TERRE HAUTE —
A hunger challenge is open to the community this year, as organizers hope to emphasize the cost of food.
Following up on last year’s success with the United Way Hunger Challenge, where 22 participants spent a week eating only what they could afford with a food stamp allowance, organizers are inviting others to participate as well.
Troy Fears, executive director of the United Way of the Wabash Valley, said nearly all of last year’s participants will return for the challenge, set to run from Sept. 16 through 22 this year. But this year the list is growing as the United Way and Catholic Charities of Terre Haute promote the challenge on Facebook at a page titled “United Way Hunger Challenge.”
As of Sunday evening, the page was “Liked” by 42 people.
Fears said this year participants will have $4.18 a day, or $29.27 a week, to feed themselves.
“It’s going to be a real challenge,” said Fears, who participated in 2011. “Last year we had $32 for the week.”
John Etling, director of Catholic Charities, said the $29.27 represents the average amount of money received by SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients in the Wabash Valley. The lowered amount reflects this year’s average as opposed to last year’s.
According to a new study released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one in six Wabash Valley residents is food insecure.
Fears said he hadn’t gone shopping yet for the challenge, but he was planning out a strategy. While the food allotment has been lowered, the price of food has risen, he pointed out. Last year he tried to stock up on cheaper items such as flavored noodles, but this year he’ll try buying rice and beans in bulk.
“Eating healthy foods is going to be a real challenge,” he said.
Etling too was still planning his meals.
“I’m still strategizing,” he said Sunday.
Last year he bought a whole chicken, which produced about eight meals through sandwiches and other recipes, he said.
“That seemed to be a good source of protein,” he pointed out, noting this year he might try some casseroles, beans and rice. But by the end of the week last year, he was down to a spoon and peanut butter, he said.
In addition to himself, Fears said Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett and Vigo County School Corp. Superintendent Danny Tanoos will return to the challenge, but everyone is welcome to participate.
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to join
• To participate in the 2012 United Way Hunger Challenge, visit the Facebook page “United Way Hunger Challenge” for details. For more information, visit www.uwwv.org.