How the SNAP Challenge Works

20/Sep/20 / 20:00

This September, we’re inviting you to join us for the SNAP Challenge! We want to talk about SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), and dig into what those benefits look like in REAL life, REAL time, and REAL food.


What does it mean to take the SNAP Challenge?


Taking the SNAP Challenge means that, for one week, you will be living on the average SNAP benefits people in Illinois receive.

According to state-level data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average monthly SNAP benefit per person in January 2020 for Illinois was $123.60, or about $3.98 per day. For our SNAP Challenge, that means you’ll have $19.90 to spend on food for one week (or five days’ worth of meals). to do just that.


Here’s how the SNAP Challenge works.


    • Stick to your budget. Keep track of how much you spend on groceries throughout the week. Remember, you only have $19.90 to spend in total – including if you eat out at all during the week!



    • No “freebies” allowed. Free food isn’t always available when you’re on a budget – so this week, no freebies allowed. That means no snacks, meals, coffee or more from a friend or family member. If you DO accept free food, you must take money out of your SNAP budget for that as well.


  • Share your story! Like we said earlier, the SNAP Challenge is meant to show what SNAP benefits look like in REAL food – so show us what groceries you’ve got! If you’re on social media, share a pic or two of what you’re eating during the SNAP Challenge, or reflect on your experience throughout the week.
Final Thoughts:


For ideas on how to meal prep and plan recipes during the SNAP Challenge, check out Beth from Budget Bytes’ journey here.

If you’re not participating in the SNAP Challenge but want to hear about other participants’ stories and biggest takeaways, check out this story from Money Crashers.

Finally, a disclaimer: living on a SNAP budget for one week DOES NOT and CANNOT come close to the struggles experienced by many families, week after week and month after month. But it is our hope that by taking this challenge, you’ll be helping to raise awareness about how difficult it can be to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods, and stay healthy without adequate resources – even for just a short amount of time.

How You Can Help:


  • Volunteer at one of our Centers in Geneva, Rockford or Park City sorting and packing food
  • Donate to help us solve hunger in your community – every $1 donated helps provide $8 of groceries.

Want More?