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Food Stamp Challenge
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Jessica Maudlin
(800) 728-7228, x5832
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100 Witherspoon Street
Louisville, KY 40202

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SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge

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 and month after month, it does offer those who take the Challenge with a new perspective and greater understanding.


Key Facts About SNAP

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Guidelines for taking the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge:

  • Look up the monthly SNAP benefits in your state and determine your budget.  Take the monthly total, divide by 30 and multiply by 7. 
    • This is the amount you will have per person for one week.
    • Take this amount in cash to ensure that this is all that you spend. 
  • We suggest that you buy all of your food for the week at once, maybe on the Saturday before you start the challenge. 
    • Shop only in stores or farmers markets who accept SNAP benefits so that you are selecting food from places where those who receive food stamps can shop.
    • Check with your farmers market to see if they offer 2 for 1 for SNAP benefits.
  • Start the challenge on Sunday morning with breakfast.  Consider having a commitment service during your church’s worship service and treat participating in this challenge as a type of fast.
  • Try not to eat other food you already had in your pantry or refrigerator outside of what you buy with your allotted money, with the exception of condiments and food you have grown in a garden or community plot.
  • You may add any food that you grow! Community and small space gardens are a wonderful way to add fresh healthy food to everyone’s food supply.
  • If you dine out, you must use your allotted money.
  • Try not to eat free food unless you are in a situation where those who use food stamps can also freely access this food. 
  • If you are unable to keep this fast, take heart and keep trying.
  • Journal, take photos and videos of your experience.  This is an experiential, educational opportunity to learn about our nation’s safety net program for those who aren’t making enough income to cover basic needs like food, shelter and health care.

What you can purchase with SNAP benefits:

      • Produce and canned goods
      • Meat and dairy products
      • Dried goods, beans and rice
      • Breads and cereals
      • Baby food and infant formula
      • Soda, chips, and candy
      • Coffee and tea

What is not allowed through SNAP:

      • Alcoholic beverages
      • Cigarettes
      • Hot food or any food that you eat in-store
      • Medicine and vitamins
      • Non-edible household items like paper towels, toilet paper, and soap




  • I began the SNAP challenge this morning planning on using only the food which I purchased yesterday. The total was over for a week, but well under what could be purchased for a month. I bought a whole chicken which will provide several meals and 2 pounds of ground beef which will provide four different dishes which can be divided into 2 portions each. The first comment I would make is about the care with which meals must be planned so that at the end of the week you are not totally fasting. I would actually say that it is wrong to look at this challenge as a fasting experience. For those on the SNAP program it is a way of life, to understand the challenge we must ignore the temporary nature of our participation in this manner of providing food for our table. by Libby Sigmon on 11/16/2014 at 12:44 p.m.

  • Thanks Dorothy! If anyone at your church has further questions please let us know. by Jessica Maudlin on 11/15/2013 at 9:06 a.m.

  • Its a great idea. I will take the challenge and have it sent on to my church for future considerations. by DorothyGeyer on 11/14/2013 at 9:24 p.m.

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