30-Day SNAP Challenge: Friends can be your worst enemy

By Valencia

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- I'm in the midst of my third week of living under a SNAP budget{}and I must admit - I never expected the reaction I've received so far.

I have been asked "Are you starving?" more times than I can count. My co-workers offer me more of their leftovers - half of a sub or a half eaten bag of chips are most popular. {}But, my favorite is when people expect me to eat foods I don't eat (i.e.. beef and pork) out of sheer desperation.

Before I publicly took on this 30-day SNAP challenge no one, outside of my mother, questioned my eating. Now, it's the only topic of discussion. Not to mention the look of pure depression when people hear the answer to, "How much money do you have left?"

It's as if food stamps transformed me into{}some sort of{}helpless being in front of their very eyes.

I never thought living on FAKE food stamps would change the way folks treat me. In fact, I can only imagine the ridicule people get with REAL food stamps. {}

Granted, I think people were genuinely concerned about my well-being, or find eating on $131 to be some sort of "What the Hell?"{}kind of{}fact to make fun of.

Either way, my SNAP Challenge is only for 30 short days and for the purpose of research. But, for hundreds of thousands of others, such a challenge lasts for months, if not years, on end. Not to mention, most of those folks are forced to depend on this program because they have no other financial resource for food.

(Keep in mind: there are people{}who take advantage of federal food assistance but, that's a whole other subject for a different blog.)

This 30-day SNAP challenge has taught me a lot about doing more with less. But more than anything, it has taught me to be thankful for every morsel of food I'm able to buy.