality.


John Graham 5 months, 1 week ago

Thank you for reminding people the "S" in SNAP stands for supplemental. Maybe if the gov't and press would say the actual full name of the entitlement programs instead of giving every entitlement program a warm and fuzzy abbreviation meant not to offend anyone then the public might realize what they are talking about.


Scut Farkus 5 months, 1 week ago

As a Republican I am opposed to Food stamps, therefore I will never use them.


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