In support of Novus's 2014 Food Drive efforts, the VP of Global Sales and Marketing, Samson Li, took the pledge to participate in the SNAP challenge. The SNAP challenge encourages participants to spend only $1.50 per meal in order to get a sense of what life is like for millions of low-income Americans facing hunger. You can find more information about the SNAP Challenge here: http://feedingamerica.org/get-involved/hunger-action-month/snap-challenge.aspx
During the SNAP Challenge, Samson kept a detailed log of his experience. For the next five days we will share his journey with you. Please see below:
I was very interested in participating in the SNAP Challenge. It reminded me of similar programs in Hong Kong that I participated in that were organized by World Vision, an international philanthropy organization. To fundraise, I had to go 30 hours only drinking water or orange juice. Every year, tens of thousands of people participate in Hong Kong. It is very meaningful and helpful to the children in developing countries. I was surprised that even in a developed country like the United States, who has an abundance of resources and wealth, there is a still a high population of hungry children. Participating in the SNAP Challenge reminded me how lucky my family and I are. We should not take food for granted and we should always appreciate what we have today. We should not forget to help when we can, and there is always an opportunity to help.
The period of the SNAP Challenge was over 5 consecutive days, and did not fit my schedule with traveling and family events. I had forgotten about the Memorial Day holiday, and knew it would be an additional challenge.
Day 1 May 24th-Shopping Day:
Taking the SNAP Challenge
How did your shopping cart look compared to a normal week? What choices did you have to make about the types of food you could afford, where you shopped, or the nutritional quality and variety of food
I received a reminder from my Outlook calendar to remind me the Challenge started the following day. I had planned in advance to do my shopping for the next 5 days so that things would be easier. I made a mistake by assuming that all supermarkets are open 24 hours or at the very least, closed at 11pm. I typically go to Schnucks, but heard of ALDI a few months ago from a colleague. I had thought Schnucks was much cheaper compared to World Market or Whole Foods.
I went to ALDI after I ate dinner at 8:30pm, thinking I had enough time to shop and calculate the amount of food for the next 5 days. I didn’t know there was an ALDI so close to my home, and when I got there, it was closed by 9:00pm. I was then forced to go to Schnucks to do my shopping. It was not a very good start by knowing that I would have to compromise on the amount of food I could afford. With only a $4.50/day limit in mind, I would allot $1.50/meal x 3 meals per day. I was thankful it was not $1.00/day, or I would have had to stay in bed to minimize my activities to avoid calorie consumption.
Once I entered Schnucks, I thought I would start with breakfast. I was convinced I should have a big breakfast, medium lunch, and a light dinner – very strategic and healthy. Therefore, I was looking at the bread – a private label by Schnuck’s – and found that prices were so affordable that I could have 1-2 slices of break in the morning with milk. I then checked the price of a gallon of milk to save the per liter price. Frankly speaking, I had never looked at the prices on these items. My wife and I would just grab them when we wanted it and never bought the biggest package of anything because we only have 3 family members. We seldom compare the prices on different packages. I had to use the calculate on my iPhone a lot for this trip!
My next quest was to search for protein. I was very happy to find that there was a bundle deal with bacon and a dozen eggs. I was buying bacon to have free eggs! The bacon looked very fatty, but I thought it would be okay to have for just a few days. I was looking for the cheapest sausage, hoping to find a deal like, “Buy 3 get 2 free.” Unfortunately, all of the bargain sausages were sold out, and the only ones left over were the “high-end” ones. My wife took a Frankfurt Sausage that I normally like and put it into the shopping cart. I had to take it out and tell her it was over-priced and I couldn’t afford it. I found another pack of sausage which looked cheaper and had no price label on it. I went to the cashier to double check the price and it too was overpriced. I settled on a ground Italian sausage, which I thought I could make into a small patty for breakfast. The only downside was that I figured I would have to eat the same thing every morning. On the way to the cashier, I saw a good deal on frozen pizza and figured it would serve for 3 meals for dinner. In the past, I would never buy discounted meat or frozen pizza. Usually if I want pizza, I will go to a nice Italian restaurant or in the worst case, California Pizza Kitchen. By the time the shopping trip was done, I found that we had spent an hour in Schnucks – much longer than our normal shopping time.
STAY TUNED: Tomorrow you can read about Samson's FIRST day on the SNAP Challenge!