This post was sponsored by Y-USA as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.
We often tell our children how incredibly lucky they are to not have to worry about things like food. It’s something parents tell children all the time but it’s just so hard to grasp until you’re actually in the situation. Did you know that children in our country don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables? Many needy families find themselves stuck to shopping at local convenance stores to feed their families.
I am a proud member of our local YMCA and I was thrilled to hear about the YMCA’s commitment to keeping kids healthy. This summer, The Y and Walmart Foundation are partnering to provide meals and snacks to kids up to 18 at 1,500 locations in communities throughout the nation. With the help of the Y’s Summer Food Program they have helped to provide nutritious meals and snacks to kids, while also enjoying recreational and learning activities to keep their bodies and minds active. To help drive awareness to the Y’s Summer Food Program they’ve created the food desert challenge which aims to teach families like ours about hunger all year round.
So we took the challenge and headed to our local connivence store which is located less than a mile from our house. Our challenge, to feed our family for just $20 for a day. Check out this video of our shopping trip –
In the end we ended up with these items for just $20. There were not any fresh vegetables, they did have salads but they were $8 for one salad which I found over our budget. In the end we ended up with a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, 4 bananas, 1 gallon of milk, spaghetti noodles and sauce. We also got Popcorn for a snack and we had just 99. cents left over so I grabbed a cookie that I thought might help us get through snack time. I was a little shocked that we were unable to get the fresh fruits and vegetables. If I would have had access to a grocery store I know that our options would have been much healthier and our money might have gone further.
So we started the challenge the next day with breakfast, toast with peanut butter and half a banana for us all. Lunch was another peanut butter sandwich and popcorn. Our girls were very hungry so they filled up on the cold milk, was happy that I did get the milk since it did seem to brighten their day. Dinner was a highlight for the day, our kids love spaghetti for dinner although they’re used to having fresh vegetables to go with it so I was;t surprised when they asked for broccoli. We used the time to talk about the day and to talk about hunger and what taking the food desert challenge means. We ended the day with milk and the cookies we got. We each got a piece of the cookie and again talked about hunger, our girls saying they hope they never have to go hungry. Day two we went back to the same convenience store and our girls were a lot more excited about the options we had. The store had some fresh apples, so we picked up apples and bananas and had macaroni and cheese for lunch. Dinner we had burritos and fresh fruit which really made all the difference. On the third day I went to a different convenience store hoping to mix it up and find some other options. I was happy to find they had eggs, yogurt and strong cheese. Our girls were happy to see these on the menu on our last day. For breakfast we had eggs, donuts and a piece of toast and peanut butter left over form our first day. For lunch I was able to find some remade turkey sandwiches. It had four half sandwiches so we easily split them up and had some crackers and cheese. Our girls did well with the challenge, we noticed that starting on day one I noticed how tired our girls were. It was really hard to not be able to give my kiddos those fresh fruits and vegetables and even harder to help console them when they were hungry throughout the day.
I found it to be incredibly hard to find items that were healthy and filling. I know that if I would have had access to a grocery store our options would have been much greater but it was important for me to show our girls in a tangible way what hunger in our country is like. That’s why it’s so important that communities all across this nation come together. It’s easy to give back and to get involved wherever you can.
You can challenge your family to take the Food Desert Challenge and learn more about the Summer Food Program on their website.
Do you think your family could take the food desert challenge?