The first person I outed myself to was my coworker, Kim. “This is going to be like a Lent to you,” she said.
“It is going to be like Lent,” I said. “Only possibly worse.”
Just days after I publicly stated my outrage at food access injustice in downtown San Francisco, my friend Amy Sherman included me on a list of food bloggers she was emailing about a the San Francisco Food Bank Hunger Challenge, a blog event dedicated to raising awareness about poverty, food access and hunger in the city and beyond. The central piece of the challenge? Keep a $3/day ($21/week) food budget. That includes all meals eaten at home or out, and all beverages. No freebies, no allowing others to buy me a meal. This is approximately what someone who gets food stamps and has no income gets to spend at the grocery store—those who actually earn some income get even less money with which to work.
As someone who spends an extraordinary percentage of her disposable income on food, coffee and alcohol, whether that’s at home or out, this was going to be really tough. I do a lot of my shopping at farmer’s markets, but I go on impulse-purchase-ridden shopping trips to Whole Foods more often than I would like to admit.
“You’re going to have to go to Grocery Outlet,” said Kim. “You’re going to have to eat a lot of ramen.”
But I wanted to do this without ramen, if at all possible. So I began doing the research and the legwork. My goal? To go to the store with a very specific shopping list. Without that, there would be no way to stay on budget and actually fed over the course of a week.
A note on the event: That graphic above? It’s not just a random badge–it also links to a donation site where you can give to the San Francisco Food Bank. And, thanks to Amy Sherman, the SFFB is giving away a review copy of a cookbook to the first 12 people who donate more than $50 as a result of the Bloggers Hunger Challenge.
To be eligible, you must follow these instructions:
- Click on the link above to go to the donation page.
- Fill out the necessary info and make a donation of $50 or more.
- About 2/3 of the way down the form, look for a header that says, “Food Drive/Event Information
- Use the drop-down box to select “Bloggers Hunger Challenge,” so we’ll know you are participating.
- Be one of the first 12 people to donate $50 or more and you’ll receive a free cookbook (sorry – no choice of title) as a thank-you!
The cookbooks Amy is donating as gifts include the following:
A16 Food + Wine
My Love for Naples
Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill Cookbook
Grill Every Day
The Spice Merchant’s Daughter
A Man’s Place is Behind the Bar
WomenHeart’s All Heart Family Cookbook
Frozen Desserts from the CIA
The Sweet Melissa Baking Book
So what are you waiting for? Go! Donate! Read! Cook!