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Food Outreach Hunger Challenge

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I’m spoiled when it comes to food and I know it.  Here’s a breakdown of my typical week’s eating:

  • Breakfast for me consists of cold cereal and soy milk.  I have a pantry stocked with five different kinds of cereal that I mix and match.  I’ll typically have some raisins for my breakfast dessert (every meal needs to end with something sweet!).
  • I eat lunch out with my husband and toddler every single day.  We don’t go to chains and rarely go to places that would be considered “family” restaurants.  Since he’s been going out to eat his whole life, my son is fairly well-behaved.  If he starts to get too loud, my husband or I will take him for a walk (but, that doesn’t happen too often).  One of my son’s favorite foods is sushi.
  • In the afternoon, I’ll have a snack, some fresh fruit, a piece of a $7 bar of chocolate, or whatever the cupcake of the week happens to be (remember, too, that the cupcakes often contain free ingredients provided by companies so that I’ll share their products with my readers).
  • Because my husband takes food photos for several local magazines, a few nights each week our dinner is the food that he has photographed (the chefs typically give it to him because after he’s taken the photo, they can’t serve it to a customer).  Other nights, my husband might cook.  He does all of the cooking and he is incredibly talented.  When we cook at home, it often costs almost as much as when we go out to eat since we shop at Whole Foods and buy expensive fish and meat and impulse buy any new and exotic ingredients we see.  But in reality, Jonathan almost never cooks because he doesn’t have to.  If we don’t have any free food or leftovers to eat for dinner, I may just have cereal because I’m so full from my giant lunch.

I am lucky.

This week, our family is taking the Hunger Challenge on behalf of a unique non-profit organization called Food Outreach. Located in St. Louis, Food Outreach provides nutritional meals to individuals facing HIV/AIDS or cancer who also struggle financially. It is very strenuous for these individuals to eat nutritiously because they often rely on Food Stamps, which provide just $29 a week for groceries. Today through Saturday, our family is eating on $29/person ($87 total) to spread awareness of the necessity for Food Outreach’s services (and services provided by other similar organizations throughout the country).

I know that for some of you, this may not seem like challenge – this is your life.  I’m someone who can’t think of the last time I went three days without eating in a restaurant and I have gone a lifetime not paying attention to what goes in my grocery cart as long as I am happy with the ingredients.  This is going to be a major challenge for me and my family.

Because this is a cupcake blog, I have given myself one additional challenge.  If I can do so without sacrificing the nutrition of my family, I am going to try to make a small batch of simple cheap cupcakes at the end of the week.

I will share Hunger Challenge updates throughout the week both here and on Facebook and let you know what we’re eating and what I’ve learned.

Join me in this challenge by visiting to pledge $29 or to find out how you can help.

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9 comments on “Food Outreach Hunger Challenge”

  1. minifysays:

    I admire your honesty – so many of us are so fortunate, and it’s so easy to forget that! I’m really interested in the challenge! I have a question, though. If I stopped buying food this week, my little family could eat really easily on the things I’ve stocked in the pantry. Are you limiting all of your meals to just things you buy with this week’s budget for the challenge?
    Looking forward to hearing what kind of cupcakes you whip up for the challenge!

  2. That is really a great challenge, I would be able to feed my husband and I for weeks on what I have in the freezer in the garage and our pantry food…it does make you think.

    Good for you to try and eat home more and not go out so often, even if its for the challenge, maybe it will be come a habit you will like, and a great example for your son.

  3. Awesome challenge! I like to read all of your blog posting & find great collection of cupcakes! Love your blog :)

  4. Kamailesays:

    hats off to you and your family! It would be interesting to see if I could pull off $87/week for groceries. Good luck to you.

  5. My spouse and I for the sake of cutting back posed a challenge of spending $300 on all of our needs. Probably more than many families have but it was a great challenge. For me it made me get more creative. I think he possibly ate better during this challenge because I really got back to baking. Our fancy eating out was CBW and Chipotle. :)

  6. I hope as part of the challenge that you do more than just challenge yourself to eat for considerably less per week, but that you maybe consider donating the money that you would normally spend to the food outreach program you’re campaigning for. Not necessarily just this week, but on a regular basis. There are very very few people who eat as well as you do, maybe you could help others out a little bit.

  7. I know I’m a little late to the game but frankly I think it’s irresponsible of this NPO to say that a person cannot eat healthily on $29/person/week.

    I’m a single mother of two, I support my parents and my grandma. I am the ONLY person in my house hold working. I budget $200 per paycheck for groceries (including cleaning and laundry supplies). So that’s $100 per week. I get WIC which comes out to be about $25 per week and my grandma gives me another $100 per month or $25 per week. That comes out to $150 per week for a family of 6 or $25/person/week. We do NOT struggle to eat healthy at all. My family has 3 square meals a day plus snacks. We don’t eat packaged/processed foods – I try and make everything I can from scratch. In my experience it takes about the same amount of time to make hamburger helper as it does to make the equivalent from scratch.

    Maybe instead of telling people they need more money to live on they should be teaching them how to live on what they have. But that’s just my opinion.

  8. Katiesays:

    Why do you eat out every day? Honest question. Just seems like something I would never even consider.

  9. Stefsays:

    Katie – It’s a great question. It’s just a habit that we’ve fallen into. We enjoy eating out not only for the food, but for the dining experience. It gets us out of the house and around people and we get to try a bunch of different flavors with less effort.

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