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SNAP Challenge: Participants attempt to live off $29.40 for one week

Nearly 40,000 people in the city of Syracuse rely on SNAP benefits, or food stamps, to feed themselves and their families. This week, community leaders are taking what they call the “SNAP Challenge” to see what it's like to live off food stamps for a week.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Nearly 40,000 people in the city of Syracuse rely on SNAP benefits, or food stamps, to feed themselves and their families. This week, community leaders are taking what they call the “SNAP Challenge” to see what it's like to live off food stamps for a week.

Food stamps provide $29.40 a week and it can be hard to understand what it's like to live on that, until you try.

“By walking a mile in peoples’ shoes we are hoping to raise awareness so that people can understand what it’s like to rely on benefits and have those benefits cut time and time again, said Tiffany Steinwert, Dean at SU's Hendricks Chapel.

47 million Americans rely on SNAP benefits to help feed their families. When broken down, the program provides $4.20 cents per day.

"I had to eat things that I’m not normally eating - butter was more expensive than margarine so I chose margarine," said Steinwert who is participating in the challenge. “It's a different process. I would say I’m not hungry, but I'm not satisfied. And it's incredibly stressful.”

One of the most difficult things participants have noted is the ability to eat fresh produce and healthy foods because they often cost more.

“The more color you have on the plate, the healthier it will be. It's really hard to do on a limited budget. Carrots help, but it’s hard to get away from the tans, because that's what’s cheap - pasta, potatoes, rice - those are the things that are affordable,” said Rabbi Daniel Fellman, who is also participating in the challenge.

The “SNAP Challenge” ends on Saturday with an event at the Carrier Dome.

They are encouraging Syracuse University fans to bring canned good donations to benefit local food pantries.

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