How To Live On A Tight Budget

November 5, 2011 by staff 

How To Live On A Tight Budget, To step into the shoes of those living in poverty, VI Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen spent a week living only on the national average weekly allowance of food stamps – and 31.50.

The national food stamp challenge, organized by the fight against poverty with the Faith, October 27 began and ended on Thursday.

“I was hungry most of the time. I have hungry now,” Christensen told The Daily News on Wednesday.

The lesson learned from the experience?

“That’s hard to live food stamps,” he said.

The national food stamp challenge was created four years ago by several religious organizations to draw national attention to poverty in the United States to encourage people to participate in the struggle for a week. Christensen was one of a number of legislators in Washington who participated.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp program provides assistance to more than 45 million people across the country.

In the Virgin Islands, 9922 households – 23,684 people – to participate in SNAP.

To be eligible for SNAP benefits, an applicant’s net monthly income must be no more than the federal poverty level. In fiscal 2011, a family of three could earn over 1384 and net income per month.

According to Lydia Rhymer, director of support services in the VI Department of Human Services, the increased income requirement for fiscal year 2012 to 1545 y.

Rhymer said, 4.2 million in SNAP benefits paid to residents of the Virgin Islands in fiscal year 2011.

While Christensen had to live and 31.50 – the national average used in the challenge – VI residents who have no income and receives about 64.25 per week, Rhymer said.

Christensen bought most of their food in Washington, DC, where food prices tend to be less expensive. When he traveled to Santa Cruz de Toro and Pan’s Day, the officer brought the food with which she had done.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides the monthly amounts of SNAP benefits, which are higher for people living in the territory they reside on the continent because food prices are higher here.

Two staff members Christensen, Shanna O’Reilly and Thomas Shelley, also participated in the challenge.

“Once I decided I would do it, I realized I really had to plan,” said Christensen. “It was tough, and took a lot of planning to stay within that, and 31.50.”

He spent more time shopping than usual, shopping around for the best price and think about every purchase you made.

The first challenge was to ensure the correctness of coffee a day. She knew she could not afford to buy the 6.99 and can of ground coffee you normally would, but he found a package of seven single serve packages of 99 cents.

She also began the week by buying a whole chicken, and used every part of it at the end of the week. Of a chicken that makes sandwiches, several snacks and soup. On the last day of the week, she used the gizzards and re-do the chicken and rice.

A single potato spread through three meals – french fries, mashed potatoes and sauteed with onions and leftover vegetables.

She was also humiliated by the decisions that had to do. Wanting to make a soup with bok choy, stayed in the supermarket, knowing they could not pay the 1.99 and for the whole head. He asked a store clerk if he could take a few leaves of a head and pay for them, but the employee was not sure and Christensen did not want to bother with the store manager – who was without the plant.

She did end with a few leaves left over from his daughter, but calculates the “buy” to 60 cents in your food budget.

“Do not buy food,” she said.

The delegate meals, even with the food that she made to her from Washington to Santa Cruz. When she got stuck in the Miami airport for six hours, I had the luxury of buying a snack at one of the many food vendors. Instead snacked on two free cookies and a small Gouda cheese.

The only supporting material included in the menu for the week were the elements available to the public – a blow bread and fruit in the church, and the bull and bread in the celebration of Freedom Day on Tuesday.

In addition to coffee, drink water and bought unsweetened Kool-Aid. The challenge allowed the use of dressings and condiments. She took the packets of sweetener from various places that used to make unsweetened Kool-Aid and coffee.

With the possibility of cuts in funding for SNAP, Christensen said it is important for the country to experience what the people who depend on food stamps everyday experience.

“These are programs that are always on the job,” said Christensen.

She said that if the “super committee” formed recently in Congress to cut at least 1.2 billion dollars over the next 10 years is successful, the food stamp program and other, net, shall be saved. If no, programs will likely face cuts and damage, he said.

“This is one to put ourselves in another’s shoes to see what living on food stamps. But to make a statement on poverty and protect the food stamp program to make sure it is fully funded and protect all social protection programs, “said Christensen.

This week, the delegates signed a resolution to reduce poverty by half over the next 10 years.

“Poverty is the cause of health disparities that I work every day,” he said. “If we are ever to close the gaps in health care, we have to deal with poverty.”

Living in such a tight budget, it was hard to stay healthy and strong to avoid real hunger, said Christensen. She said that you can now fully understand the link between poverty and health.

“I’m sure when they receive two-thirds through the months, they reach the end of the short month, and that is very destructive to the health and welfare,” he said.

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