I am working on my Masters in Public Health Nursing at San Francisco State University. I was given an assignment in my Community Nursing class to find resources for vulnerable populations, an opportunity to explore the concepts of vulnerability, homelessness, hunger, stress and health, poverty, literacy and access to services; concepts recognized as social determinants of health. Examples of other activities students are doing include volunteering at a soup kitchen, taking classes in stress reduction and literacy, and following the lengthy process of signing up for Healthy San Francisco, a city run health insurance program for people with low incomes. I decided to take a different approach to this assignment. I live in West Oakland, a neighborhood famous for it’s crime, pollution, and having 53 liquor stores, and not one grocery store. Many of my neighbors receive financial assistance, including food stamps. I wanted to experience life in West Oakland on food stamps, $4.00 a day (average for California), experience having to buy all my groceries from the few options available to me. I also have a physical disability and walk with a cane. So to add to the challenge, I am limiting myself to purchasing food only from places I can walk to, with a cane. Many people do not drive a fancy little Prius as I do and don’t have the resources to clip coupons and drive all over town for sales. So for 1 week, I am living off of $4.00 a day for all food and drink and only purchasing my groceries in West Oakland, at stores that are walking distance for a person with disabilities. This blog is a way for me to record the experience and share the realities of hunger in America with others.
Food Stamp Challenge