When Bruce Mayhew, President of the Board of Directors of Fife House, contacted me last week, I was not anticipating the reason for his call. But as he explained some of the inspiration behind the Trying to Thrive on $6.65 awareness campaign, I quickly realized that this was something I wanted to be involved with. Before hanging up, I had gladly pledged my support in terms of promoting and discussing the initiative via social media and a food blog that I contribute to.
My initial hesitation in actually participating in the challenge itself was connected to a scheduling conflict with a half-marathon I had planned. After I got off the phone, I realized I had my agenda open to the wrong month during the conversation (a clear failure to multi-task) and that there was nothing stopping me from accepting to live on a total food budget of $46.55 for the week of April 1-7.
With the start of the challenge being only a week away, there isn’t a lot of time to research and plan strategies, but I was fortunate enough to attend an orientation and coaching session on Monday. This was conducted by staff of Fife House, outlining some of the cost-saving measures used for the different meal programs offered at the various locations, along with useful documents and sites we could refer to. We also discussed the parameters, which are slightly different than those followed by Mayor Cory Booker during #SNAPChallenge.
As a volunteer at drop-in for homeless and housing-challenged LGBT youth, I’ve been exposed to the fact that food choices aren’t simply influenced by budget. This meeting was another reminder that for residents and clients of Fife, various health concerns, including HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, diabetes and high cholesterol, further complicate decisions around meal planning and preparation.
As these tips and realities were communicated to us and we raised questions and concerns as participants, one thing became clear: We already were benefiting from being (somewhat) prepared for this change in lifestyle by accessing information resources and starting off with some support. Without this type of aid, do you think you could thrive on $6.65?