2013 Food Stamp Challenge

What can YOU do to help 1 in 6 Americans?

Join Critical Diversity Studies faculty and Sociologists Together Empowering Students (STEP) in a

Food Stamp Challenge: 

living on the new average daily food stamp benefit of about $4.55 per person per day, between Mon Nov 11 - Fri Nov 15 (or Mon Nov 18).   

HOW (5 "easy" steps):

  1. Decide today that you will join STEP and CDS faculty in a Food Stamp Challenge for either 5 or 7 days.  If you're comfortable, please contact us to let us know that you are doing this in solidarity with us: SOC/ CDS Faculty Evelyn Rodriguez ( and/ or STEP (
  2. Figure out how much you can spend on food during the Challenge.  The Nov 1 cuts mean that monthly benefits per person in CA were reduced from $149.05 to about $138-- so participants should budget $4.60 per day they are on the Food Stamp Challenge (about $23 if you're doing it for 5 days; about $32 if you're doing it for a whole week.
  3. Plan how you'll take care of your nutritional needs for the week.  Some of us are taking our $23-32 budget and going grocery shopping for the whole week this weekend.  Whatever you do, please keep in mind these suggestions/ guidelines:
    • All food purchased and eaten during the Challenge week, including fast food and dining out, must be included in the total spending. 
    • During the Challenge, try and only eat food that you've purchased for the project. If you eat food/ beverages that you already own (this does not include spices and condiments), remember to calculate the cost of that (via a site like, and remember to "deduct" that cost from your food allowance for the Challenge.
    • Avoid accepting free food from friends, family, or at school/ work, including at receptions, briefings, or other events where food is served. 
  4. Take note of your experiences.  When you feel like all you can think about is the emptiness in your stomach, try and fill it with ideas about what we can do to influence our political leaders to improve our inadequate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Share these ideas and the experiences that inspire them all week at
  5. Tell others what you're doing (and why); invite them to join us.


STEP has elected to accept a Food Stamp Challenge, in solidarity w/ Critical Diversity Studies Faculty, and w/ the more than 47 million food stamp recipients who had their benefits cut last week as a result of ongoing negotiations on a revised farm-bill.  Those cuts affect 1 out of 6 Americans-- a diverse population of poor, elderly, women, young people, veterans-- in other words, many of the most marginalized and vulnerable in our society, and the same populations who the new CDS Major seeks to make more visible.  These cuts mean that single-person households will be essentially be required to live off less than $5 a day.  CDS wonders if any of us can do that.  So, those of us who are willing and able are participating in a Food Stamp Challenge: for 5-7 days, living on CA's new average daily food stamp benefit of about $4.55 per person per day.  Follow our progress online by reading the STEP Blog


Dear Members of the USF Community,

As many of you know, there is a worsening crisis of hunger and food insecurity in our country. The Critical Diversity Studies Program and STEP (USF’s student sociology organization) implore you to sign our petition, which describes the crisis and urges Bon Appetit to work with local food pantries to lessen the impact of the crisis. It will take no more than two minutes of your time to read and sign it.

The petition will remain online for two weeks. Please encourage fellow students, staff, and faculty to do their part in a collective movement for social change.

Thank you for your time and your consideration.

David H. Kim (Critical Diversity Studies Program and Philosophy)

Evelyn I. Rodriguez (Critical Diversity Studies Program and Sociology)