Friday, June 8, 2007

Hungry


Happy Friday, everyone!

I'd like to urge all quilting and sewing enthusiasts to check out this doll quilt tutorial; this project (and the tutorial) by 'Lady Harvatine' was so well conceived and produced. I can imagine all kinds of possibilities from this beginning. For me, it's the kind of project I just keep thinking about during the day (this is probably where I get myself into trouble, but so be it).

And this little card will go off today or tomorrow in a package to a new friend. I still would like to spend some dedicated time to card making so that I had a handy supply to pull from -- or, at least, solid starts that I could embellish with particular recipients in mind. I did decide that this summer I will take my entire craft room apart, clean it ruthlessly, organize it, and invest in some storage/display/organization solutions so that it's a workable space that's inspiring to be in and that does NOT make me feel as though I need to keep the door closed if anyone comes 'round to visit. Anyway, being able to do things like make cards should be an easy thing, and should not require the rebalancing of several towers of 'stuff' just to be able to clear about a 5 inch workspace on the table....

A parent at our school submitted an article for this week's newsletter about how his family took the Food Stamp Challenge. The issue is that the food stamp program in the US (giving vouchers to low income families that they can use to buy groceries) has been grossly underfunded for years and is facing further cuts under the current administration. The program "allows" $1.00 per person per meal. Members of our congress undertook the challenge -- to feed themselves and their families on that budget for a week -- held press conferences offering lunches based on that budget -- and inspired the family at our school to try it. The result of course is that (1) you can only afford to buy processed, high-calorie, low-nutritional foods because (2) that's your only hope of filling yourself up so that you aren't constantly hungry. And the "option" of buying a lot of healthy, bulk foods to cook up yourself generally isn't a choice for these families, because the hours they need to spend working/commuting etc. don't leave the kind of time it takes to cook that way. And like so many other programs, this one has a vicious cycle built into it -- your income has to be really low to qualify, so you have no incentive to try to earn more because that will take you out of the program but still won't leave you with enough $ to feed your family. I don't know how much of my grocery bill I should subtract out to account for non-food items, but I'm calculating that we easily spend between $3 and $5 per person, per meal -- perhaps sometimes even more. And that includes snacks and drinks and things outside of "meal" time, which of course is a luxury that food stamp families don't have. I can't imagine living on $3 a day for food. Can you?

2 comments:

Helen Conway said...

How much?!! Or rather how little?!!
My Mum does reckon that she can budget for £1 a meal and I suspect she can as she is very thrifty and likes plain food ( and hides snacks from my Dad!) but that is $2 per meal on current rates. Plus she cheats for special occasions and guests. I don't actually cost individual meals but cannot conceive it is anything like as low as $2 for what we actually spend. I do think though that the high calorie prepared food does cost more than good stuff because you pay for the preparation and packing. The problem is giving people cooking and buying skills. There were some GP surgeries here who started buying wholesale fruit and veg and allowing patients to buy five a day (or whatever they wanted) at cost price. I bought a punnet of blueberries last week for a healthy breakfast that cost £1.25 or about $2.50 and that's without the milk and cereal or the rest of my day!

Donna said...

Wow. That's an eye-opener. How very sad and you're right, it's a vicious cycle. Often people who live on a low income as a way of life have no self-confidence which also factors into a lack of ability to reach a higher income level. Sad.
I love having the card you posted here and all the goodies that came along with it! I love the way you do your collage with an eclectic, yet cohesive balance of ephemera. Very, very cool. Thank you SO much.