SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) -- Reporter Juliette Goodrich and food blogger Amy Sherman are among those taking on the San Francisco Food Bank Hunger Challenge.
The challenge has participants eating on just $4.72 a day. Some may be skeptical about whether or not this is possible, but spending just $33 a week on groceries is a reality for those on a food stamp budget.
Hunger Challenge Day 1
While shopping at Foods Co, a discount food store, Goodrich and Sherman had to decide between nutrition and the cost.
Among the groceries bought: bread, tortillas, pasta, oatmeal, cheese, and rice. What are not included are luxuries for people that are pinching pennies everyday, like butter or cooking oil.
The first hunger challenge lunch was quesadillas. The chicken was only $0.39 per piece with salsa becoming the cooking oil. The cheese that was bought earlier that day was divided for a weeks worth of lunches. No frills, no condiments, and just water to drink. This was their lunch for a dollar.
Hunger Challenge Day 2
The challenge to find a balance between finding affordable food and sacrificing for nutritional value came as a strong reminder from Sharon Carter. She is one of many who use food stamps to buy her weekly groceries.
For the next two weeks, Carter's tight budget has forced her to buy just a few items, many of which you may not be considered healthy.
"Well, I got top ramen, peanut butter, rice and beans and that's basically it," Carter said.
Fruits and vegetables fall outside of the price range for those on food stamps, so rice and pasta become the staple foods used to fill one's stomach. But being full doesn't mean being nourished.
However, on a small budget, feeling full and buying what you can afford can be more important than the quality of food.
A single person making $14,157 or less, couples who make $18,330 or less, and a family of four with an income of $29,055 or less qualify for food stamps.
Seniors who receive Social Security do not qualify at all, which can come as an added difficulty for people who already have trouble paying the bills.
If you are looking to help, consider volunteering or donating to the San Francisco Food Bank or your local food bank.
Hunger Challenge Day 3
The San Francisco Food Bank started the Hunger Challenge four years ago. Every week, hundreds of thousands of food are donated and collected.
Trailers full of food such as produce arrive at the food bank, where volunteers sort, repack and shelve the products. Every week, 400 tons of food can make its way to the bank. From there, food will be delivered to more than 400 local non-profit organizations including soup kitchens, pantries, and homeless shelters.
Dozens of people have decided to take the Hunger Challenge-- walking in the shoes of someone who is a food stamp recipient. The reality is, however, that many people are facing every week of their lives with just less than five dollars to spend on food.
That is why the food bank has become such a crucial piece to food stamp users' lives.
The food bank is fueled by donations and volunteers. After a major federal funding cut of nearly $600,000, donations have become ever more vital.
Hunger Challenge Day 4
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