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S. Dakotans Step to the Plate to Take the ‘Food Stamp Challenge’

November 9, 2007

Sioux Falls, SD – Beginning Monday, South Dakota residents are being challenged to spend the next week living on the same amount received by the average food stamp recipient. Cathy Brechtelsbauer with Bread for the World is hoping they'll take the "South Dakota Food Stamp Challenge" to learn more about the real-life struggles that many low-income families face on a daily basis.

It won't be easy, either. Brechtelsbauer says participants are asked to live on $3 worth of food each day.

"In South Dakota, over 61,000 people use food stamps to help meet their food needs, and some of those have some income to go with that. There are a lot of people whose other income gets used up by housing costs and by gasoline going up, so they're trying to meet their food needs by using just their food stamps."

Brechtelsbauer says the challenge is a grassroots effort to bring awareness to the problems people face trying to feed a family on food stamps. She adds part of the difficulty is figuring out how to eat healthy meals on such a small budget.

"We're encouraging everybody who's able to take this challenge, whether it's church people or public officials or educators, to step up to the plate during that week and take the challenge. I hope they'll be aware that this is a challlenge that faces people for more than just one week. The fact that we can try it for a week helps us to have more empathy, and more understanding. It'll help us to realize that struggle and it might make us more motivated to appreciate the opportunity to give."

The week-long event is sponsored jointly by the Community Food Banks of South Dakota and Bread for the World South Dakota. You can sign up for the challenge online at SDChallenge.blogspot.com.

David Law/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - SD