Food Stamps


I recently read an article in our local newspaper which featured interviews with our community Food Bank officials. The article really made me think, as one statistic stated that Food Stamp benefits equal about $96 per person per MONTH. If you count 30 days in a month and 3 meals in a day, that’s $1.00/meal per person. Wow… is there a way to eat in a healthy way with that small amount of money?

During my grocery shopping and cooking, I have been thinking about that number. I bought a potato wrapped in plastic ready to microwave for my granddaughter and that cost $1.00. I guess that could be a quick meal for someone. Of course, there would be no extra side dishes or even condiments to put on top of it. But, a plain baked potato can actually taste good.

For breakfast you could purchase a large box of Shredded Wheat for $4.00 and a half-gallon of soy milk for $3.29. If you ate a bowl of cereal every morning, that would be $1.04 per breakfast.

I’ve got a recipe for some good and easy bread that you can make with self-rising whole wheat flour and a tablespoon of olive oil. The small bag of flour costs $1.69 and you could probably get 5 or 6 loaves from that bag. The olive oil costs $8/bottle. One loaf of bread would be about fifty-eight cents. Add an apple for fifty cents and you have a lunch. To add a tablespoon of peanut butter would put you over the top.

If you purchased a tub of spinach for $4.29 and steamed a small portion every night, you could get the cost down to sixty-one cents a meal. Add 1/4 box of spaghetti ($1.59) and 1/4 can of tomato sauce for another fifty-one cents and those dinners would total $1.12.

A can of beans costs ninety-nine cents and a bag of beans costs $1.15. If you cooked the bag of beans with an onion (thirty-five cents) and a bag of carrots ($1.39) and made it last for 3 meals, that would be ninety-six cents a meal.

This gets really hard and most of us would definitely lose weight if that’s all we had to eat. As we gather around a full table this Thanksgiving, let’s be extremely grateful for what we have and let’s be very sympathetic for the plight of those on food stamps. Don’t begrudge them their $1 meals.

© 2010 Melinda Coker

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