SEATTLE - Feeding yourself on a few dollars a day in Washington is no easy task, and in September, during Hunger Action Month, one way to confirm that is to take the "SNAP Challenge." Millions of low- or no-income Americans depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, that works out to about $120 a month to buy food.
Writer Clay Holtzman of Seattle tried living on a SNAP food budget for one week. He says his diet lacked nutrition and variety, and he was often still hungry.
"My deepest, darkest period was Tuesday night, when I was just very hungry. I also had headaches for a couple of days and didn't sleep very well. The pain of hunger is very real, and it's not fun.
Holtzman says he missed beer and ice cream during that week, but also fresh vegetables and the ability to afford a more varied diet.
Last week, food bank managers from across the state met in Wenatchee to strategize for getting through what could be a tough winter. From 2008 to 2010, the number of Washington families facing food insecurity almost doubled.