This post was sponsored by Y-USA as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram then you know that I agreed to participate in the Food Desert Challenge. This has been one of the hardest challenges I’ve ever completed.
Before I tell you about my experience with the Food Desert Challenge, let me give you some information about food deserts.
Did you know that 28 million Americans live in a food desert? A food desert is defined as an area with a population of people who do not have access to fresh food. This is usually because they do not have a grocery store within a mile radius, instead they only have convenient stores. Usually people in these areas don’t have access to cars. This makes living a mile away from fresh food a big problem.
Can you imagine not having access to fresh food?
Sure, you can still have food, you won’t starve. But limited access to fresh food takes a toll on you eventually.
In order to raise awareness about food deserts and hunger in America, the YMCA started the Food Desert Challenge. The challenge is that you must feed yourself and your family for three days on only $5 a person a day.
When I was first given this assignment I thought it would be easy. I’m used to living below my means. Sixty dollars for three days for my family of 4 can easily get us far.
Then it hit me that I couldn’t rely on my usual recipes with fresh fruits and vegetables. I was going to have to actually attempt to buy foods that I could get in a real food desert. So off to The Dollar Tree we went!
These boys had fun at The Dollar Tree today! We did our grocery shopping there as part of the Food Desert Challenge. For the next three days we will only eat foods that people can find in Food Deserts across America in order to raise awareness about the hunger that many Americans face. We each have $5 to spend on food each day! Most fresh foods are off limits. Wish us luck! #flblogger #floridablogger #syblbloggers #bloggersgetsocial #bethechange #fooddesertchallenge #thedollartree #challenge #onabudget #momblog #momblogger #family
I was able to get a good amount of food at The Dollar Tree. Turns out, they have some pretty great food. I’ve shopped there for all sorts of things in the past, but usually skip the food aisle. Not going to lie, I was impressed. I was able to get frozen strawberries for smoothies, canned goods, a bag of beans, rice, and a bunch of other goodies for only $21.91. At this point I was feeling good. I just knew this challenge would be a breeze.
Next stop was Walmart. I was able to buy a few more items for $18.87. To round out our food for the three days, I had leftover food from a previous Publix trip where I spent $19.37.
Grand total: $60.15
I know it’s not realistic to shop at Walmart and Publix, but since the boys are so little and need milk, I figured it would be okay. Plus, I only bought foods that I could possible buy at convenient stores so I could better participate in the challenge.
I went into the challenge thinking it would be easy. Three days later, and our tummies were hurting. We really missed fresh food. Not only did my tummy feel bad, I also felt hungry. No lie, I went to bed hungry every night.
Here is what we ate for those three day:
Lunch- peanut butter sandwich
Snack- crackers and raisins
Dinner- rice and sausage
Breakfast- frozen waffles
Lunch- leftovers from previous dinner
Snack- crackers and raisins
Dinner- frozen egg rolls and pizza
Dinner- black bean soup
The verdict is that I could not survive in a food desert. I’m too much of a foodie. I missed complex flavors and most of all, missed fresh fruit and vegetables.
Even the kids missed fresh food. I took the picture below the day after the challenge ended. Jackson was so happy to have real food again! He actually pushed away the frozen waffle and only ate the fruit.
Here’s the deal, I’m lucky enough to be able to participate in a challenge like this. Many Americans (and other world citizens) are not. Many people wake up hungry every day and don’t know where they will find their next meal.[bctt tweet=”Many people wake up hungry and don’t know where they will find their next meal. #TheYFeedsKids” username=”eatdrinkandsave”]
The YMCA can help change that. The Y and The Walmart Foundation are partnering to provide meals and snacks to kids up to 18 at 1,500 locations in communities throughout the nation. To learn more about how the Y feeds kids, visit this site.
Do you think you could do the challenge? I dare you! I’d love to see you give it a go and let me know how you do.
Even if you don’t actually do it, try to think about it the next time you shop. How would it make you feel to have only $5 a day to purchase foods from convenience stores? Could you feel happy with no fresh food?