Humbled by the Food Stamp Challenge

By United Way of King County, on March 21, 2014 | In Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

Hunger Action Week took place from March 17-22. During that time we asked as many people as possible to learn about hunger in the community and commit to spreading their new-found knowledge. At last count our hunger fighters pledged to spread the word to over 30,000 people. Now that’s compassion.

We also asked people to learn about the nutrition hurdles that low-income Americans face every day by taking the food stamp challenge which means that you live on a daily food budget of roughly $6.30 a day. That comes out to 2.10 per meal! Below is one woman’s account of taking on that challenge.

Aven Hauser for Hunger Action WeekGuest blogger Aven Hauser shares her experience on the food stamp challenge with us during Hunger Action Week. She is an Assistant Buyer at Costco and also volunteers at United Way on the Emerging Leaders Marketing Committee.

Not only is food my career but in my house, it is our passion. My son and I love going to Pike Place to find the one off ingredients, experimenting with new recipes and exploring restaurants with unique menus. Really, how often do you come across a 5 year old who loves Lamb, Ahi, Blue Cheese and Balsamic Vinegar!?!

When I heard about the Food Stamp Challenge I knew I had to not only partake but involve Axel as well.

Quite frankly, I didn’t know what I was in for… I figured ok, we can do this for three days, no big deal. We had $11.50/day for the two of us, so $34.50 for the three days. We would need to plan out our meals, make a grocery list, shop and prep our meals, easy!

The experience became very real even from step one. Now normally I would of course shop at Costco however, given my budget I was forced to the grocery store. I immediately began noticing the prices of the protein, fruits, vegetables and I found myself only able to afford a minimal quantity, probably only enough to feed my son. I told myself it was fine and that I would figure out something later for myself because I wanted to ensure that Axel was able to continue to eat healthy, meals of substance.

From my first encounter with United Way, one statistic that has been at the forefront of my mind,

1 in 4 children in King County struggles with hunger.

I was completely shocked and became motivated to help in any way that I could!

What the Food Stamp Challenge did for me was let me see the hunger struggles our community is facing from yet another perspective. The perspective of a parent, willing to sacrifice anything for their child’s well being. This experience was very humbling and truly made me appreciate how fortunate we are. My heart goes out to all of the families fighting hunger. I am more devoted than ever to help them fight, to advocate, to educate and feed our community!

Are you in your 20’s or 30’s and looking for ways to help fight hunger in Washington? Sign up to receive our Emerging Leaders emails to get invitations to volunteer and network with like-minded people.


January 27, 2015

Thank you so much for helping and educating our children!

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