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SNAP Food Challenge: February 20-26, 2013

Imagine this...

You and your family have been homeless for the past two months. You have finally found a minimum wage job that allows you to afford a two-bedroom apartment, but you have to work more than 70 hours per week. Once rent, utilities and other bills are factored in, you do not have any money left for food. But, you qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. You receive monthly benefits of $131.38 per person in your household. This breaks down to $30.66 per person per week.

Because you and your family were homeless, there is no food to store in cabinets or a refrigerator and you do not have a garden to grow your own produce. Everything that you and your family will consume has to be purchased using your SNAP benefits.

Take the SNAP Food Challenge!

By taking the SNAP Food Challenge and participating in the weeklong activities, the USC Upstate community will have the opportunity to delve deeper into the discussion about and impact of living on a limited food budget.

Participants in the challenge will have to make strategic meal choices between healthy and fulfilling foods and will deal with some of the struggles individuals and families face every day when living on a low-income food budget. Students, faculty, and staff can also educate themselves about the SNAP program and food insecurities by attending one of the several programs offered during the week. 


  1. Each person can spend a total of $30.66 on food and beverages during the Challenge Week. This budget translates to $4.38/day or $1.46 per meal.

  2. Keep all receipts and track all your food and beverage purchases. Any food or beverages purchased during the Challenge Week must be accounted for in your budget, including meals purchased using your meal plan or dining dollars. For the purposes of this Challenge, you must include in your budget any amount you spend dining out, including beverages.

  3. During the challenge, you should consume foods/drinks that you purchase as part of the challenge. However, if you use items that were purchased before Challenge Week, the current market value of the items during the week of the challenge must be used to determine the cost to your budget. For example, if a box of spaghetti is already in your pantry and you bought it for $1 at the time of purchase, but it is currently being sold for $1.25, the cost of $1.25 must count towards the budget.

  4. Do not eat or drink any items that you already have in your pantry or refrigerator (excluding non-essential seasonings/condiments/spices). If you will be using less than two tablespoons of a non-essential seasoning/condiment/spice, do not count the cost. For example, sugar used in coffee (non-essential) does not count towards your $30.66 budget. However, sugar used in baking and is necessary for the recipe (essential) must be accounted for in the $30.66 budget.

  5. Avoid accepting free food from friends, family, work, etc.

  6. Couponing and rewards cards are allowed to stretch your budget.

  7. If purchasing items at the Hub City Farmer’s Market, only half the cost of your items will go towards your budget. For example, if you purchase $5 worth of items at the Farmer’s Market, only $2.50 will count against your budget. Also, Hub City Farmer’s Market has recently received a grant from the United Way of the Piedmont to develop a Double Voucher Coupon Program that will allow them to double the dollars that EBT users spend at the market. Therefore, if you spend $5 of EBT dollars at the market, they will give you $5 more. To learn more visit http://wholesomewave.org/dvcp/.

  8. School-aged participants can count their school meals at the reduced lunch rate. Contact the school district to determine the cost per meal.

  9. Food may not be purchased for the challenge more than the weekend before the start of the challenge.

  10. If you grow and wish to consume your own produce, you must account for the market cost in your budget. 

  11. Upload a photo of all the food you have purchased for the week to the Facebook event page, or email the photo to stulife@uscupstate.edu.

  12. At the end of the Challenge Week, post a reflection video or blog to the Facebook event page or email it to stulife@uscupstate.edu.

  13. If you have questions, or to sign up for the SNAP Challenge, contact Student Life at stulife@uscupstate.edu or 864-503-5122. 



2013 SNAP Food Challenge
February 20-26, 2013
Sponsored by the Office of Student Life

Take the Challenge!
Click here to register
Deadline: Thursday, February 14 at Noon 

Kara Ferguson
Assistant Director
Office of Student Life
800 University Way
Spartanburg, SC 29303