Author Topic: Food Stamp Challenge  (Read 16223 times)

OtherJen

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #50 on: January 09, 2019, 02:16:46 PM »
Here's a section of the city of Detroit (scale bar: 1 mile) that is barely serviced by convenience stores, much less grocery stores. This is a high-poverty area and the mass transit system is notoriously lousy (to non-existent in many areas). Does this count?
Your screenshots appear to be leaving out a lot of grocery stores. For example, just looking at the area bounded by 96, 94, 8, and 10 your map shows just the Food Farm Market, but there is also the Saving Barrel Market, the Family Foods Super Store, and the Boulevard Market.

I stand corrected. Detroit is apparently not a food desert as I have long been told by people who live and work there.

Cromacster

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #51 on: January 09, 2019, 02:32:45 PM »
Here's a section of the city of Detroit (scale bar: 1 mile) that is barely serviced by convenience stores, much less grocery stores. This is a high-poverty area and the mass transit system is notoriously lousy (to non-existent in many areas). Does this count?
Your screenshots appear to be leaving out a lot of grocery stores. For example, just looking at the area bounded by 96, 94, 8, and 10 your map shows just the Food Farm Market, but there is also the Saving Barrel Market, the Family Foods Super Store, and the Boulevard Market.

That's one of the problems with google maps.  What shows up seems dependent on where you are centered and the zoom level.  I'm sure there is some targeted advertising also, which limits the search results even further.

Socmonkey

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #52 on: January 10, 2019, 07:01:48 PM »
I performed this challenge for three weeks in October of 2017 and it was pretty easy as a Mustachian.

I estimated that I would get about $29 per week in my area, so I used that number for my challenge. $4.14 per day.

In addition, I had read complaints about it not being accurate due to challenge participants having easy access to grocers and a full and working kitchen. I decided that I would start from absolute scratch, not even the salt I already owned could be used, and a partial kitchen - I could not use a microwave or oven. I ended up only using a stovetop, toaster, and my T-FAL actifry.

To simulate being in a "food desert," I did not shop at a normal grocer, only the 99-Cent Only store (which is a discount store with limited fresh veggies and no butcher). I was only allowed one shopping trip per week to simulate the time and trouble it takes those people living in a food desert to get to a store larger than the local corner bodega. If I forgot something, I was out of luck that week.

After two weeks I decided to simulate a non-payment of my weekly SNAP benefit and had to live that week eating only what I already had on hand. After that third week I still had enough to eat well for another two or three days at least.

If you want to read about it, here is the first post. It was featured on Rockstar Finance. http://www.doublingdollars.com/683-2/
« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 07:06:15 PM by Socmonkey »

use2betrix

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #53 on: January 10, 2019, 07:37:43 PM »
When I lived in south Texas on several occasions I was approached by people in the HEB parking lots offering to sell me money off their SNAP (food stamp) cards. I.e. they’d let me spend $100 on their card if I gave them $75 cash. I’d assume they didn’t really need the food stamps and wanted money for other things.

No - I did not partake in any of these offers.

galliver

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #54 on: January 11, 2019, 11:03:43 AM »
When I lived in south Texas on several occasions I was approached by people in the HEB parking lots offering to sell me money off their SNAP (food stamp) cards. I.e. they’d let me spend $100 on their card if I gave them $75 cash. I’d assume they didn’t really need the food stamps and wanted money for other things.

No - I did not partake in any of these offers.
Not saying it was ethical or you should have taken them up on it, but here are a couple things that might make someone give up grocery money:

-diapers/fem care prod
-medical expense (copay, medication)
-rent
-gas to get to work/daycare/sick mom/etc
-debt to dangerous "friend" or relative

Selling something doesn't necessarily mean you don't need it, it might mean that you need something else more, and this is your only resource to leverage.

Also just because you saw *one* person taking advantage doesn't mean everyone does and the system doesn't do it's job.

jojoguy

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #55 on: January 13, 2019, 06:38:08 AM »
We`re a family of 3 and usually budget about $600 a month on food and other little expenses. It equals out to be about $6.50 a day for us as an average. I live on a pretty cheap diet of eggs, tilapia, and broccoli on work days. Being frugal can be very very healthy. So, there is a health benefit as well.

minimalistgamer

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #56 on: January 13, 2019, 12:27:31 PM »
I am sorry to say, $4.15 per person isn't even a challenge for me. I would have to increase my spending to get to that part.

So you must forgive me for not agreeing that the Federal government (of all the things) should fix this.

HipGnosis

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #57 on: January 14, 2019, 08:36:45 AM »
I am sorry to say, $4.15 per person isn't even a challenge for me. I would have to increase my spending to get to that part.

So you must forgive me for not agreeing that the Federal government (of all the things) should fix this.
Certainly nothing to be sorry for!

libertarian4321

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #58 on: January 14, 2019, 11:05:06 AM »
When I lived in south Texas on several occasions I was approached by people in the HEB parking lots offering to sell me money off their SNAP (food stamp) cards. I.e. they’d let me spend $100 on their card if I gave them $75 cash. I’d assume they didn’t really need the food stamps and wanted money for other things.

No - I did not partake in any of these offers.
Not saying it was ethical or you should have taken them up on it, but here are a couple things that might make someone give up grocery money:

-diapers/fem care prod
-medical expense (copay, medication)
-rent
-gas to get to work/daycare/sick mom/etc
-debt to dangerous "friend" or relative


Sure, they might be illegally selling their EBT benefits so they can buy diapers or gas to visit their sick mom in the hospital, or perhaps make a charitable donation to the American Cancer Society.

But a more cynical person than myself might suggest that money would more likely be be spent on liquor, cigarettes, or illegal narcotics.




Cassie

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #59 on: January 14, 2019, 03:08:55 PM »
As a social worker helping people on welfare I have been in many homes and it was the rare person abusing their food stamps. Most were trying to feed their families and find child care they could afford and work.  They usually ended up on welfare because their partner left them and often wasn’t paying child support.

kenner

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #60 on: January 14, 2019, 11:30:32 PM »
As a social worker helping people on welfare I have been in many homes and it was the rare person abusing their food stamps. Most were trying to feed their families and find child care they could afford and work.  They usually ended up on welfare because their partner left them and often wasn’t paying child support.

Seriously. 

It's great that people on this thread can beat a food stamp challenge no problem.  So can I; my budget assumes it although the last time I started from nothing was when I moved out here so it's been a few years.  Of course, even if I'm forgoing use of a microwave (unwillingly at the moment, need to take a look at that) I have a functional fridge and freezer, a functional stove, a place to store reasonable amounts of food (not a backpack/suitcase containing all of my worldly possessions), a place to store food without ongoing mice/ant/cockroach incursions, functional electric, generally cooperative plumbing, more than one pan, a single full-time job where I decide if I go in early/work late, transportation to and from that job that means that I can leave for work and get home at reasonable hours when I'm not too exhausted to cook, multiple grocery stores that I can get to when they're open...those are things I can count on off the top of my head that not everyone has, and if I sit down and think about the things I've heard (I volunteer with kids aging out of foster care and families coming out of homelssness so I've heard a fair amount) I can probably come up with more.  Is it really that hard to ask people what their challenges are instead of making assumptions?  I'd never argue that there aren't people gaming the system, there are people that will game any system, but acting like that's the great majority isn't supported by any actual data that I've seen.

Cassie

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #61 on: January 15, 2019, 10:56:45 AM »
Kenner, I said most weren’t abusing the system.  Most were eager to work and with support were successful.

galliver

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #62 on: January 15, 2019, 02:03:17 PM »
Kenner, I said most weren’t abusing the system.  Most were eager to work and with support were successful.
Pretty sure kenner was agreeing with you. :)

And I agree with you both.

Cassie

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #63 on: January 15, 2019, 02:07:12 PM »
Thanks G.

Laura Ingalls

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #64 on: January 15, 2019, 03:24:29 PM »
I just finished a book about the several million Americans that live on less than $2 a day.  They are more likely to sell SNAP illegally than others on the program because they often have literally no other income.  It is mostly used for utilities.  It’s illegal and a misuse of the funds and they usually only get about 50 cents on the dollar.  It’s still super understandable though.   What good is food in the cupboard if you have no gas or electricity to cook with?

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #65 on: January 15, 2019, 05:11:12 PM »
Has anyone here ever attempted the “food-stamp challenge” or similar?

The “challenge” is to go one week, spending less than $4.15 per person per day on food. 

The intent is that you're supposed to realize that it sucks to be poor and a thus certain federal bureaucracy should get more funding.  If you read personal stories on the internet, they seem to fall into two groups:

1) congresspersons, activists, reporters and Gwyneth Paltrow, who end up eating two tortillas for dinner and quit when they can’t go on.

2) People who eat healthy and well, and can’t figure out what the big deal is; these are often written with a tone of badassity that mustachians would respect.

Since I actually have records of my own spending going back ten years, I was able to calculate that I have been successfully doing the food-stamp challenge for an entire decade.  Judging by the posts here:  many other mustachians may living in abject poverty without even knowing it.

Would  30 dollars (1 dollar per day) suffice to purchase enough nutritious food to feed one  adult for a 30-day month?

I've been thinking about this; I believe I could do it.

I'd drink tea  and water.



fried/boiled/mashed potatoes

rice

homemade bean soup/lentil soup/pea soup

carrots

oatmeal w/ sugar & cinnamon

pasta

garlic powder

canola oil

salt

onions

possibly  some butter and chicken and spaghetti sauce

My food would consist of the above.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 05:13:18 PM by John Galt incarnate! »

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #66 on: January 15, 2019, 05:43:19 PM »
I am sorry to say, $4.15 per person isn't even a challenge for me. I would have to increase my spending to get to that part.

So you must forgive me for not agreeing that the Federal government (of all the things) should fix this.

You and Justice McReynolds are in accord.

Steward Machine Co. v. Davis (1937)

"I can not find any authority in the Constitution for making the Federal Government the great almoner of public charity throughout the United States."  Justice McReynolds
« Last Edit: January 15, 2019, 05:45:48 PM by John Galt incarnate! »

Abe

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #67 on: January 15, 2019, 09:31:19 PM »
I wonder if the government should subsidize instant pot purchases. It fixes the having to supervise rowdy kids issue to some extent, and also the non-functioning stove issue. It's made really cheap ingredients a lot more hands off to cook. Total cost, even with all-organic vegetables (as an example, I buy regular discount supermarket vegetables) is less than $6 for 4-5 servings. There are other meals that can be cooked easily in them also. As an aside, if anyone wants recipes for Indian food I can provide them.

APowers

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #68 on: January 15, 2019, 09:37:09 PM »
Has anyone here ever attempted the “food-stamp challenge” or similar?

The “challenge” is to go one week, spending less than $4.15 per person per day on food. 

The intent is that you're supposed to realize that it sucks to be poor and a thus certain federal bureaucracy should get more funding.  If you read personal stories on the internet, they seem to fall into two groups:

1) congresspersons, activists, reporters and Gwyneth Paltrow, who end up eating two tortillas for dinner and quit when they can’t go on.

2) People who eat healthy and well, and can’t figure out what the big deal is; these are often written with a tone of badassity that mustachians would respect.

Since I actually have records of my own spending going back ten years, I was able to calculate that I have been successfully doing the food-stamp challenge for an entire decade.  Judging by the posts here:  many other mustachians may living in abject poverty without even knowing it.

Would  30 dollars (1 dollar per day) suffice to purchase enough nutritious food to feed one  adult for a 30-day month?

I've been thinking about this; I believe I could do it.

I'd drink tea  and water.



fried/boiled/mashed potatoes

rice

homemade bean soup/lentil soup/pea soup

carrots

oatmeal w/ sugar & cinnamon

pasta

garlic powder

canola oil

salt

onions

possibly  some butter and chicken and spaghetti sauce

My food would consist of the above.

Please do this and report back. My back-of-the-envelope calculations tell me that this would be tough for someone who needed a full calorie intake.

With oatmeal/sugar, chicken/rice/beans, and carrots/onions-- I'm looking at an ~$45 spend for a basic hearty meal plan with enough carbs, fat, and protein that I could do hard manual labour on a daily basis. And this does not assume any leafy/bright green veg-- it'd be carrots/onions/cabbage. I mean, maybe I'm assuming I'll eat more than I actually would, but I feel like I have it pretty closely measured.

I really don't know where I could squeeze butter into a $30 budget.

remizidae

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #69 on: January 16, 2019, 05:45:32 AM »
Has anyone here ever attempted the “food-stamp challenge” or similar?

The “challenge” is to go one week, spending less than $4.15 per person per day on food. 

The intent is that you're supposed to realize that it sucks to be poor and a thus certain federal bureaucracy should get more funding.  If you read personal stories on the internet, they seem to fall into two groups:

1) congresspersons, activists, reporters and Gwyneth Paltrow, who end up eating two tortillas for dinner and quit when they can’t go on.

2) People who eat healthy and well, and can’t figure out what the big deal is; these are often written with a tone of badassity that mustachians would respect.

Since I actually have records of my own spending going back ten years, I was able to calculate that I have been successfully doing the food-stamp challenge for an entire decade.  Judging by the posts here:  many other mustachians may living in abject poverty without even knowing it.

Would  30 dollars (1 dollar per day) suffice to purchase enough nutritious food to feed one  adult for a 30-day month?

I've been thinking about this; I believe I could do it.

I'd drink tea  and water.



fried/boiled/mashed potatoes

rice

homemade bean soup/lentil soup/pea soup

carrots

oatmeal w/ sugar & cinnamon

pasta

garlic powder

canola oil

salt

onions

possibly  some butter and chicken and spaghetti sauce

My food would consist of the above.

Please do this and report back. My back-of-the-envelope calculations tell me that this would be tough for someone who needed a full calorie intake.

With oatmeal/sugar, chicken/rice/beans, and carrots/onions-- I'm looking at an ~$45 spend for a basic hearty meal plan with enough carbs, fat, and protein that I could do hard manual labour on a daily basis. And this does not assume any leafy/bright green veg-- it'd be carrots/onions/cabbage. I mean, maybe I'm assuming I'll eat more than I actually would, but I feel like I have it pretty closely measured.

I really don't know where I could squeeze butter into a $30 budget.

I'd also like to see someone do this challenge while recording calories and macros. Some of the experiments that have been posted (like Socmonkey's) just don't seem to have enough calories for an active person. Three slices of Wonder bread with a little American cheese and peanut butter are not going to keep me full for long. And there seems to be a lot of reliance on refined carbs and sugary peanut butter. I don't mean this to criticize anyone's diet, but it goes to the limitations of this ultra-low food spending.

minimalistgamer

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #70 on: January 16, 2019, 06:17:12 AM »
I am sorry to say, $4.15 per person isn't even a challenge for me. I would have to increase my spending to get to that part.

So you must forgive me for not agreeing that the Federal government (of all the things) should fix this.

You and Justice McReynolds are in accord.

Steward Machine Co. v. Davis (1937)

"I can not find any authority in the Constitution for making the Federal Government the great almoner of public charity throughout the United States."  Justice McReynolds

I suppose I am in good company then? Regardless, this is not a problem that the Federal government should be involved in. Right now, they are bickering about the most basic things, such as, whether or not walls work. I do not want to put them in charge of fixing things anymore than they already are. The more we distance ourselves from these incompetent people, the better off we will be.

phildonnia

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #71 on: January 16, 2019, 06:15:05 PM »
As a social worker helping people on welfare I have been in many homes and it was the rare person abusing their food stamps. Most were trying to feed their families and find child care they could afford and work.  They usually ended up on welfare because their partner left them and often wasn’t paying child support.

Seriously. 

It's great that people on this thread can beat a food stamp challenge no problem.  So can I; my budget assumes it although the last time I started from nothing was when I moved out here so it's been a few years.  Of course, even if I'm forgoing use of a microwave (unwillingly at the moment, need to take a look at that) I have a functional fridge and freezer, a functional stove, a place to store reasonable amounts of food (not a backpack/suitcase containing all of my worldly possessions), a place to store food without ongoing mice/ant/cockroach incursions, functional electric, generally cooperative plumbing, more than one pan, a single full-time job where I decide if I go in early/work late, transportation to and from that job that means that I can leave for work and get home at reasonable hours when I'm not too exhausted to cook, multiple grocery stores that I can get to when they're open...those are things I can count on off the top of my head that not everyone has, and if I sit down and think about the things I've heard (I volunteer with kids aging out of foster care and families coming out of homelssness so I've heard a fair amount) I can probably come up with more.  Is it really that hard to ask people what their challenges are instead of making assumptions?  I'd never argue that there aren't people gaming the system, there are people that will game any system, but acting like that's the great majority isn't supported by any actual data that I've seen.

It's a difficult subject to talk about without coming off as hating or blaming the poor.  And there is unfortunately the assumption that the opinions of successful people have no relevance.

We cannot solve the problems of poverty without understanding them.  So, for example, if the problem is lack of electricity, then we need to solve the lack of electricity problem.  If the problem is lack of transportation, then we need to solve the lack of transportation problem.  If the problem is cockroaches, then we need to solve the cockroach problem.  And so on.  But it seems that all problems are presented as "food is not affordable", which leads solutions that are bound to be ineffective.

And it leads to things like the Food Stamp Challenge, which, I think everyone agrees, is not representative of the challenges faced by people in poverty.  This is also counterproductive; since living on $4.50 a day is not difficult, one might conclude that poverty is no big deal, and that the poor are responsible for their situation.

MustacheMom

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #72 on: January 20, 2019, 07:07:23 AM »
My grandmother was on a small, fixed income.  She was tremendously frugal, and I often remember how she shopped and did things, and I find inspiration. 

She kept a few staples on hand -  milk, coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, oil, butter and a small bag of flour.  She lived a very short walk from a grocery store, and she would walk over every 2-3 days and purchase just what she needed.  There was never any food waste in her house.  She purchased exactly what she needed and she ate what she purchased.  When I spent the night we would walk over together and purchase a small container of ice cream.  I was always amazed when she made me hot cocoa "from scratch", using a tin of Hershey's cocoa powder and sugar, mixed in to warm milk. 

The area where she once lived is now a food desert. 

She is no longer with us, but the grocery store where she shopped closed over a decade ago, leaving a food desert in the good sized Southern city I live in.  The city even purchased the building and land, hoping to entire another grocer into the space, but there were no takers.  There is a dollar general and a small discount grocery within a couple of miles, but the nearest good sized grocery store is miles away, and this is in the middle of a city.

Perhaps there are cities with no food deserts, but it certainly is an issue here.

https://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/end-north-charleston-food-desert/article_e5b3658e-882e-11e7-92e6-f72c25ea51f8.html

https://abcnews4.com/news/local/frustration-continues-for-north-charleston-residents-near-food-desert


Brother Esau

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #73 on: January 20, 2019, 11:16:38 AM »
I performed this challenge for three weeks in October of 2017 and it was pretty easy as a Mustachian.

I estimated that I would get about $29 per week in my area, so I used that number for my challenge. $4.14 per day.

In addition, I had read complaints about it not being accurate due to challenge participants having easy access to grocers and a full and working kitchen. I decided that I would start from absolute scratch, not even the salt I already owned could be used, and a partial kitchen - I could not use a microwave or oven. I ended up only using a stovetop, toaster, and my T-FAL actifry.

To simulate being in a "food desert," I did not shop at a normal grocer, only the 99-Cent Only store (which is a discount store with limited fresh veggies and no butcher). I was only allowed one shopping trip per week to simulate the time and trouble it takes those people living in a food desert to get to a store larger than the local corner bodega. If I forgot something, I was out of luck that week.

After two weeks I decided to simulate a non-payment of my weekly SNAP benefit and had to live that week eating only what I already had on hand. After that third week I still had enough to eat well for another two or three days at least.

If you want to read about it, here is the first post. It was featured on Rockstar Finance. http://www.doublingdollars.com/683-2/

Truly badass. Thanks for sharing the link.

Zikoris

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #74 on: January 20, 2019, 11:30:03 AM »
My grandmother was on a small, fixed income.  She was tremendously frugal, and I often remember how she shopped and did things, and I find inspiration. 

She kept a few staples on hand -  milk, coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, oil, butter and a small bag of flour.  She lived a very short walk from a grocery store, and she would walk over every 2-3 days and purchase just what she needed.  There was never any food waste in her house.  She purchased exactly what she needed and she ate what she purchased.  When I spent the night we would walk over together and purchase a small container of ice cream.  I was always amazed when she made me hot cocoa "from scratch", using a tin of Hershey's cocoa powder and sugar, mixed in to warm milk. 

The area where she once lived is now a food desert. 

She is no longer with us, but the grocery store where she shopped closed over a decade ago, leaving a food desert in the good sized Southern city I live in.  The city even purchased the building and land, hoping to entire another grocer into the space, but there were no takers.  There is a dollar general and a small discount grocery within a couple of miles, but the nearest good sized grocery store is miles away, and this is in the middle of a city.

Perhaps there are cities with no food deserts, but it certainly is an issue here.

https://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/end-north-charleston-food-desert/article_e5b3658e-882e-11e7-92e6-f72c25ea51f8.html

https://abcnews4.com/news/local/frustration-continues-for-north-charleston-residents-near-food-desert

So this isn't a grocery store then? http://freshfuturefarm.org/the-store/

I see there are also two home grocery delivery service to that area, Instacart and Shipt.

OtherJen

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #75 on: January 20, 2019, 11:42:24 AM »
My grandmother was on a small, fixed income.  She was tremendously frugal, and I often remember how she shopped and did things, and I find inspiration. 

She kept a few staples on hand -  milk, coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, oil, butter and a small bag of flour.  She lived a very short walk from a grocery store, and she would walk over every 2-3 days and purchase just what she needed.  There was never any food waste in her house.  She purchased exactly what she needed and she ate what she purchased.  When I spent the night we would walk over together and purchase a small container of ice cream.  I was always amazed when she made me hot cocoa "from scratch", using a tin of Hershey's cocoa powder and sugar, mixed in to warm milk. 

The area where she once lived is now a food desert. 

She is no longer with us, but the grocery store where she shopped closed over a decade ago, leaving a food desert in the good sized Southern city I live in.  The city even purchased the building and land, hoping to entire another grocer into the space, but there were no takers.  There is a dollar general and a small discount grocery within a couple of miles, but the nearest good sized grocery store is miles away, and this is in the middle of a city.

Perhaps there are cities with no food deserts, but it certainly is an issue here.

https://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/end-north-charleston-food-desert/article_e5b3658e-882e-11e7-92e6-f72c25ea51f8.html

https://abcnews4.com/news/local/frustration-continues-for-north-charleston-residents-near-food-desert

So this isn't a grocery store then? http://freshfuturefarm.org/the-store/

I see there are also two home grocery delivery service to that area, Instacart and Shipt.

The poster very clearly states that her grandmother is no longer alive. Presumably Instacart and Shipt didn't exist (and still are not operative everywhere) and the new store hadn't yet opened. Reading comprehension and compassion.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 11:45:39 AM by OtherJen »

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #76 on: January 20, 2019, 11:59:27 PM »
Yes they exist in cities too and then you have too be able to carry or roll your food home. If it’s hot in summer you can only go so far until everything melts.

I hear you, it's just that because the examples have been proven wrong quite a few times, I really would like to see some concrete evidence. Like, a map with the food desert drawn on it, so I can look around the area on google maps, see if there are reasonably priced delivery services available, see what's available for public transit, and see if they're excluding smaller shops from their criteria, which can be great places to shop. I mean, shit, people claim there are food deserts in Vancouver, which is freaking nuts.

Yeah, I remember some idiots (who were promoting their delivery service to seniors) claiming the West End was a 'food desert' a handful of years ago. I would never have noticed them, but they wanted to put advertising in our community garden plots (which at that time were 5 min walk from 2 large grocery stores and 2 chinese grocers).

Having said that, my area is regretably turning into a fast-food desert, the result (I presume) of high retail rents. I've lost a McDonald's, a California Burger, a dollar pizza place, a Subway, and a Starbucks. Now I have  to go out of my way on my way home if I want something quick.

MustacheMom

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #77 on: January 21, 2019, 05:09:32 AM »
My grandmother was on a small, fixed income.  She was tremendously frugal, and I often remember how she shopped and did things, and I find inspiration. 

She kept a few staples on hand -  milk, coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, oil, butter and a small bag of flour.  She lived a very short walk from a grocery store, and she would walk over every 2-3 days and purchase just what she needed.  There was never any food waste in her house.  She purchased exactly what she needed and she ate what she purchased.  When I spent the night we would walk over together and purchase a small container of ice cream.  I was always amazed when she made me hot cocoa "from scratch", using a tin of Hershey's cocoa powder and sugar, mixed in to warm milk. 

The area where she once lived is now a food desert. 

She is no longer with us, but the grocery store where she shopped closed over a decade ago, leaving a food desert in the good sized Southern city I live in.  The city even purchased the building and land, hoping to entire another grocer into the space, but there were no takers.  There is a dollar general and a small discount grocery within a couple of miles, but the nearest good sized grocery store is miles away, and this is in the middle of a city.

Perhaps there are cities with no food deserts, but it certainly is an issue here.

https://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/end-north-charleston-food-desert/article_e5b3658e-882e-11e7-92e6-f72c25ea51f8.html

https://abcnews4.com/news/local/frustration-continues-for-north-charleston-residents-near-food-desert

So this isn't a grocery store then? http://freshfuturefarm.org/the-store/

I see there are also two home grocery delivery service to that area, Instacart and Shipt.

I'm not certain how I present my grandmother's experiences of a decade ago and get resources that didn't even exist then thrown back in my face. 

But since you asked.... 

I am not certain what you consider a grocery store, but no, that is not a grocery store.  It's a non-profit farm and garden which sells a few things, from the farm/garden and otherwise, in a trailer on their property.   Look at the picture of the store they provide on their own website.  They sell "seasonal vegetables, fresh eggs, herbs, and fruit" and a few staples.   While it is better than nothing it is not comparable to a large grocery store.  It is however a great thing, they are tremendously involved in the community, and they teach gardening classes on site.  (I've lived in this city my entire life, and I drive through this specific part of town at least 5 days a week, I am more familiar with the resources here than any Google search you can perform). 

Also, to use Instacart or Shipt you need some kind of device to access them.  Not everyone has a computer or cell phone - I personally know at least two people who have neither.  How would they access such services?   My grandmother never owned either herself, so those would not have been options for her either.  Shipt and Instacart are also not free services, someone who has a limited budget cannot afford to pay a fee when that fee takes food out of their mouth. 
« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 05:23:45 AM by MustacheMom »

Davnasty

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #78 on: January 21, 2019, 06:40:50 AM »
My grandmother was on a small, fixed income.  She was tremendously frugal, and I often remember how she shopped and did things, and I find inspiration. 

She kept a few staples on hand -  milk, coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, oil, butter and a small bag of flour.  She lived a very short walk from a grocery store, and she would walk over every 2-3 days and purchase just what she needed.  There was never any food waste in her house.  She purchased exactly what she needed and she ate what she purchased.  When I spent the night we would walk over together and purchase a small container of ice cream.  I was always amazed when she made me hot cocoa "from scratch", using a tin of Hershey's cocoa powder and sugar, mixed in to warm milk. 

The area where she once lived is now a food desert. 

She is no longer with us, but the grocery store where she shopped closed over a decade ago, leaving a food desert in the good sized Southern city I live in.  The city even purchased the building and land, hoping to entire another grocer into the space, but there were no takers.  There is a dollar general and a small discount grocery within a couple of miles, but the nearest good sized grocery store is miles away, and this is in the middle of a city.

Perhaps there are cities with no food deserts, but it certainly is an issue here.

https://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/end-north-charleston-food-desert/article_e5b3658e-882e-11e7-92e6-f72c25ea51f8.html

https://abcnews4.com/news/local/frustration-continues-for-north-charleston-residents-near-food-desert

So this isn't a grocery store then? http://freshfuturefarm.org/the-store/

I see there are also two home grocery delivery service to that area, Instacart and Shipt.

I'm not certain how I present my grandmother's experiences of a decade ago and get resources that didn't even exist then thrown back in my face. 

But since you asked.... 

I am not certain what you consider a grocery store, but no, that is not a grocery store.  It's a non-profit farm and garden which sells a few things, from the farm/garden and otherwise, in a trailer on their property.   Look at the picture of the store they provide on their own website.  They sell "seasonal vegetables, fresh eggs, herbs, and fruit" and a few staples.   While it is better than nothing it is not comparable to a large grocery store.  It is however a great thing, they are tremendously involved in the community, and they teach gardening classes on site.  (I've lived in this city my entire life, and I drive through this specific part of town at least 5 days a week, I am more familiar with the resources here than any Google search you can perform). 

Also, to use Instacart or Shipt you need some kind of device to access them.  Not everyone has a computer or cell phone - I personally know at least two people who have neither.  How would they access such services?   My grandmother never owned either herself, so those would not have been options for her either.  Shipt and Instacart are also not free services, someone who has a limited budget cannot afford to pay a fee when that fee takes food out of their mouth.

I'm confused. In the OP you stated that this is an issue, as in present tense. That's what Zikoris was replying to.

Although I would agree that grocery shipping services and a small farm aren't sufficient to say this isn't a food desert.

MustacheMom

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #79 on: January 21, 2019, 07:32:04 AM »
I could have been clearer - I admit I get worked up about this topic. 

This thread was initially about a food stamp budget, and I do believe you can eat on a "food stamp" budget - I've seen it done in real life, day in and day out, for years, but you have to have reasonable access to a store to do it.  Not everyone has that kind of access.  It's not an excuse, it is a real problem.  Food deserts were brought up in the conversation, I have personally witnessed someone live and eat for many years on a very limited budget with no car, but she had easy access to a grocery store.  She lived three houses and an alley from the grocery store.  While she is no longer alive to walk to any grocery store, there are still many people with low incomes and no cars living in that area, and they have no grocery store. 

It very much IS still an issue, it's an issue that his been ongoing since the time my Grandmother was alive until present time. Instacart, Shipt and a farmers market in a trailer have not solved the problem, the problem does exist, and has existed.  There has not been a grocery store in the area for over a decade, and there is still not one there today, nor any plans for one, nor any under construction.  This isn't a problem that is on the verge of being solved.

In many places I've run into the argument that there are no such things as food deserts.  I live a five minute drive from this area.  I KNOW it exists. 

Given the fact that the USDA maintains a map of Food Deserts in the United States, I feel safe in assuming my city is not the only one.
http://americannutritionassociation.org/newsletter/usda-defines-food-deserts
https://www.ers.usda.gov/data/fooddesert/
(Note, due to the government shutdown certain aspects of the map are not functional)


To sum it up, can a person eat sufficiently well to sustain life, and maybe even have an occasional treat, on a limited budget. Yes.  Do food deserts exist?  Yes.  And living in a food desert makes it harder to live on a limited budget. 




Zikoris

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #80 on: January 21, 2019, 10:03:48 AM »
Well, it seems to me that access to home delivery from dozens of grocery stores via multiple delivery companies, plus a farmer's market type place for fresh stuff, is really not a bad situation at all. It just seems like a stretch to say that people with literally a dozen options at their fingertips are in some terrible situation. This sort of setup actually seems like an extremely good one for an area that doesn't have a "normal" grocery store, where grocers are not interested in building, because it really seems to cover all the bases.

From what I've seen, it seems that in many cities modern solutions (smaller local places, farmers markets, and home grocery delivery) have basically filled in the gaps in the old, inefficient system that relied on large nearby grocery stores as the only option.

Cassie

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #81 on: January 21, 2019, 10:42:57 AM »
People on limited income may not be able to afford the delivery fee. Don’t know why this is so hard to understand.

tralfamadorian

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #82 on: January 21, 2019, 10:50:15 AM »
Well, it seems to me that access to home delivery from dozens of grocery stores via multiple delivery companies, plus a farmer's market type place for fresh stuff, is really not a bad situation at all. It just seems like a stretch to say that people with literally a dozen options at their fingertips are in some terrible situation. This sort of setup actually seems like an extremely good one for an area that doesn't have a "normal" grocery store, where grocers are not interested in building, because it really seems to cover all the bases.

From what I've seen, it seems that in many cities modern solutions (smaller local places, farmers markets, and home grocery delivery) have basically filled in the gaps in the old, inefficient system that relied on large nearby grocery stores as the only option.

Neither Shipt nor Instacart accept EBT.

OtherJen

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #83 on: January 21, 2019, 10:53:29 AM »
People on limited income may not be able to afford the delivery fee. Don’t know why this is so hard to understand.

Also, not everyone has a computer, internet access, or a smartphone. Also, Instacart and Shipt don't accept EBT payment (in the USA, WIC/SNAP). So people of limited means and limited transportation options are thus limited to whatever they can reach on foot and carry (which may not be much for an elderly person).

Zikoris, I feel like there are many factors you're deliberately ignoring. Not every place is like Vancouver.

Zikoris

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #84 on: January 21, 2019, 11:16:24 AM »
People on limited income may not be able to afford the delivery fee. Don’t know why this is so hard to understand.

Also, not everyone has a computer, internet access, or a smartphone. Also, Instacart and Shipt don't accept EBT payment (in the USA, WIC/SNAP). So people of limited means and limited transportation options are thus limited to whatever they can reach on foot and carry (which may not be much for an elderly person).

Zikoris, I feel like there are many factors you're deliberately ignoring. Not every place is like Vancouver.

I will certainly concede that if a person requires the government to pay for their groceries and is also cut off entirely from modern technology (which is a pretty small percentage of the population), it may not be prudent to choose to live in an area with less access to grocery stores. I do think that avoiding technology is a personal choice more often than a necessity with a lot of older people, and it's a choice that comes with consequences when it comes to accessing options in many aspects of life, food and otherwise.

Cassie

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #85 on: January 21, 2019, 04:00:09 PM »
You have to be able to afford technology and also afford where you live. You really don’t understand the lack of options when poor. I have known poor working moms to ride the bus for 2 hours twice a day in order to get the kids to daycare and themselves to work.  Then they need to do everything else with much less time than someone with a car and more money. Their lives are exhausting. Snap doesn’t buy all their groceries but is a huge help.

Rosy

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #86 on: January 22, 2019, 01:35:07 PM »
I did something very similar as part of a class in junior high.

The one somewhat misleading part of this is that most people calculate by dividing a per-serving cost.  So they take that $5 jar of PBJ and calculate that one sandwich worth is $0.25.  Some jelly and two slices of bread and maybe it's a $1 sandwich.  Easy.  However, having enough money to purchase the entire jar of peanut butter, the entire jar of jelly, and the entire loaf of bread can be a challenge. You need money up front to eat cheaply.  Go to the store and spend $75 and then another $50 two weeks later and you are at that SNAP budget and eating very comfortably.  But if you break it down to just a week (about $32), it becomes a lot more challenging because you'd likely need to eat PBJ for a lot of those meals because you don't have the budget to purchase variety. Maybe you can't by the sandwich makings and some eggs, milk, apples, rice, beans, tomatoes, pasta, frozen veggies, and maybe some salt and pepper and garlic.  That might be enough food for two weeks, but if you only have a one week at a time budget, you can't purchase all that.  APowers explained this very well. 

That's not to say it can't be done, but I don't know that saying many of us do it quite simulates the experience of a truly struggling person starting from scratch.

How much do you think PB&J & eggs cost?

Aldi prices here in TN:
Giant PB: $2.50
Jelly: $1.50
Bread: $0.90
Paper plates: $2.00
Plastic cups: $2.75
Plasticware: $4.30
Sandwich bags: $2.10
Milk: $2.40
Eggs: $0.80

After tax, that’s at least a week’s worth of food for under $25. You can add in some vegetables for $5 to keep it a bit healthier, but this is very doable.

Edit: nearly half of that is disposable eating utensils, so after a little buildup, you could get actual silverware, dishes, and dish soap and cut the budget further.

So you could live on two eggs and two peanut butter sandwiches per day for a week?  I would be seriously hanger.  Also none of the paper products on your list can be bought with SNAP.

Why would you spend money on disposable dinnerware - that is a luxury one cannot afford. Our local dollar store carries nice plates for $1, and the thrift store has some decent ones for 25 cents.
But, it would involve a fair amount of walking from where I live and/or paying at least $2-$3 in bus fare - ask me how I know:)

$2.10 for sandwich bags? The dollar store to the rescue at one dollar!

EBT also does not cover plastic goods, sandwich bags or even toilet paper!

Bread for .90? how about 50 cents at the day old bread store within walking distance of our house. Also a good source for occasionally finding bargains for 25 cents (that can be frozen) and a cool way to make dirt cheap birthday treats from Little Debbie's et al.  Every penny counts - not just every dollar!

Organic milk at our local Aldi is now $2.40 it was $2.

There is a huge flea market, barely within walking distance that has insane prices on fresh fruit and vegetables in season and if you know how to can, you'll have your choice of jellies, jams and fruit butter, whole fruit or slices - salsa and homemade tomato sauce for months to come.
If you don't, you can still cook up a smaller batch and store it in the fridge or clean the fruit, slice and freeze, and of course, buy fresh for immediate use.
Fresh peppers, cleaned and sliced keep extremely well and taste fresh out of the freezer.

I don't know about you, but I happen to like variety and I'm always experimenting with flavors, there is no reason why I would let EBT stop me from utilizing my creativity or starve my tastebuds.
Not to mention you can combine your buying power with a friend or neighbor to buy say an expensive spice or a roast - since the spice is expensive but you only need a small amount and we all know big packs of frozen meat generally are cheaper too.
Badia is the one brand that has cheap spices incl. specialty spices - no quality issues either.

I was never on EBT but during my year of poverty, I often benefitted from two neighbors who went to the food bank and were given things they did not want or knew what to do with. We also cooked up batches of things and traded the food between us.
One time one of them came home with several bags of frozen apricots they didn't want - until I made pies and desserts galore, yum.

Problems related to a severely limited budget:
Transportation worries (enough money for gas or car repairs), not having access to the Internet, not to mention the library which was out of my way and too far to walk to, were all roadblocks.
There was a TV, but no cable. No movies, no DVD player, no nothing, not even a book unless I had an extra quarter to a full $ to buy a used book at the thrift store/salvation army. 
Believe me, the book selection at the Salvation Army store isn't great either if that is your only source.

No cool stores, plazas, parks etc within walking distance and gas money was often too tight to go somewhere for fun.
Dinner out - once a month $5 endless pizza but with only a water to drink. Evening out, $5 once every two weeks just to stay sane. Sometimes a day at the beach, can't afford the parking, so you walk a bit more from where you parked. Nothing is cheap enough at the beach although you sometimes cave and buy a drink or a trinket at one of the beach art fairs and festivals.
Then you worry all week long if you really have enough gas to make it to payday. 

Hated that I never had the wherewithal to just walk in the grocery store and buy exactly what I wanted.
Non-negotiable - decent coffee:) - although a few times I re-used the filter or had to rely on cheap black tea. Good free coffee at work helped a lot.

The thing that sucks about poverty is the lack of choice, the lack of access and all the extra time and effort you devote to keep going and afloat.
The good thing is you learn to live on very little and discover options and opportunities where there were none. You learn to trade your skills and keep an eye on the dumpster when someone moves out or stop by and troll for potential goodies without (too much) shame.
The exhausting thing is that you can never afford to let your guard down - the smallest wrong move can spell disaster - the ripple effect will cost you!

If it had not been for a trip a month to the beach or a festival, or a day at the park - the overtime at work that gave me access on the weekend to a computer at work to print coupons, read up on interesting stuff, learn and play, I think I would have been a depressed basket case.
We all need a break and we all need encouragement and the hope that we can escape a bad situation or at the very least find ways to cope, even live better than you expected as you discover new tricks to survive the next catastrophic $25 rent increase.

mm1970

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #87 on: January 22, 2019, 02:00:33 PM »
My grandmother was on a small, fixed income.  She was tremendously frugal, and I often remember how she shopped and did things, and I find inspiration. 

She kept a few staples on hand -  milk, coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, oil, butter and a small bag of flour.  She lived a very short walk from a grocery store, and she would walk over every 2-3 days and purchase just what she needed.  There was never any food waste in her house.  She purchased exactly what she needed and she ate what she purchased.  When I spent the night we would walk over together and purchase a small container of ice cream.  I was always amazed when she made me hot cocoa "from scratch", using a tin of Hershey's cocoa powder and sugar, mixed in to warm milk. 

The area where she once lived is now a food desert. 

She is no longer with us, but the grocery store where she shopped closed over a decade ago, leaving a food desert in the good sized Southern city I live in.  The city even purchased the building and land, hoping to entire another grocer into the space, but there were no takers.  There is a dollar general and a small discount grocery within a couple of miles, but the nearest good sized grocery store is miles away, and this is in the middle of a city.

Perhaps there are cities with no food deserts, but it certainly is an issue here.

https://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/end-north-charleston-food-desert/article_e5b3658e-882e-11e7-92e6-f72c25ea51f8.html

https://abcnews4.com/news/local/frustration-continues-for-north-charleston-residents-near-food-desert

So this isn't a grocery store then? http://freshfuturefarm.org/the-store/

I see there are also two home grocery delivery service to that area, Instacart and Shipt.
"Thanks to our donors, Fresh Future Farm opened the first USDA grocery store in the Chicora-Cherokee community since Winn Dixie closed in 2005."

It opened in 2014.    My math says 9 years of no grocery store. 

On instacart:

"Instacart costs $7.99 for one-hour delivery or $5.99 for two-hour or more delivery (you can select one-hour time windows), though the price can increase at particularly busy times. For free two-hour delivery on orders $35+, you can pay a $149 yearly membership. A tip gets added on automatically."

Sounds super affordable.

mm1970

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #88 on: January 22, 2019, 02:04:02 PM »
You have to be able to afford technology and also afford where you live. You really don’t understand the lack of options when poor. I have known poor working moms to ride the bus for 2 hours twice a day in order to get the kids to daycare and themselves to work.  Then they need to do everything else with much less time than someone with a car and more money. Their lives are exhausting. Snap doesn’t buy all their groceries but is a huge help.

+1.  Reading comprehension. Compassion.  Or as someone else posted above: The book called "$2 a day: living on almost nothing in America".  Good resource if you have any desire to understand.

OtherJen

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #89 on: January 22, 2019, 02:38:56 PM »
My grandmother was on a small, fixed income.  She was tremendously frugal, and I often remember how she shopped and did things, and I find inspiration. 

She kept a few staples on hand -  milk, coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, oil, butter and a small bag of flour.  She lived a very short walk from a grocery store, and she would walk over every 2-3 days and purchase just what she needed.  There was never any food waste in her house.  She purchased exactly what she needed and she ate what she purchased.  When I spent the night we would walk over together and purchase a small container of ice cream.  I was always amazed when she made me hot cocoa "from scratch", using a tin of Hershey's cocoa powder and sugar, mixed in to warm milk. 

The area where she once lived is now a food desert. 

She is no longer with us, but the grocery store where she shopped closed over a decade ago, leaving a food desert in the good sized Southern city I live in.  The city even purchased the building and land, hoping to entire another grocer into the space, but there were no takers.  There is a dollar general and a small discount grocery within a couple of miles, but the nearest good sized grocery store is miles away, and this is in the middle of a city.

Perhaps there are cities with no food deserts, but it certainly is an issue here.

https://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/end-north-charleston-food-desert/article_e5b3658e-882e-11e7-92e6-f72c25ea51f8.html

https://abcnews4.com/news/local/frustration-continues-for-north-charleston-residents-near-food-desert

So this isn't a grocery store then? http://freshfuturefarm.org/the-store/

I see there are also two home grocery delivery service to that area, Instacart and Shipt.
"Thanks to our donors, Fresh Future Farm opened the first USDA grocery store in the Chicora-Cherokee community since Winn Dixie closed in 2005."

It opened in 2014.    My math says 9 years of no grocery store. 

On instacart:

"Instacart costs $7.99 for one-hour delivery or $5.99 for two-hour or more delivery (you can select one-hour time windows), though the price can increase at particularly busy times. For free two-hour delivery on orders $35+, you can pay a $149 yearly membership. A tip gets added on automatically."

Sounds super affordable.

Not to mention that 1) this is the "Food Stamp Challenge" thread and 2) neither Instacart nor Shipt accepts food stamps.

robartsd

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #90 on: January 22, 2019, 03:07:18 PM »
In the Sacramento, California area.  The payday-lending-heavy neighborhoods are Meadowview and Del Paso Heights.  I've driven through both, generally along the main drag, and seen discount grocery stores at regular intervals.
In Meadowview, the Franklin Blvd and Freeport Blvd Corridors both have reasonable options frequently enough. Similarly along Marysville Rd. and Norwood Ave. in Del Paso Heights. However, many people living near 24th St. in the Meadowview area or Rio Linda Blvd. in the Del Paso Heights area are nearly a mile from the nearest grocery store that I would consider valid alternatives for healthy food access.  Oak Park has similar access issues near many parts of MLK Blvd or US Hwy 99 (Stockton Blvd has reasonable options fairly regularly). I'm not sure how many people actually live more than 1 mile from the nearest option, but I'm certain you could find some small pockets where the nearest option is over a mile of travel (and many locations where there is not more than one option within that threshold).

AlexMar

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #91 on: January 22, 2019, 06:32:59 PM »
As a social worker helping people on welfare I have been in many homes and it was the rare person abusing their food stamps. Most were trying to feed their families and find child care they could afford and work.  They usually ended up on welfare because their partner left them and often wasn’t paying child support.

Seriously. 

It's great that people on this thread can beat a food stamp challenge no problem.  So can I; my budget assumes it although the last time I started from nothing was when I moved out here so it's been a few years.  Of course, even if I'm forgoing use of a microwave (unwillingly at the moment, need to take a look at that) I have a functional fridge and freezer, a functional stove, a place to store reasonable amounts of food (not a backpack/suitcase containing all of my worldly possessions), a place to store food without ongoing mice/ant/cockroach incursions, functional electric, generally cooperative plumbing, more than one pan, a single full-time job where I decide if I go in early/work late, transportation to and from that job that means that I can leave for work and get home at reasonable hours when I'm not too exhausted to cook, multiple grocery stores that I can get to when they're open...those are things I can count on off the top of my head that not everyone has, and if I sit down and think about the things I've heard (I volunteer with kids aging out of foster care and families coming out of homelssness so I've heard a fair amount) I can probably come up with more.  Is it really that hard to ask people what their challenges are instead of making assumptions?  I'd never argue that there aren't people gaming the system, there are people that will game any system, but acting like that's the great majority isn't supported by any actual data that I've seen.

I can think of entire "tax credit" apartment complexes abusing food stamps and government programs.  I was making $14/hr and made too much to live in the complex, yet the parking lot was loaded with expensive new vehicles.  And this was a large complex with hundreds of units.  It's hardly the "rare" abuser that you are leading us to believe.  Yeah, it helps lots of people who genuinely need the help, but these programs are obnoxiously abused.

But whether it's the "great majority" is a tougher question, actually.  Do you truly believe a majority of these people would never be able to support themselves?  I'm not talking about the mentally ill, disabled, obviously - but able bodied adults.  I think these programs and handouts encourage people to stay poor.  From a day to day perspective, sure they need the funds to eat, from a broader view, I would say that a majority do abuse the system even if not intentionally.

I think the food stamp challenge is awesome.  And of course it proves that people can eat VERY well on food stamps.  I'm wealthy and I barely spend more than the food stamp challenge on day to day meals.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2019, 06:34:36 PM by AlexMar »

mountain mustache

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #92 on: January 22, 2019, 07:35:51 PM »
I've read through this whole thread, and I am pretty surprised by some of the things I've read. We are so privileged to be able to discuss how we would live on food stamps, what we would buy, and how easy it is. Yet, I've read so few comments mentioning empathy and compassion for people who are actually in this situation, who have no back up options, and who don't get to spend more money next month when their "frugal experiment" is over.

The questioning of limited access to food is what really surprises me, though. I'm from a town and state with a huge population of people living in poverty with limited access to food. In fact last I checked the number was around 30% of the population of the state live in "low access" areas, and the town I am from has been ranked one of the worst food deserts in the country. People commenting in this thread who are questioning food deserts should do a little more traveling to rural and low income areas of the US, especially the south/southeast, because access to food is a very real problem.

Cassie

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #93 on: January 22, 2019, 09:46:38 PM »
Alex, you are a insensitive troll.

Unique User

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #94 on: January 23, 2019, 06:44:13 AM »
I've read through this whole thread, and I am pretty surprised by some of the things I've read. We are so privileged to be able to discuss how we would live on food stamps, what we would buy, and how easy it is. Yet, I've read so few comments mentioning empathy and compassion for people who are actually in this situation, who have no back up options, and who don't get to spend more money next month when their "frugal experiment" is over.

The questioning of limited access to food is what really surprises me, though. I'm from a town and state with a huge population of people living in poverty with limited access to food. In fact last I checked the number was around 30% of the population of the state live in "low access" areas, and the town I am from has been ranked one of the worst food deserts in the country. People commenting in this thread who are questioning food deserts should do a little more traveling to rural and low income areas of the US, especially the south/southeast, because access to food is a very real problem.

@mountain mustache - you are absolutely right on rural areas in the south/southeast, I'd also add the southwest.  When we lived on the western slope, we were 50 miles from a reasonably priced grocery store.  In no way could we afford the local grocery.  Many of our friends hunted deer and elk to fill their freezers for the winter.  I am grateful beyond words to those resourceful rural people who showed us how to gather wood from the National Forests for heat, took DH hunting and taught us a lot on surviving on our tiny incomes in those years.  We always knew we could leave and rejoin the corporate world, many people did not have those options. 

mm1970

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #95 on: January 23, 2019, 01:01:04 PM »
As a social worker helping people on welfare I have been in many homes and it was the rare person abusing their food stamps. Most were trying to feed their families and find child care they could afford and work.  They usually ended up on welfare because their partner left them and often wasn’t paying child support.

Seriously. 

It's great that people on this thread can beat a food stamp challenge no problem.  So can I; my budget assumes it although the last time I started from nothing was when I moved out here so it's been a few years.  Of course, even if I'm forgoing use of a microwave (unwillingly at the moment, need to take a look at that) I have a functional fridge and freezer, a functional stove, a place to store reasonable amounts of food (not a backpack/suitcase containing all of my worldly possessions), a place to store food without ongoing mice/ant/cockroach incursions, functional electric, generally cooperative plumbing, more than one pan, a single full-time job where I decide if I go in early/work late, transportation to and from that job that means that I can leave for work and get home at reasonable hours when I'm not too exhausted to cook, multiple grocery stores that I can get to when they're open...those are things I can count on off the top of my head that not everyone has, and if I sit down and think about the things I've heard (I volunteer with kids aging out of foster care and families coming out of homelssness so I've heard a fair amount) I can probably come up with more.  Is it really that hard to ask people what their challenges are instead of making assumptions?  I'd never argue that there aren't people gaming the system, there are people that will game any system, but acting like that's the great majority isn't supported by any actual data that I've seen.

I can think of entire "tax credit" apartment complexes abusing food stamps and government programs.  I was making $14/hr and made too much to live in the complex, yet the parking lot was loaded with expensive new vehicles.  And this was a large complex with hundreds of units.  It's hardly the "rare" abuser that you are leading us to believe.  Yeah, it helps lots of people who genuinely need the help, but these programs are obnoxiously abused.

But whether it's the "great majority" is a tougher question, actually.  Do you truly believe a majority of these people would never be able to support themselves?  I'm not talking about the mentally ill, disabled, obviously - but able bodied adults.  I think these programs and handouts encourage people to stay poor.  From a day to day perspective, sure they need the funds to eat, from a broader view, I would say that a majority do abuse the system even if not intentionally.

I think the food stamp challenge is awesome.  And of course it proves that people can eat VERY well on food stamps.  I'm wealthy and I barely spend more than the food stamp challenge on day to day meals.

Food stamp fraud:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonconstable/2018/04/04/the-facts-about-food-stamp-fraud/#25531f86f880

Quote
When compared with those total figures, the fraud identified in 2016 amounted to a mere 0.9% of the total. That was up from 0.5% in 2012.

Hardly obnoxious, but you are allowed to believe what you want, despite the facts.

The only fraud that I can find described about public housing are:
- misuse of funds by the HUD executives
- Abuse from the contractors building the units and "padding" their bills.

HipGnosis

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #96 on: January 24, 2019, 07:53:10 AM »

Seriously. 

It's great that people on this thread can beat a food stamp challenge no problem.  So can I; my budget assumes it although the last time I started from nothing was when I moved out here so it's been a few years.  Of course, even if I'm forgoing use of a microwave (unwillingly at the moment, need to take a look at that) I have a functional fridge and freezer, a functional stove, a place to store reasonable amounts of food (not a backpack/suitcase containing all of my worldly possessions), a place to store food without ongoing mice/ant/cockroach incursions, functional electric, generally cooperative plumbing, more than one pan, a single full-time job where I decide if I go in early/work late, transportation to and from that job that means that I can leave for work and get home at reasonable hours when I'm not too exhausted to cook, multiple grocery stores that I can get to when they're open...those are things I can count on off the top of my head that not everyone has, and if I sit down and think about the things I've heard (I volunteer with kids aging out of foster care and families coming out of homelssness so I've heard a fair amount) I can probably come up with more.  Is it really that hard to ask people what their challenges are instead of making assumptions?  I'd never argue that there aren't people gaming the system, there are people that will game any system, but acting like that's the great majority isn't supported by any actual data that I've seen.

I can think of entire "tax credit" apartment complexes abusing food stamps and government programs.  I was making $14/hr and made too much to live in the complex, yet the parking lot was loaded with expensive new vehicles.  And this was a large complex with hundreds of units.  It's hardly the "rare" abuser that you are leading us to believe.  Yeah, it helps lots of people who genuinely need the help, but these programs are obnoxiously abused.

But whether it's the "great majority" is a tougher question, actually.  Do you truly believe a majority of these people would never be able to support themselves?  I'm not talking about the mentally ill, disabled, obviously - but able bodied adults.  I think these programs and handouts encourage people to stay poor.  From a day to day perspective, sure they need the funds to eat, from a broader view, I would say that a majority do abuse the system even if not intentionally.

I think the food stamp challenge is awesome.  And of course it proves that people can eat VERY well on food stamps.  I'm wealthy and I barely spend more than the food stamp challenge on day to day meals.

Food stamp fraud:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/simonconstable/2018/04/04/the-facts-about-food-stamp-fraud/#25531f86f880

Quote
When compared with those total figures, the fraud identified in 2016 amounted to a mere 0.9% of the total. That was up from 0.5% in 2012.

Hardly obnoxious, but you are allowed to believe what you want, despite the facts.

The only fraud that I can find described about public housing are:
- misuse of funds by the HUD executives
- Abuse from the contractors building the units and "padding" their bills.
No one's buying a nice car from frauding SNAP(food stamps).
But it's just one of the six major U.S. welfare programs. They are; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs(SNAP), Supplemental Security Income, Earned Income Tax Credit, and Housing Assistance.
It's pretty safe to deduct that anyone that is abusing one of them, is abusing as many of them as they can.
I have an ex-sister-in-law that abused them - to the max possible.  She went so far as  having another baby and moved to another state just to keep/maximize her benefits.  There is (was) a sort of fraternity of people on welfare helping others get all they can. She had access to better medical facilities than I did when I was in the Air Force.

AlexMar

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #97 on: January 24, 2019, 08:19:02 AM »
I've read through this whole thread, and I am pretty surprised by some of the things I've read. We are so privileged to be able to discuss how we would live on food stamps, what we would buy, and how easy it is. Yet, I've read so few comments mentioning empathy and compassion for people who are actually in this situation, who have no back up options, and who don't get to spend more money next month when their "frugal experiment" is over.

The questioning of limited access to food is what really surprises me, though. I'm from a town and state with a huge population of people living in poverty with limited access to food. In fact last I checked the number was around 30% of the population of the state live in "low access" areas, and the town I am from has been ranked one of the worst food deserts in the country. People commenting in this thread who are questioning food deserts should do a little more traveling to rural and low income areas of the US, especially the south/southeast, because access to food is a very real problem.

This country has gone from people traveling for months in a wagon for better opportunities.... to complaining that the grocery store is too far away to use their card to get free food.  Sigh.

AlexMar

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #98 on: January 24, 2019, 08:23:09 AM »
Alex, you are a insensitive troll.

I'm ok with you thinking that.  I think able-bodied people should be able to support themselves, and that truly disabled (including mentally) should be taken care of by the majority.  If that's trolling, then sure, whatever.  I went from living on my own with a McDonalds wage (extremely difficult) to being wealthy - constantly pushing to get ahead.  So yeah, I'm not that sensitive to perfectly capable people who sit at the bottom and don't put the effort in to pull themselves up.  It never occurred to me to live that life forever, to seek out government assistance, etc.  So I do have a hard time empathizing with those that do.

Funny thing is, it's a pretty mustachian way of thinking.  :)
« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 08:29:48 AM by AlexMar »

robartsd

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Re: Food Stamp Challenge
« Reply #99 on: January 24, 2019, 08:52:31 AM »
This country has gone from people traveling for months in a wagon for better opportunities.... to complaining that the grocery store is too far away to use their card to get free food.  Sigh.
It did take about a century and a half to make the transition.