The SNAP Experience : National Hunger Awareness Month

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September is National Hunger Awareness Month. From September 3-9, Arizona Community Action Association (ACAA) is sponsoring the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Experience, a week long real-life experience living on just $29 for food, the same as a typical SNAP participant. This experience helps provide a slim view into what it is like to live in poverty. Helping people change their circumstance starts with local community awareness and support.  Help change your community by participating to raise your own awareness.

In Arizona, 1 in 5 people struggle with hunger every day and 1 in 4 children live in food insecure households. SNAP, the federal Food Stamp Program, is our nation’s first line of defense against hunger, helping put healthy foods on the table when Arizonans would otherwise go hungry. SNAP is a critical bridge to help individuals and families establish financial stability so they can move out of or away from poverty.

SNAP is intended to supplement the monthly food budget, although we know that many households rely solely on SNAP to purchase food.   We also know that SNAP can only reasonably cover about 70% of monthly food costs and average food consumption per person.

SNAP Experience participants are encouraged to use only $29 to pay for all food costs for the week.  However, you can supplement the $29 budget with a maximum of $12 more for food purchases not typically permitted on SNAP (hot and prepared meals or alcohol products, for example). SNAP Experience participants who choose this option are asked to not exceed $41 in total weekly expenses, and to track how the additional $12 is spent.

The SNAP Experience goal is to increase awareness about poverty and hunger in Arizona through a meaningful personal experience and to draw media attention to the hardships faced by those living in poverty. While this experience cannot give us a true sense of living in deep or prolonged poverty, it can provide insight into some of the challenges families confront.

For more information about the SNAP Experience, please contact  Angela Schultz at aschultz@azcaa.org or by phone at 602-604-0640.  To participate in the SNAP Experience, please register online . Please register for one or all SNAP Experience options that interest you. 1) only the SNAP Experience, 2) the SNAP Experience and the additional $12 supplement; 3) SNAP Experience media events, and 4) ACAA’s SNAP Experience social media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

Help to elevate the issue of hunger into the public discourse, whether by participating yourself in the SNAP Experience, being aware of the information ACAA provides about others participating in the SNAP Experience, or spreading the word to those you know about this opportunity.

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