FNS (Food Stamp) Challenge!

The Food Bank of CENC challenges you to live on $4.15 a day!

Kids at MarketThe FNS (Food Stamp) Challenge encourages participants to experience what life is like for millions of low-income Americans living on the average daily allowance of around $4*.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program and currently referred to as Food & Nutritional Services (FNS) in North Carolina, feeds millions of hungry families in America every month. But with the rising cost of food and the economy struggling, these benefits are sometimes a family's only access to food. The Food Bank hopes that this activity will educate more people on the increasing importance of SNAP/FNS benefits, energizing them to take long-term action!

Participation is Easy!

Step 1

Eat on $4.15/day for 5 days from October 1 through October 5.
Check out our sample menus (below) to help you get started...

Step 2

Experience hunger for yourself.
Learn about the daily struggles faced by our hungry neighbors!

Step 3

Engage others by sharing your experience.
Create a blog, post to Facebook, & encourage friends to participate.

Think you can handle the Challenge?

Register Now

Tweeting?  Use hashtag #415aday

Share your experience with us! Fill out the Challenge Participant Survey.

Watch the FNS Challenge Wrap Up with staff members Jennifer Caslin, Brad Blackwell & Jen Newmeyer

Read about other FNS Challenge participants' experiences this week:

The Food Bank calls its Food and Nutrition Services Outreach Program "Three Squares for CENC." Through this effort, dedicated outreach coordinators provide application pre-screening and completion assistance to seniors, working families, dislocated workers, individuals living with a disability, people without a permanent address, and military families. Three Squares for CENC helps reduce the anxiety and barriers that many families experience when trying to navigate through the Food and Nutrition Services Program.

Sample Menu # 1  |  Sample Menu # 2

Participation Guidelines:

  • Each person should only spend $4.15 per day on food and drink.

  • All food purchased and eaten in this time must be counted in total spending - this includes food already in your pantry (cost it out proportionately).

  • You may use condiments, spices and flour already in you possession without costing them into your weekly spend. If you buy more, though, you must add that cost into your budget.

  • Don’t eat out … FNS benefits are not accepted in restaurants!

  • Whenever possible, avoid accepting free food from family, friends and coworkers since these opportunities are not always available to those in need.

  • Eat as healthy as possible, keeping in mind that this is how many people eat every day for extended periods of time, whereas you can make up for lost nutrients next week!

  • Answer a short questionnaire, which summarizes your experience.

Helpful Hints:

  • If you take the challenge for an extended period of time, you are encouraged to spend your overall budget in larger allotments ($20.75 for 5 days, $29.05 for a week or $116.20 for a four week month). Advanced planning will help you maintain a much more well-balanced diet in the long term!

  • Get your children involved by sharing with them your reasons for participating, what you are eating during the Challenge and why you have chosen to take part. Please note: it is important that children receive all of the necessary nutrients for growing strong and healthy, so we do not support participation for younger children. (If your child buys or receives lunch at school you may continue this practice without costing it into your budget as FNS recipients would have their children enrolled in the Free or Reduced Lunch Program.)

  • Track your spending and publicly share your experience on a blog, Facebook, Twitter, or send it to your town’s newspaper. Don't forget to send us your blog or journal so that we can share it with our followers!

  • Participating as a group, class, or congregation? The Food Bank of CENC is available to help you design a custom program by sending additional materials, giving a speech or conducting a Hunger 101 at your location. Just give us a call at (919) 875-0707 ext. 3035 or send an e-mail request.

* Note: The average benefit amount in North Carolina is $124.58 per person, per month. Divided by an average month of 30 days, the daily benefit is $4.15 per day, per person. Source: USDA State Averages