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Something different to digest: HPA students challenged to eat on about $30 for one week

What’s it like to feed yourself on $29.40 a week? Just ask a group of Health Policy and Administration (HPA) students.

Food bought with about $30/week

Food student Rebecca Fry bought for about $30 in the SNAP Challenge.

Patricia Miranda’s Principles of Public Administration class, HPA 410, took part in the nationally recognized SNAP Challenge earlier this month, which charges participants to live on the U.S. daily food aid benefit — about $4 a day — for one week. SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

A program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the SNAP program offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families. To qualify, participants must meet certain resource and income guidelines.

Each student in Miranda’s class was given a pre-paid Visa gift card containing $29.40. They were told to use only that money to purchase food for themselves for seven days.

The assignment, which was held Nov. 3 through 9, included not only participating in the challenge, but also keeping records of food purchases and consumption; recording food entries to MyFitnessPal, an electronic health and fitness logging tool, to evaluate nutrition intake; and logging online entries to the PSU SNAP Challenge website.

“The purpose of this SNAP Challenge project is to heighten the learning experiences for HPA 410 students, draw attention to the issues of poverty and hunger, benefit the State College Food Bank, and raise awareness about ‘health in all policies,’” Miranda said. “SNAP Challenge week will give (students) a chance to experience…what life is like for millions of low-income Americans facing hunger.”

Read more about the SNAP Challenge.

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