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Friday, September 16, 2011

The Hunger Challenge: Does It Really Mimic Food-Stamp Living?

Posted By on Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 8:37 AM

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This week, San Franciscans such as Cooking with Amy's Amy Sherman and SFist editor Brock Keeling are taking the Hunger Challenge, an annual consciousness-raising event organized by the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks. During the week of September 11-17, they're eating on $4.72 per person per day -- the food budget that California gives food-stamp recipients.

SFoodie used to roll our eyes at consciousness-raising stunts like the homelessness awareness night at our liberal arts college, when a bunch of well-fed 20-year-olds slept on cardboard boxes in the quad, waking up awfully late so that everyone could see them struggling in the morning.

But blogs and Facebook have a way of changing the dynamic of something like the Hunger Challenge -- they help transform a personal experience into a shared one. So Sherman, in addition to describing her ultra-cheap kebabs, writes about the ignorance in ecofoodie circles about the existence of hunger in San Francisco. And SFoodie can't wait to read Keeling's account, well, because of this.

The event also brings out criticism that is just as thought-provoking, and just as much a part of the week, as

the participants' blogs. KitchenMage's Beth Sheresh, who was on food

stamps several decades ago, has written a series of

posts about hunger challenges in Seattle and San Francisco. Make it more real,

she challenges, by telling participants to give up their cars for the

week or spend two days without any money left, surviving on crackers so your

kid can eat. Scam a few cents in change so you can buy a gallon of gas. Try telling your toddler she can't have fresh berries on her cake for her birthday because you need toilet paper more. All without an end date circled on the calendar.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.
Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Jonathan Kauffman

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