KEXP is currently in the middle 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’ll be 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 DJ Sharlese:
When I started this Food Challenge, I was pretty optimistic. I thought it was something easy… I didn’t feel like food was something that I spent much on or even thought about much about it. $7 a day was nothing to me. Little did I know, I’m wrong. I started Monday going to the grocery store (mind you I neglected to read the rules until I got to work that day). I got to work and DJ El Toro saw me eating a snack and asked me what I was eating. I told him a Girl Scout cookie that I had leftover from a secret stash pack in my snack drawer. Not a part of the rules! You cannot eat food that you had from last week! WHAT?! Ok, so I went and read the rules. Here’s my break down of the Rules and how they apply to reality.
* Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, spending only $7 per day.
…Is almost impossible to do with a busy lifestyle. Yeah, I’m probably wrong because people have things to think about. Money and how and what you’re going to eat on a daily basis is probably the top two.
* Don’t forget to factor in seasonings (except salt and pepper-they don’t count!), cooking oils, condiments, snacks, drinks and everything in between.
I guess… I didn’t really even cook. I don’t really know how to. Salt and Pepper are probably my two most main ingredients. I just don’t really cook.
* Don’t use food you already own.
FAIL. I’ve done this almost every day. I don’t think I could survive without, and besides, if I was in this position, canned food would be something that I would live on. They keep for quite awhile.
* Don’t accept food from family, friends, co-workers and others. Not even the free samples from Costco!
Yeah right. Again if I was in this position, I would accept food from friend, family and co-workers. Some offered! Free samples… come on. You would, too. I did.
* Try to include fresh produce and healthy protein each day.
Fresh Produce is expensive.
This Challenge is hard. Maybe others can do it. Maybe I didn’t try hard enough, but I’ll be honest, thinking about food everyday is the last thing I want to be on my mind. Things in the world should change.
Tomorrow is another day to try again.
Programming Assistant Janice Headley reports in:
As I reported on the KEXP Blog earlier this week, I’ve been struggling with the United Way Hunger Challenge, too, as I’ve been grieving the passing of my beloved cat. When I returned to work this week, a dear, sympathetic co-worker brought me treats, breaking rule #4 of the challenge! I do not wish to implicate this co-worker, so let’s just say he has a fabulous mustache. And of course, I accepted the gift with enormous gratitude. It’s tradition, when someone passes away, people show they care by bringing casseroles, and helping take care of that person. It’s a beautiful gesture, and I couldn’t turn it down.
But, the treats were the only thing I ate that day. I guess when you’re grieving, you just don’t have much of an appetite. I left work, and went straight to The Neptune to see The Magnetic Fields. They sounded wonderful, and Stephin was as dry and delightful as ever, but a few songs in, I started getting tunnel vision… I realized I was about to faint, so I beelined it for the concession stand, thinking, if I could just make it, I could get my blood sugar up and keep it together.
Um. I didn’t make it.
An incredibly kind Security Guard found me collapsed outside the showroom floor on a bench. Once he realized what was wrong, he quickly came back with a handful of Starburst candies and a Coca-Cola. Again, I broke Rule #4. But what was I supposed to do? “I’m sorry, Mr. Security Guard, but I am taking the Hunger Challenge. Here is my phone… Can you please take a picture of me as I pass into unconsciousness? It’s for the KEXP Blog…”
On one hand, by the end of the day, I had spent $0 on food, yay! On the other hand, I kinda missed out on seeing one of my favorite bands ever. The Hunger Challenge is not as easy as you might think.
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!
DJ Sharlese is on the air Friday mornings from 1-6AM, and is the producer of Audioasis, on the air Saturday evenings 6-9PM.