Monday, September 26, 2016

SNAP Challenge - Challenge Complete

by Nicole Milbradt, Director of Marketing

As the weekend came, we finished out our SNAP week with more of the same. The kids loved the syrup we purchased for the pancakes. Probably because the top two ingredients were sugar and more sugar. 

The boxed mac and cheese made for some interesting conversation. As I opened the packet that came in the box and poured it into my liquid my youngest said, "!?!" I explained that I was making the cheese sauce. Her curious little mind went wild... 

"So that is cheese powder? How do they make cheese powder? Why is it that color? Are you sure they used actual cheese in there? Are you sure it isn't radioactive? Stuff that color is usually radioactive."

For the first time since having children, they had mac and cheese left on their plate. During this process, I confess there were times I thought "Man, my kids are spoiled." But I realized that they are just used to eating foods made with natural ingredients and lean meats and having fresh fruits and veggies. All kids should have that same opportunity. Yet one in four children in Pierce County are hungry. 

My family learned a lot from this experience. We learned:

  • Eating on the SNAP budget did not provide enough food for a family of four.
  • We were often distracted by either our empty tummies or our anticipation for the next meal.
  • Being hungry made it hard to concentrate and made us pretty cranky.
  • The foods we were eating caused us to have digestive issues we didn't expect.
  • Parents in SNAP families likely have to give up their own food to feed their kids.
  • Shopping on such a tight budget was extremely stressful.
  • Having to settle for less-healthy options to stay on budget was very discouraging.
But there were positives too. We learned there were many things we could do to help - food drives, volunteering, donating food or money. But if we are really going to make a difference for the families experiencing hunger, it's going to take all of us. I challenge you to try to live on the SNAP allowance for just one day. That's four dollars for the entire day. Can you do it?

Learn more about United Way of Pierce County's work to resolve hunger in Pierce County by visiting

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