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Food Stamp Challenge + Hunger Banquet

Posted on 11/11/2013 @ 07:00 PM

Tags: pep

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Allison Lukas of BBYO Central Region West during the Food Stamp Challenge at Hunger is Not a Game

Later in the afternoon, the teens traveled to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. After a guided tour of the campus, they were given a challenge: a Food Stamp Challenge. They were brought to the grocery store and instructed to write down the prices of enough food to feed themselves for a weekend.

Upon return, they tallied up how much their weekend meals would cost in total. Answers ranged from $6 per day to over $20 per day.

Families who live on food stamps get an allowance of $4.50 per day, or $1.50 per meal.

They looked back at their list and realized that, in order to live on food stamps, they’d have to cut out healthy and nutritious foods. This led into a discussion of suggestions for the Supplemental Nutritious Assistance Program (SNAP) like offering vouchers for more nutritious foods and healthier restaurants. It was an eye-opening exercise that put hunger into perspective.

After the Food Stamp Challenge, the teens transitioned to an Oxfam Hunger Banquet presented by BBYO. After being given identities and income levels (low, middle, high), they sat in designated areas. People with high income levels were seated at white table-clothed tables (20% of the world’ population); people with mid-level incomes were seated in chairs with no table (30% of the world’s population); people with low income levels were directed to the floor (50% of the world’s population).

The coordinators brought this to life by explaining real-world experiences that can happen to people in these three different groups that can switch them to another level in an instant. Then, it was time for dinner.

To represent what people in these different classes truly eat, the high income group was treated to a full buffet, the middle income group was only allowed side dishes and, when the low income group was called up for food, the men went first followed by the women, and they were only given rice.

It was a stark difference in food allowance and gave the teens “food for thought” for the rest of the Summit.

Up next, we’ll spend a night exploring Ann Arbor. Check back tomorrow for more updates!

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