LIFT-UP, a 37 year-old non-profit, known for managing food pantries throughout the Roaring Fork valley and its dedication to providing humanitarian essentials, is putting out a challenge to our media partners and the community at large.  It’s Christmas in July!  Really!  As an awareness campaign that hunger is not just during the holiday season of November and December when the valley and the world at large is tremendously generous in thoughtful giving of food and support, but a call to action that hunger is a year-round struggle for more than 2,700 families that are served each month by LIFT-UP Food Pantries.

 

We are calling you to the $4-a-day Challenge.  Can you do it?  Can you eat (and drink) on a $4 a day budget?  Why $4 a day?  $4.15 is the national allocation of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), previously Food Stamps, funding for qualifying low-income individuals.  The $4-ad-Day Challenge is a fun and educational opportunity for all of us to see how we can stretch our food budgets, plan ahead for shopping, sales and meal prep with a goal of cost-efficiency while making healthy food choices.  Participants will find themselves forced to make food shopping choices on a limited budget, and learn how difficult it is to avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods and stay healthy.

 

Here’s your challenge:

–          All food and beverages (yes even that morning coffee if you can afford it), that are purchased and consumed during the week of your challenge (including dining out) must stay within the $4 budget.

–          Food that is given to you or you already have at home must be allocated within the budget.

–          Keep track of receipts on food spending.

–          Take notes and post on the LIFT-UP Facebook page and your own social media

–          Invite friends and co-workers to join you on the Challenge

LIFT-UP will have recipes, partner links and ways to stretch your dollars, as well as healthy food choices information on the LIFTUP.org website and social media.

The final part of the challenge is LIFT-UP is encouraging everyone to consider the following:

–          How much do you normally spend for a week’s worth of food and eating out?

–          Following your challenge, will you be willing to donate the difference to LIFT-UP to help us feed our neighbors in need?

Eating healthy on a budget is easier when you Plan, Purchase & Prepare.  Plan by making a list (that you actually follow and stick to) before you shop.  Purchase after shopping circulars and online, plus coupons and store loyalty programs for the best deals.  And Prepare by making meals at home.  Preparation helps reduce the fast-food grab that can be both expensive and not always the healthiest choice.

 

The Challenge will begin July 15th.  Additional sites for information include USDA – Eat Right When Money is Tight, My Plate Healthy Eating on a Budget and Choose My Plate.gov.

 

LIFT-UP continues to appreciate and need food and financial support throughout the year.  Food staples include protein sources including peanut butter and canned meats, grains, beans (both dried and canned), canned fruit & vegetables (low-sodium and low-sugar preferred), pasta & pasta sauce, cereal & oatmeal, soups & stews, macaroni & cheese (90,000 boxes a year), rice and baking essentials as well as grocery gift cards are always needed.  Food donations are accepted at any of the LIFT-UP food pantries.  To host a Food Drive, please visit the liftup.org website.

 

For more information on LIFT-UP’s $4-a-day challenge please call Debbie Patrick at (970) 379-7407.