Overall SNAP Blog

Today I’m here to talk about the SNAP challenge. Overall, I feel like I failed this challenge. I think that it was very privileged and ignorant of me to cheat. I know that, and plus we talked about how everybody cheating. It wasn’t fair that I played games during the challenge that is so real so many people. I think that I had enough food for the $33, but I didn’t do the proper things in order to eat those things I bought.

This is some of the stuff that I learned from an article:

“Virginia spent $447,000 in SNAP benefits for college students in January 2007 but by January of this year, the total had risen to $2.9 million, according to the state’s Department of Social Services. The state spent $30 million in food assistance benefits to college students in 2011.”

I did not know the specifics of SNAP in Virginia. I think that it is good that they saw this problem of food insecurity with college students. With the allowance of food pantries and local community involvement, it will be improved.

Nearly 47 million Americans rely on federal food assistance benefits, a 12-year high attributed to the weak U.S. economy and high rates of unemployment over the last five years. Lesser known is that college students are among the increasing numbers of people relying on food stamps. As tuition rates have risen and financial aid has fallen — and parents who were once a source of financial support have lost jobs or homes and become ineligible for college loans for their children — students have had to fend for themselves.

That number is ridiculous. College students now do not only have to make money for their education but now they have to work solely on their own. It is so difficult to not be in debt, and to think about everyday expenses must be something that is prevalent to them in such a big way.

“I never thought I would be on food stamps as a student, but with this economy, I had no choice,” said student Courtney Davis, a second-year student at Howard University majoring in maternal health and childcare.

I think this is such an eye-opening quote. This could be anyone I know. Who knows this could be me. We all go to the same college, but at one point there will be a path concerning food. I think it is

“Some states, concerned about student abuses, are cracking down by limiting eligibility requirements and strengthening the verification process. Last year, Michigan’s Department of Human Services kicked 30,000 students off the program and saved $75 million. Such efforts to crack down on potential fraud may end up hurting the students that are actually in need.

While I don’t appreciate the program being abused by students who don’t really need them, I don’t think that cutting the program and placing restrictions on eligibility requirements are the answer, because that would eliminate many students who need the assistance, like me,” Fields said.”


Hogan, B. (2012, November 5). Food stamps: Once associated with the poor, now commonly used among college students. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/therootdc/post/food-stamps-once-associated-with-the-poor-now-commonly-used-among-college-students/2012/11/05/36971aee-275f-11e2-b4f2-8320a9f00869_blog.html?utm_term=.f12c367aa92e

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday SNAP Blog

Midnight could only go so far. I spent most of the day eating the rest of my sandwiches and my cereal. I started the day at 10:30 a.m. to go to an event, and then I spent the most of my day in my room. I cleaned up, and I would eat some crackers if I was feeling hungry. I also drank more water, and it for sure helped me during this time. I think my body also got more used to the challenge, but I also failed really quickly.

I read an article on the TIME website, and this really showed the scale starvation can lead to children become the way they do. We assume some students are being problematic jus to be problematic. There are people that see the glad half empty. We think they are problem children, but instead of finding ways for them to get better we just scold them. That just leads to more anxiousness and recklessness from the child.

“Researchers studying people raised on Barbados who suffered severe starvation as infants found these adults were more anxious, less sociable, less interested in new experiences and more hostile than those who were well-nourished throughout childhood, according to a study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry”

Even for a week, it was harder to go out and socialize if your body is wanting you to do nothing but eat. It is so hard to overcome that feeling. I cannot imagine what my mom and young people had to go through. It not only affects the child, but it affects everyone around them. It seems like such a vicious cycle. The SNAP program is not the final solution, but it is a step towards putting our priorities in the right direction.

“Poor nutrition early in life seems to predispose individuals to a suspicious person, which may then fuel a hostile attitude toward others,” Adrian Raine, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, told Science News, commenting on the research. Raine, who was not associated with the study, conducted earlier investigations of malnutrition and personality, which found that early life enrichment significantly mitigated some of the most extreme negative effects on personality.

I can only imagine the people who are on SNAP to be angry at the government that is not helping them when I am angry. There is a stigma that there is a hostile attitude from the homeless or the less fortunate. It makes me feel bad for even calling them the less fortunate because it separates us from them. It is a group of people that society pities but does not end up helping. There are viable options in helping the people who have food insecurity to no have that worry. There are so many things to also be worried about.


Szalavitz, M. (2013, April 11). How Childhood Hunger Can Change Adult Personality | TIME.com. Retrieved from http://healthland.time.com/2013/04/11/how-childhood-hunger-can change-adult-personality/

Saturday SNAP Blog

Saturday was an interesting day. In the morning I made myself some cereal. I drank more water thank goodness. I was able to get an assignment done but as far as more productivity during the day it did not end up really working out. I went to the Chinese New Year celebration that happened in the U.C., and there was a large amount of free food. I was going to bring a plate to go, so I could eat it Sunday after the challenge. That set me up for failure.

I realized I am an emotional eater. I started getting in my feelings with a fellow friend. I talked to her about my conversation with someone about white supremacy, and it was a very stressful conversation to have. I was in a straightforward mindset,  and I think I was able to keep my cool during it. As a people of color, I usually don’t get to have that time to confront someone who could possibly be giving out slurs and who has a certain mindset. I had to really pay attention when I had that conversation, so the aftermath of it was me it took a lot out of me.

I BROKE THE CHALLENGE A SECOND TIME! I decided to eat food that was supposed to be to go.  It was an impulse, and I think I did set up myself up for failure when I did get a plate of it. I was trying to convince myself that I wouldn’t eat it until after the challenge on Sunday. I can’t say I have an excuse because those were the rules of the challenge. I do think that the way I cope is more prevalent than ever before. The act of eating was a temporary fix, but it wasn’t a long-lasting fix.

This also brings up a point of society telling people to get better by having a meal or treating yourself, but for people who can’t afford one meal is only a temporary fix. It’s not going to solve the glaring problem of food insecurity. I definitely use food as a luxury. My friends and I ended up going to the step show, and it was one of the best events ever here on campus. I had to use up a lot of energy by screaming, cheering, dancing that by the time it ended I was tired and hungry. My friend said we should go to Bonchon, and I couldn’t be the party pooper. Luckily the restaurant was about to close, so they just got to go. I did not order anything. It was about 11:00 p.m. when I got back to my room. I ate about three bowls of cereal because I was so hungry. Again I don’t plan accordingly. It did affect the way I enjoyed the show, and it also affected the way I socialized with my friends. I got really quiet by the end of the social event, and it again reiterated how my college experience is different from the people who have food insecurity.

Thursday SNAP Blog

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Thursday was the second time that I decided to cheat. The first thing that I had that day were two sets of sandwiches with cheese and turkey. I drank a lot of water, and I had a banana. But that was definitely not enough for me. I had several meetings that day. First one was at 10:30 AM. I wasn’t eating the amount that I usually do, so I decided to replace that urge with sleep. I would be in very deep periods of sleep (something I am not used to), and it threw off my whole schedule.

My first meeting was at 10:30 AM, and I realized that I woke up at 10:20 am. I only had about 10 minutes to get to my meeting. I was hungry the whole time. I was thinking about food. I never noticed so intensely before, but there was candy on his desk. I personally like eating food to ease my anxiety, or if I’m feeling anxious. I usually eat a piece of candy whenever I am in my boss’s office. I started getting anxious, and I couldn’t eat that piece of candy that was too close for comfort. I was talking about some pretty intense conversations I had with my residents that I needed his advice on how to help.

It really hit me when sometimes people are not paying attention. The other person notices it so quickly, but now I realize sometimes the person not paying attention could not help it. As I realize what I am writing what was happening to me was totally different than what the people around me noticed. They noticed me more tired and moody. I think I usually am really tired, but I had a difference in character this whole week. When I was doing the fire drill I was thinking about getting food and getting anxious about all the things I had to do. I started worrying myself in my head, but I also had to be present for what was happening in the situation. I am the Senior Resident Assistant, so I had to be the one leading the fire drills. Sometimes I would understand what people were saying, but sometimes my mind would wander and my body would just lead the way. I think in this case it was my stomach that was leading the way. I need to give people more benefit of the doubt. They may not be hungry, but people may have other things going on with them. It is a hard out there.

The next part of the meeting was a blur. I was a little zoned out, and then all of a sudden I was in the moment with a piece of candy in my mouth.  I am a WEAK person, and I did not even realize I opened the piece of candy and proceeded to open it. I was talking to him, and I could barely focus on what he was saying and then I won’t. I suddenly had food in my mouth. After that, I was more diligent on where my food was coming from I am not the type of person to plan ahead and schedule my meals when I get hungry. That is such a huge privilege and an accommodation for living on campus and having a meal plan here throughout the day. I had about three bowls of cereal but I could only get them when I was in my room, so I ate a banana. I had a few of my cheese crackers with me.

I know this week going to be very ironic in the fact that there would be free food offered to me through events, and I would not be able to eat it. I already cheated on Wednesday with the free pizza, so I would try not to do that.  I ended up going to an RA celebration because it was already RA appreciation week. I was one of the people that helped plan it, and I also was the only person that could not end up eating it. We bought some Chick-fil-A nuggets,  and there were some great cookies things that I personally like because I helped plan it. It was super sad once people were getting in line they noticed that I ended up going to my backpack and getting a banana. Since they were my staff they knew that I was on this challenge, and they kept saying “you should cheat it’s just Chick-fil-A nuggets. Who’s going to find out?”. I knew I messed up already that day I couldn’t do it again, so with willpower, I was able to not eat those Chick-fil-A nuggets. I never voluntarily say no to food, and so it was definitely a change in the way I interact with people. I eat to ease my feelings, and it helps me distract myself when I get nervous.

Due to my job I ended up having to help out afterward and having to talk to RAS on situations that they’ve had for us to figure out how to solve. I was half paying attention to them and half thinking about what I was going to eat I did not plan beforehand before the 8 PM party to bring something other than a banana. I got back to my room at about 11:30 p.m., and I ate another bowl of cereal and kept eating bowls of cereal until I became full again. I was not a smarty-pants when I bought things, but there were three soup cans that I bought didn’t have an opener, I was not able to get a can opener. I was frustrated and hungry. Don’t get me wrong there were a lot of times when cereal tasted really good, but I also wanted a hot meal at one point. I wanted just to eat some of the food that was in my fridge and the bananas that were starting to turn a little dark we’re not as appetizing anymore.

I am going to keep trying. 🙂

Friday SNAP Blog

On Friday, I started to get used to the food that I planned about. I was able to wake up early enough make a sandwich, and to equip myself with snacks for the day. The two bananas I had left was rotting. I was able to eat the rest of my crackers, and then eat another of the mandarin oranges in a pack. I then ate cereal for the rest of the night. I ended up sleeping early because it has been a long week. I also did not want to make more food, so I just ended up sleeping. People also do not get that luxury.

I thought this was really cool!

Many community colleges are striving to streamline the application process for food stamps and come up with other ways to address student hunger.  I read an article of some changes that colleges are created.

“In addition to helping students complete SNAP paperwork, according to Duke-Benfield, some campuses are training staff in the financial aid office to advise students about the range of government programs, while others are training their academic faculty to recognize students who may be hungry or homeless and to counsel them. More schools are putting questions about food and housing into the admissions forms; on-campus food pantries, even at four-year schools, are popping up around the country.”

“Take the Thrive Center for Financial Success at Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts, which was created last February to assist students to meet their daily living expenses in order to increase retention rates. Crystal Colón, its coordinator, said the school, which is also creating an on-campus food pantry, had to respond to the large numbers of students who were hungry and living in cars”

There are viable options to help college students find the food that they needed. I think there could be a way for UMW or smaller colleges to do the same. I was thinking this problem of food insecurity is probably relevant to Germanna College. That would be really interesting if something could be done there.

We are almost there!


McKenna, L. (2018, February 27). The Gravity of the Hunger Problem on College Campuses. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/01/the-hidden-hunger-on-college-campuses/424047/

Wednesday SNAP Blog

I was definitely into my feelings coming into Wednesday morning after what happened at the fire drill. I was consistently eating cereal to fill my body and not fill my mind with thoughts. In the morning I did not wake up early enough, so I just quickly put in a banana, chewy bars, and brought my food to class. I ended up eating the two chewy bars before my other 3 to 4 classes.  By the time I had to go lead a workshop free food came my way! My fate to be tempted! There was pizza from the Vocelli’s and a bunch of desserts. Throughout the workshop I was good, and I didn’t eat. The time after the workshop was different.

I am a WEAK PERSON. A WEAK PERSON. I broke the challenge the third day. When we were packing up the stuff for the workshop there was plenty of pizza left. We ended up sitting down with a group of friends to just hang out and talk before my next class. I looked down at the pizza. It was my fault I did not plan ahead. I didn’t have food other than a banana. I searched ferociously to find that banana to distract myself from the pizza. I looked in my backpack in the banana was squished! I was trying to figure out if I was going to eat that banana. I ended up eating it, but I just did not end up eating it in front of other people.

I saw the fresh set box of pizza was right in front of me. I ate the pizza, and before you know it the whole pizza was gone. I was only going to eat one piece, but of course, I can’t eat only one piece of pizza. You got to commit. I felt so guilty, but I still ate it. I was definitely feeling really weak, and of course, this free food is not given to people who are usually on SNAP.  It is very limited on who can be on SNAP, so I was not doing justice to the people who have to do this all the time. I went to my three-hour class, and the whole time I ended up writing out how I was feeling. I wrote how I felt about the fire drill that happened the day I just needed to let it all out and get all that negative energy out of myself. I couldn’t really pay attention in class, and I think it was partly due to lack of sleep and also lack of food. I also did not bring my water bottle, and I have been really bad on drinking water in order to fill out the amount of food that I wasn’t receiving.

Overall I felt that I was not doing justice to the people who are on SNAP if you have that food insecurity. I am really privileged and spoiled, and the fact that I am able to get something really quickly from the vending machine. I usually get something really quickly from one of the food cafeterias, and others have to plan accordingly before school. People could get ready really early or stay up really late. I definitely think that people who cannot eat are not able to focus at all. I felt very all over the place. I felt that I couldn’t get things done. I can only imagine someone who is working 20 hours is more than half-time in college might have to be a dependent, or for someone another person and also be hungry and you can’t take care of others.

If you can’t take care of yourself, then it is hard to take care of other people. I feel like a lot of people are in that situation where they have to sacrifice themselves in order to help someone else. It takes such a toll on you so overall. It is important to be able to think about yourself, how we have to really pay attention to how our health is a privilege. I would stay up late and wouldn’t plan ahead. I think it’s in the best interest for me to really take care of myself because I have that privilege, in order to help myself and to help others.

Tuesday SNAP Blog #2

Tuesday was a very interesting time. I think that I was the most set, as far as food goes, but with my planning I definitely saw how it affected me. In the morning before I had to go to work my second job I had two bananas, two sets of crackers, and a sandwich in my backpack. I went to work at one and stayed until four, so I ate some cereal right before I went to work. By the time work ended I ended up eating all the things that were in my backpack, except my sandwich by 5:00 PM. I had a meeting at 5:15 p.m., and I was able to cut the meeting time short. I was eating the sandwich on the way to the meeting. I did indeed get some looks, but campus walk was the time for me to eat.

I had another event that was called cookies and conversation, where people from Sodexo brought cookies. I did not think through that there would be a plate of cookies in front of me the whole time, and the time they were going to talk about food.  I ended up taking a can of soup from my room which in the end I realized was the only can of soup that had an opener.  I ate that throughout the event always good. I did get a few looks, but I was satisfied with the food. I realized that there was a 10:00 PM fire drill my staff I had to lead. We were not able to do a fire drill the past few weeks because of the cold and rainy weather. We decided that I was going to do it on a warm day, and so today we ended up doing five fire drills for five buildings. I was in charge of pulling the alarm, calling the police, making sure that the alarm reset, and making sure residents were out at appropriate time. I have to be honest it was very hard because I did not bring a snack with me and I did not eat since five and so it really put a toll on me. I had to be there for my staff. I had to be strong and efficient, but back of my mind I knew that the hunger was really getting to me. I feel so lame saying that I didn’t eat since five, when people haven’t eaten for much longer periods. It affected my concentration throughout, but all the fire drills were going well. I was having fun with my staff.

Finally we were at our last fire drill. I think that was my own personal fire. Everything was going well until some residents were not cooperating. I myself was starting to just get really tired, and once I heard that some residence were giving really inappropriate behavior to one of my RA’s I got even more irritated. I think I would’ve been calmer if I had eaten. I think I put emotions of lack of towards the people that were being mean to my RAs. I kept it professional, but I did say that to the freshman and upperclassman that they cannot be rude and that it wasn’t fair that they were doing this to us when this is just our job. I usually am an easy-going person, but this “HANGRY” thing is a real thing.

This really reminded me of how sometimes kids will be rude and mean, and it can only really take one thing for them to go off. I realize maybe sometimes the person may be hungry or going through something, so it’s just a vicious cycle of building up feelings and then putting it out on someone else. I felt the implications of not properly eating and sleeping.  Even if you are on SNAP it is hard to eat healthy, so it is hard to even be on the right track for your health. I ate bananas, but I did not have the proper other groups. I think of how expensive the organic foods are, so something needs to change than just the SNAP program. I think this really helped fuel me to be a politician again.

Tuesday SNAP Blog

I read an article on the hunger insecurity that happens in community colleges. I got this image of America. The plan is to work hard to go to college, and then being able to support yourself with a job to get a better life is the dream. Both of my parents were immigrants, and they were given the opportunity to be able to provide for a family. We usually associate that when you are able to go to college, then you should be set. I was wrong with the people struggling here with food insecurity. It seems like food now is a luxury to college students. There is that stereotype of being broke college students, but some people really cannot afford to food every day.

It said in the article:

  • 52 percent—of the respondents reported marginal to very low food security, while the remaining students reported high security.
  • One in five respondents had very low food security, which meant that they had “multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.”
  • Twenty-two percent of the respondents indicated that they had cut the size of their meals or skipped meals and were hungry because they didn’t have enough money for food.

I think this part of the article hit me pretty hard this week:

  • Hunger has a large impact on learning and college retention. For one, there is the obvious physical problem that an empty stomach makes it hard to learn in class. For another, it may force students to make decisions that interfere with completion. They might work longer hours at their jobs or take long breaks from their studies to earn the money needed to buy dinner, for example. These decisions make it harder for students to get to graduation day in a reasonable timeframe.

There are so many barriers to get through college, and the scarcity of food was low on my thoughts that would stop you from finishing college. Food is such an essential thing to have as a human being that it is important to have that in order to continue with school.


Works Cited 

McKenna, L. (2018, February 27). The Gravity of the Hunger Problem on College
Campuses. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/01/the-hidden-hunger-on-college-campuses/424047/

Monday SNAP Blog #2

For this SNAP challenge I definitely feel like it’s going to give me a wakeup call. I am remembering the stories that my mom told me about when she lived in the Philippines. Her family was poor, and so between all her siblings she really got the least amount of food since she was the oldest. She looked out for her family and she helped provide for them.  I remember being told the stories and feeling very guilty. But then after a while I would just forget about it. I dearly think this is on a very small scale in comparison to what my mother had to go through, but it would definitely give me some insight. I mean we all find things in common when we each go out of our way to look at the other person’s life through our own lens. I think that this will be a very eye-opening experience. I can tell and even just typing this out I realize how much different my life is compared to my parents.

I think is because on SNAP there is a consideration if you are an immigrant and if you are a citizen of the United States to be able to be eligible. My dad came here when he was four years old and my mom came when she was 25. I definitely see that as a college student I’m supposed to be the product of the hard work that they have done for me and my sister. My sister is also now in college, and we both have meal plans and live on campus. It is very convenient for us to get food, and it always has been convenient for us. My parents were able to provide food for me all the time whenever I needed it. I think going through this it is such an interesting experience when other people from outside the US, like in the Philippines, see that having a college education and finding a job here in the US  just seems like you’re set.

As I do more research on this topic of SNAP and college students it is so hard to just find your next meal. There is food insecurity for all types of people in lower and middle class. We as a society associate college with making it and being somewhat stable enough to get an education, and so it really has given me perspective. I need to go out of my way to learn more about this.

To be honest, I knew of SNAP, but I did not know the specifics of. I knew Trump wanted to cut back on SNAP, but nothing more. I decided to see what SNAP would like for a college student

SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutritional Assistant Program. It is paid through Electronic Benefit Transfer cards to be used to buy food. The maximum monthly amount for a household of 1 is $192/ month. SNAP cannot used to buy prepared food such as fast food or takeout pizza. That is something college students are so used to. SNAP cannot be used to pay for college cafeteria meal plans. What I also thought was interesting was that students who live in dorms and receive more than half their meals from a meal plan are not eligible for benefits. Since UMW you need a meal plan to live on campus none of us would be eligible for SNAP.

This is how a student could be eligible for :

  • Age or disability status;
  • Parent or caregiver;
  • Employed at least 20 hours per week or receiving any work-study funds;
  • Receiving TANF benefits; or
  • Enrolled in certain programs aimed at employment.

What I also thought was interesting is what counts as a SNAP household.

A SNAP household is a group of people who live together and buy and prepare meals together.

  • If roommates buy and prepare at least half their meals together, they count as a SNAP household and must apply together
  • Special rules apply when one or more members of a household are ineligible, such as because of their immigration status, or because they are students and do not meet one of the student exemptions.

I never really put much thought into the fact that a SNAP household could be a college apartment. I do see many college students (including myself) go out without thinking about how much money they will spend on food. I am pretty frugal, but when it comes to food it is more of a social gathering. I am willing to invest money in food. I think if someone did not know when their next meal their college experience would be very different. I do not usually go out without a purpose, but the fact that I am able to do even no think twice about it is a privilege. Let us start the week!


CLASP. (n.d.). CLASP SNAP for College Students. Retrieved from https://www.clasp.org/sites/default/files/publications/2017/10/SNAP%20for%20College%20Students-An%20Overview.pdf

 

Monday SNAP Blog

It is currently 1:00 p.m. on Monday, February 19th.  It has only been 12ish hours since the SNAP Challenge started. I am already struggling with feeling hungry. I was up at 12:00 a.m. this morning because I had to do my last round for my RA job. I usually bring a snack with me, so I automatically felt the difference in changing what I usually do. My stomach was already starving. It was my instinct saying that we want what we cannot have. I was walking around my different residence halls trying to walk by pretty quickly. My lifestyle is to always have snacks and smaller meals. This will be a real shock to my body.

In my next blog post, I will talk about the groceries I bought. I first went to the dollar store to see which groceries I wanted. I used about 18 dollars at the store. I then went to the Giant with fellow classmate Myranda to find about 7 more dollars worth of groceries. I did not get any name brand things, and I had to think of multiple things. I live in a freshmen hall on campus because I am an RA., and I do not usually cook foods. It will be interesting to finding the foods.