Guest Blog: Kelly Snyder, Board President of the Manitou Art Center

Our friend Kelly Snyder is embarking on the Food Assistance Challenge. Her grocery shopping experience certainly puts things into perspective!

I’ve never had such an emotional time grocery shopping. I walked past the $19 Mums thinking that would be virtually all of my food budget! My 15 year-old daughter got a cart to shop for the rest of the family and I took one for myself. We started in produce where I optimistically threw in a small, Rocky-Ford cantaloupe I weighed it and thought it would going to be my splurge item if I did well shopping. Then I threw in one organic, Colorado-peach…. I could do this!

With my suggested shopping list I stood in from of the celery and carrots (not organic) and was thrilled to see individual stalks. Then I passed the deli and got the meat section. I settled on a $5.27 package of chicken breasts, which I later returned for one $2.27 breast wrapped up at the meat counter, after realizing I couldn’t buy cheese. Suffice to say many items ended up going back…. I celebrated finding Folgers, single-serve, instant coffee, 7 servings for $1.19. On the chip aisle my daughter explained that tostada chips were not a good value when I should buy more protein and that a package of corn tortillas would be much more versatile. I will enjoy making my own tostadas.

I bought a non-organic half-gallon of whole milk because I couldn’t afford cream for my coffee and the two peanut butter sandwiches I get this week will go well with a big glass of milk; a meal I eat nostalgically about once a year.

I got down to the real nitty gritty because of my gluten intolerance. The least expensive loaf of GF bread was $4.99. This is not negotiable because I cannot have gluten. I decided I would figure out how many slices I could purchase from the frozen loaf of Glutino I had at home (4 @ .17¢). I figured our how many .4¢ lipton tea bags I could buy from my stock at home and I was feeling alright. Did my math for the 5th or 6th time in my extended shopping trip and threw in some eggs.

I got to the check out stand and had the cashier hold back the cantaloupe and peach just in case. With my shopper’s discount I rang up $22.27 out of my $22.50 budget for Monday to Friday of this week. No local fruit for me this week. My only compromises were getting a can of veggie, organic-chile because all of the others had wheat and soy and skipping commercial tuna fish, to which they add soy sauce. How does someone with a food allergy live on SNAP and protect their health? Now to face the already set week of breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings….

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