Here’s a little change of pace from my typical recipe post, don’t worry there is still a easy, healthy, and affordable recipe at the end 🙂 I’d like to share something I’m involved with right now.
I recently was accepted into the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance, a tight knit group that’s mission is to work together with our peers to set a standard of transparency and fairness in food blogging. We will also support each other and our community through classes, social events, and philanthropy. With that being said I’m not only super excited to be a part of this group but eager to tell you about our first philanthropy project with the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. We were asked to blog, share our thoughts, and write about the face of hunger so here it goes.
If you haven’t heard of SNAP it’s the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-AKA “food stamps”. The minimum one can receive is $16 per month and the average household in need receives around $275. Some obvious disadvantages: I found it to be very unfair that if you are a convicted felon for a drug offense after 1996 you are completely ineligible for ANY benefits but you could be a convicted rapist or child molester and still qualify for benefits… Hmmm something is not quite right about that. Also if you live in Texas be prepared to encounter the daunting task of filling out a short novel just to see if you may qualify (oh and if you don’t, don’t expect to hear back from them). Not only is the paperwork ridiculously time consuming but I bet that there are some that are eligible for benefits (but are not applying) due to the pain of applying or not knowing how to properly apply. I went online and started filling out the paperwork to see what it consisted of, 6 min later and I had given up…
An Interesting Fact: Did you know that 248,544 are income eligible, but don’t receive (they aren’t applying) SNAP thus reducing economic activity… Central Texas misses out on $630,000,000 through lost economic activity.
Naturally, as gas and food prices rise more and more individuals and families are effected.
FROM SOMEONE THAT HAS BEEN THROUGH IT:
I interviewed a former SNAP client to get some uncensored opinions and asked these 5 questions:
1. Q: Did the long process of applying dissuade you from ever applying or renewing your application? A: “Yes, all the paperwork was a pain. ”
2. Q: Did it help you and your family enough to make a difference? A: “It did help out a lot, what sucked is I had to lie & say I was seperated so I can get anything at all… then I find out theres couples or singles w/out kids, but no jobs who got a lot more than I did w/3 kids. =/”
3.Q: Have you ever been embarrassed or felt you were judged at the store when checking out? A: “Wasn’t too much embarrassed but did feel judged about it.”
4. Q: Was it easy for you to get help when needed? A: “Not really, too much paperwork & waiting. A lot of the info they ask for doesn’t seem necessary to me. Like I said I know people who are single w/no kids who don’t have a job & that qualifies them for emergency foodstamps. crazy huh.”
5. Q: Did you ever sacrifice feeding yourself or your family to pay another bill like rent or electricity? A: “Yes we have had to sacrifice the feeding for bills… we would eat though…. go over to a family members house or something.”
This is a real problem, if you know someone that is in need of these benefits, let them know about the CAFB and SNAP! If you don’t, you can make a DONATION or VOLUNTEER at your local food bank, any little bit helps!
Here’s a quick and easy recipe high in protein and nutrients that will make your dollar stretch and leave you satisfied!
Zesty Tuna Salad on Crackers or Bread
Serves: 4 for sandwiches, or several for snacks with crackers, can be refrigerated for 2 days.
Prep Time: 5-10 min
- 12 oz can of Tuna in water or oil, the large can(I used the tuna in water).
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1/4 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 TBS plain greek yogurt or mayo
- 1 TBS mustard
- 1 lemon, juiced and zest
- 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Drain tuna and empty contents into a medium bowl.
- Chop produce and empty into bowl.
- Add yogurt or mayo, lemon juice/zest, and mustard and stir mixture until mixed throughly.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Enjoy on bread or crackers!
- About 48,000 different people receive emergency food assistance from CAFB in any given week.
- CAFB serves nearly 300,000 people each year.
- 41 percent of CAFB clients are children.
- 95 percent of CAFB partner agencies say they could no longer serve their clients if the Food Bank shut down tomorrow.
- More than a third of CAFB’s older clients go for extended periods without food.
- 1 in 5 families served by CAFB experience the physical pain of hunger.
- Almost half of CAFB clients have at least one working adult at home.
- Almost half of the families CAFB serves have to choose between buying food and paying utilities.
- 82 percent of CAFB clients are not homeless.
Source: Hunger in America 2010: Central Texas Report
According to Feeding America’s preliminary data, 442,263 (17.8%) Central Texans are estimated to be food insecure.