A Wellesley family earlier this month took the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) challenge, feeding themselves on $4 per person per day, to get a taste of what it’s like to go hungry and live in poverty. The challenge (one that everyone from politicians to reporters have taken as well) raised their awareness of how tough it can be to eat healthy on a small budget, especially when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Biro family — mom Nova, dad Peter and 9-year-old twin girls — were inspired to take the SNAP challenge through Nova’s work with an executive leadership program exploring equity issues in Boston.
Peter wrote about the experience here, detailing cheap nutritious foods his family identified, and Yahoo news picked up on the story as well (we imagine this story is going to start making wider rounds in the days to come).
The Biro family acknowledged that taking the SNAP challenge can only partly simulate what it’s like for disadvantaged families on the food front. After all, the Biros have a car, easy access to Costco and realized that their deprivation was short-lived. The girls made something of a game of crafting lunches from leftovers.
The family gave up things — small luxuries — they were used to, such as Peter’s morning cappuccino ($4.25) and a $4 cake treat that he and one daughter shared weekly.
Peter wrote: “This experience with my daughter really got my attention. My wife and I know how to improvise in the kitchen, and the convenience of leftovers makes them a way of life for us already, so fitting different ingredients into this model didn’t jar us. For [my daughter] Sophie and me to go without our usual dessert was not that big of a deal either, because in truth, we knew we could resume it next week. It was temporary. But poverty is rarely temporary. And on the best day, you can either have a cup of coffee yourself, or give your child a treat, but never both. ”
The Biros say they’ll give SNAP a shot again in the future and hope others will, too.
RELATED: Wellesley Food Pantry
(Thanks to reader IC for pointing out the Yahoo piece to us in the first place.)