The following was written by the Vermont Foodbank’s Americorps VISTA Rachel Floyd about her experiences doing the SNAP challenge, also know as the 3SquaresVT Challenge. Click the Soundcloud link below to hear Rachel’s story straight from her. Interested in trying it out yourself? Click here to learn more.

12074503_10153317314564217_3461833907812912688_n

Rachel Floyd

“I decided to participate in a SNAP Challenge after some real consideration. As a VISTA at the Vermont Foodbank, I spend most of my time helping individuals and families apply for SNAP,

[the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance which provides food assistance to individuals and families who fall below certain income requirements]. I myself use SNAP to pay for some groceries, and I have for a few years. I’ve read the criticisms of the SNAP challenge, and I agree with many of them. When a person chooses to eat with only $4 and change to feed themselves for the day, it doesn’t mean that they also deal with the additional challenges faced by folks who live in poverty.

Poverty is a complicated socio-economic issue and I can’t even pretend to be an expert on it. I know about negative health outcomes for folks who live in poverty compared to those who don’t. I know that people who live in poverty have shorter life expectancies than those who don’t. I know that children who grow up in poverty, even temporarily, will have fewer opportunities for success in almost any measurement, compared to their more affluent peers. Food insecurity is inextricably linked to poverty. When folks don’t have enough good food, stress, illness, and missed work and school increases. Food insecurity is both a cause and a symptom of poverty. It is not representative of the whole picture though, and that is where many SNAP challenges fall short.

I chose to participate in the SNAP challenge for 5 days and post about it on social media. My hop