This week some Miami Valley organizations are raising awareness about hunger—by challenging residents who don't struggle with food insecurity to lower their food budgets.
Local churches and non-profits want you to find out whether you can feed yourself on $4.50 a day, or $37.50 a week, by taking the Hunger Solidarity Challenge.
“They're inviting people in the community to live and to shop in ways that are very similar to poor people who are struggling every day to put food on their tables, to work with the same amount of resources in the same situation, to really bring it home and help people to really fully understand and join together with those in need," said Laura Roesch, executive director of Catholic Social Services Miami Valley (CSSMV).
$4.50 a day is the average dollar amounts given to a single person enrolled in the federal food assistance program, known as SNAP.
Last year, more than 1,752,000 Ohioans received SNAP benefits, but after some recovery-era rules expired in late 2013, eligibility requirements became more stringent, and benefits were reduced for some. Roesch says since 2009, emergency food requests to Catholic Social Services food bank have gone up 40 percent.
CSSMV says last year 18,500 utilized their food bank—40 percent of users were children, and Roesch says because of current community needs, the organization is renovating a bigger food bank space and doubling the capacity of a program they call Family Stabilization and Support (FSS).
FSS is “the wrap-around, the bigger embrace for families who come seeking food assistance, but then have other things that are happening in their families and in their homes: unemployment, housing challenges counseling needs," she said. "All those kinds of barriers to self sufficiency."
The collaborative of groups issuing the challenge falls under the blanket of The Weavers of Justice and includes a number of local churches and non-profit organizations, including CSSMV and Catholic Social Action.
The Hunger Solidarity Challenge kicks off Sunday, March 22 and runs through March 28.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story aired on WYSO said the Hunger Solidarity Challenge started Friday the 20th. It starts Sunday March 22.