Hunger Action Week: Day Four

KEXP is coming to the end of Hunger Action Week, an exercise in empathy where the United Way of King County has asked the community to try to eat on just $7, the maximum daily benefit for a person on food stamps.  KEXP DJ’s and staff are taking the challenge, and they’ve been posting their experiences here on the KEXP Blog all week long.  You can read more about it, and see the rules here.

Today, we have a report from Marji Makers:

Let me be honest to begin with: I was fresh off a beautiful trip to Colorado and still in the post-vacation haze when I began the Hunger Challenge this morning, so I totally spaced that I had committed to it until about halfway into today. Luckily, I’d already skipped breakfast, and sadly I think this fact made eating on $7 today feel all the more authentic.

When I’m not at the station, I work in e-commerce in the middle of downtown Seattle. Eating healthfully and cost-effectively downtown is a trial to say the least. In the context of this challenge, being downtown actually proved to be another factor that made today’s experience feel genuine. Since so many of those receiving Basic Food benefits are also homeless, being downtown can be a necessity — that’s where so many of their other needs can be met: at the shelters, public health offices, food banks and so on, not to mention the free transportation provided by King County Metro’s ride-free area there.

So at noon, stuck downtown and with $7, I headed to the healthiest and cheapest nearby joint I could think of -- a national sandwich chain. It was a sad lunch of crappy lunch meat on crappier bread that cost me all seven of my dollars; a lunch made even sadder by the knowledge that it would be the last meal I’d eat today.

That’s my take, one day in. This is hard. It’s evening now and I’m hungry. My heart goes out to those challenged by misfortune, low income and the lack of access to affordable and healthful food. I’m honored to be a part of this challenge, though, and proud of my KEXP colleagues who have also taken it on.

photo credit: DJ El Toro

And DJ El Toro checks-in:

I had a meeting on the Observation Deck of the Space Needle this morning. You know what else was going on there today? Food Network was shooting an episode of “Cupcake Wars.” There were free cupcakes everywhere. I almost passed out when the sweet smell of frosting hit my nostrils. But I did not take a cupcake (because “freebies” are against the rules of the Hunger Challenge). I took this photo, hurried home, and scarfed down my umpteenth plate of rice and beans.

If you’d like to take the Hunger Challenge, you can sign up here at the United Way website. And share your experiences online at the United Way Facebook page, or on Twitter, using the hashtag #hungerfreeKC!

Marji Makers spins Blue Plate Specials on Swingin’ Doors, Thursday nights from 6-9PM.

DJ El Toro hosts the variety mix show on Wednesday nights from 9 PM to 1 AM on KEXP 90.3 FM Seattle and kexp.org. His weekly rant, “Weird At My School,” appears infrequently on the KEXP Blog. Please follow DJ El Toro (aka Kurt B. Reighley) on Twitter and/or Tumblr!

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One Comment

  1. Victoria
    Posted March 25, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    The other thing about food stamps is you can only buy food at the grocery store and no hot food, so access to a kitchen can be very important!

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