Imagine you experience hunger and food insecurity.
Imagine guarding that $3.78 so you could make an extra trip to the grocery store.
What am I asking you to imagine? I’m asking you to imagine that you’re running out of food and you can’t buy more food. Not because you don’t have time to go to the store, but because you don’t have the money to go to the store. You don’t have the option of grabbing something to eat at a cafe or a fast food restaurant. You won’t be able to eat until you receive credit on your EBT card (this has replaced paper food stamps) or until you are allowed to get food at a food pantry (eat pantry has a policy about how often one may get food). What would you do? Educating individuals how to better spend the money they do have is part of the answer, but it’s not the whole answer.
During class on Tuesday I asked a student if she was familiar with this particular grocery store. She replied no, that she did not go to the grocery store because she could not afford it. In Operation Frontline classes each student is give a challenge to prepare a healthy meal with food from 4 of the 5 food groups for under $10. If they meet this challenge they receive a $10 gift card to the grocery store to purchase that food. This particular student managed to spend only $6.22. I encouraged her to go back for more. She wanted to save the extra money and use it another time. Imagine guarding that $3.78 so you could make an extra trip to the grocery store. In this moment I realized that I still considered being able to shop at a grocery store as a right. It’s not a right for many, it’s a privilege – one that I won’t be taking for granted any time soon.