Sorry this is late, but we were out late last night.
And that is sort of the point of this post.
One of the toughest things for us about taking on this SNAP Challenge is that the rules say you can’t eat at a restaurant (they don’t accept food stamps) AND you can’t eat any food provided by anyone else. While, of course, SNAP participants aren’t restricted from accepting food from other people, the idea of the SNAP challenge is to see what it is like to exist ONLY on the food available through food stamps.
That meant to do this, we had to find a week where there were no graduation parties or end of the year celebrations, no potlucks at the Center, no business meals out, no holiday gatherings, no one visiting, and no other social activity that would involve food. Most weeks, we have at least one or two days that involve social engagements that include food.
Therefore, I had cleared this post-solstice week of and we launched our Challenge on Saturday.
The following Monday, I got an invitation from a friend to a picnic concert event on Wednesday evening. This is a series we have been trying to go to together this summer, but I’ve been tied up on previous Wednesdays.
My knee-jerk reaction was to say, No, sorry, SNAP week, but we were running out of concerts. I had all the meals carefully planned and had spent all my food money. But then I thought, Could I make this work? The rules don’t say that you have to eat everything at home. It is just that most of my SNAP Challenge foods aren’t that portable.
But I thought about it, and figured I could change things up a bit if I wanted. I had leftover chicken, and some bread was still left, along with lettuce, onion, and my last precious farmer’s market tomato. I could make chicken sandwiches! That would work…
So I said yes and thus last night we had a wonderful concert on a lovely cool summer evening in a beautiful garden setting with a good friend.
Our picnic was admittedly pretty minimal. I had to forego my glass of wine that I usually like to drink on such occasions, since you can’t purchase alcohol with food stamps. But that was OK. It was great to be with our friend and to enjoy the concert and just not concentrate on the food and drink.
I was really happy to see that I could include some spontaneity and flexibility in my SNAP Challenge plans. I don’t want to feel like doing this is like donning a straight jacket that keeps me trapped to my original meal plans. This helps me continue to feel empowered and uplifted about my entire SNAP Challenge experience.