Poverty Diet

Lent is a time when people often “give up” something they love in order to make room in their life for something they love even more, i.e. no radio in the car to allow more time to pray, no t.v. in order to spend more time with the family, etc.

Lent came so quickly this year, starting on Feb. 6, that I didn’t have much time to really settle on what I might give up to make room for God….I tried one thing for a while, and then something else…

This upcoming week is Holy Week and I have been praying about how to focus my time in preparation for Easter. Yesterday and today I’ve seen tables of food in our fellowship hall get stocked with cereal, canned goods, and lots of peanut butter. This food will be given out on Saturday to families in our county that get food stamps.

Did you know that in the Commonwealth of Virginia the number of people getting food stamps rose 4% from Dec. 2006 to Dec. 2007? In 2007 there were 515,032 people (representing 230,281 households) getting food stamps.

The average amount given to a person each month? $89.20.

The average amount per household? $199.56.

Even with food stamps it isn’t enough to feed a family a well-balanced diet, which is why the demand for our food distribution increases each month. I keep to a tight budget for food…but I can’t imagine only spending $89.20 per month!

A few years ago I ran across a resource that educates and challenges people to live for 3 days eating on a food stamp budget. That would mean about 2.89 a day per person.

In my prayer time on how to focus my spiritual preparation during Holy Week I felt called to give this a try. Next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I’m going to use the guidelines from the Poverty Diet and see what it is like. And the money I would have normally spent on food? Fauquier County Food Coalition can expect a check from me.

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