Food stamps.

In September I applied for food stamps. I knew I was going to be living in my truck and would need help.

I’ve now had almost two months experience using the amount they gave me. The first month I was still in a house with access to a stove and refrigerator.

When I had a kitchen the amount was okay. I had to be careful, but I could make healthy lunches with lots of fresh veggies and some fruit and had enough spices to vary my beans or rice based main dishes.

Now that I have to buy everything in single “snack” packs it isn’t enough. Not near enough.
Everything I buy has to be in small amounts because I don’t have storage space, for either shelf foods or refrigerated foods.
If I want meat I have to buy deli meats. Or tinned meats.
Those run ~$3-5 dollars depending on what it is. Fruit is usually ~$1 a piece. Veggies in the smaller snack packs are ~$2-4 a package.

The cheap stuff is bread, donuts, cookies, store brand chips, saltines, and ramen noodles.
Not much heathly in that group.

I run out with about 10 days left if I eat my fruits and veggies.
I won’t go hungry, I have peanut butter and some cans of tuna, and plenty of saltines, but no fruits or veggies. 😦

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  1. Anonymous

     /  October 29, 2011

    I had a similar food storage problem once when my refrigerator decided to turn itself into a freezer, and I couldn’t afford to replace it for several YEARS. May I recommend you stock up on dried fruits – especially if you can get them at a health food store. They tend to cost more there, but will have fewer crappy additives. Also, my health food store has bulk dried, diced veggies. (“Bulk” meaning you can buy a small, store-able quantity for the same price per unit as a larger quantity.) They’re not terribly interesting (mostly diced cabbage, carrots, onions and potatoes), but with a bouillon cube or two you can quickly cook up a nice soup, or rehydrate some and add them to canned stews etc., just to keep yourself healthy. You could also try sprouting your own alfalfa, or bean sprouts. Takes about three – four days on damp paper towels or in a jar for a batch to grow (varies with the weather), and they’re very rich in Vitamin C. Again, little storage space required, though you do need space to set them down and keep them damp while they’re growing, which might not be easy for you.

    Sadly, the best solution I can see for the meat problem is to go vegetarian. Dried beans are dirt cheap and will keep forever, plus they don’t take up much storage space. I really like garbanzo beans, or chick peas, or whatever they’re called in your part of the world. If you soak them for a few hours, they don’t take too long to cook, and they actually make a nice snack or cold food or salad additive, so cook extras.

    If you’re really hungry for meat, find a store that has in-house butchers rather than everything pre-packaged. You might have to get away from the supermarkets to do it. They’ll pack you up a small quantity of anything at the going price. You CAN buy one chop, or one chicken thigh, if you go to the right place. If you’re embarrassed, you can always pretend you’re making some huge, exotic, twelve-serving dish (paella or some such) and only need a tiny bit of this last ingredient for flavour. But if you can find a good butcher and use them regularly, they might start thinking of you as a favourite customer and saving some nice cuts for you.

    Anyway, keep on truckin’ (so to speak)!

    Best wishes,

  2. Ann G

     /  November 11, 2011

    Food stamps are only “supposed to” cover about half your food. That you’re able to get through 2/3 of the month with some restrictions that force you to make more expensive choices sometimes says you’re really studying those price tags!

  3. Ann G.: huh! I did not know that.
    I would be able to live off of it if I had access to a refrigerator, rice cooker, electric stove, etc etc.

    That makes me feel a wee bit better. 🙂


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