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:
Day 3- May 26th (Memorial Day)
I woke up early, probably because of the earlier than normal wake-up call from my stomach!
I had the patty & hamburger as breakfast, and the milk as planned. No coffee again. Two consecutive days without coffee, it was amazing to me as I normally drink 3-5 cups of coffee a day. I never thought I could survive a day without a cup of hot coffee! I started thinking of what I could do other than buy food. In the old days they used to barter trade, hunt, and fish. I do not have a gun to hunt with but I can go fishing! We set off in the morning with the whole family, just another good day for an outing with my parents in town. It was a beautiful day with beautiful scenery and we found a good trout fishing site. We saw a lot of people had already caught a lot of fish! I was thinking that it could be a good day for grilled trout, free of charge! It should not be considered cheating, after all, because I worked for it. The weather was hot and I was tempted to take a can of beer offered by my friend, worth one dollar. Instead I traded some of my food for the beer, thinking this was the most expensive beer I will ever drink!
After an hour of fishing we still did not have a catch. It was disappointing to say the least. I started to feel hungry again, as it was approaching lunch time. All of a sudden it was windy and it started to rain heavily! We were forced to stop our fishing activities. My friend suggested that we go to lunch at a nearby restaurant instead of hoping for a trout BBQ. My friends and family decided on Pizza Hut where they could enjoy a buffet lunch for a little less than $7/head. That was too much of a luxury for me and I had to settle for a McDonalds nearby. I quickly found that I could only afford a plain hamburger, which costs $1.00. The attendant asked me if I wanted “anything else?”, I was a bit embarrassed and said “that’s it!” The attendant gave me a strange look as I was surprised that the total was $1.08! 8% tax? I regretted it a bit as I forgot about the 8% tax, which I have never thought about in the past for any purchase or payment in a restaurant.
Immediately I started thinking that the Government should waive the tax portion for any food purchase that is below $2-3/meal or for those that are receiving subsidy from the Government already. I also thought that maybe fast food restaurants could work with the Government to sponsor participants in the government subsidy program and even possibly get a tax benefit for doing so. Just a thought.
Anyway, I took my burger and went back to Pizza Hut to join my family. The waitress asked me if I would like anything. I ordered water, free of charge. We did not have time to make dinner at home, so we decided to go to Japanese Nobu, which my whole family likes. I had a tea at the restaurant and when I got home I had two slices of pizza and an orange. My parents laughed at me, but I feel I earned my respect because of my persistence. I went to bed earlier than normal in order to avoid the hungry signal again.
Day 4- May 27th
Good Morning! I had cereal, milk, and my patty on hamburger bun for my big breakfast! I was happy because I could get coffee at the office today. Luckily, that free coffee in the office is considered “free” in this challenge. I had two full full cups of coffee in the early morning and felt very content. I usually prefer Japanese or Latin coffee which is much stronger than American coffee but having gone without coffee for two days, I was happy with the American coffee.
I indulged in my daily work as usual and the meetings and work successfully distracted me from hunger. In a normal working day, I will occasionally grab an apple or pear and sometimes some strawberries if they are available. I could not do that today as it counted toward my daily limit. Instead I brought a cup of ramen from home for my lunch. It is a high-end Korean Cup of Ramen which costs $1.20/cup from the Korean grocery store we normally shop at. I missed my chance to buy from ALDI, where they are only $2.09 for 12 CUPS!! Luckily, I am a big fan of noodles and Ramen. I could probably eat Ramen for 10 meals in the 5 day challenge and not complain, but I did not take the easy way out! With only one cup of ramen for lunch, I felt very hungry in the late afternoon. Worst of all, I attended Matt Colvin’s farewell party that evening and had to order water while everyone was eating and drinking and my stomach was rumbling!
I decided to say goodbye to Matt and his family and leave early as I was very hungry and the only way I could stay within budget was to go home to eat. Dinner was normal Chinese cuisine that my family cooks, but I had to ask my parents how much they paid for the meat, vegetables, and rice. I had to take a smaller portion of meat and vegetables, but I found that I could eat more rice. I normally do not have much rice and instead have more meat and vegetables! However in reference to the ALDI price tag, I found that I could eat more than two bowls of rice, which would make me feel full for sure! Though rice is carbohydrates, I knew that I would feel hungry soon after my energy was gone. It was good that it was evening time and I did not need many calories or protein. Plus, I went to bed earlier than normal in order to avoid any extra calorie burning or hunger pains.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE IN TOMORROW’S BLOG!