Hunger Challenge Day 1: Time & Shopping List

Beck and I are living off of $4.72 per day per person this week as part of the SF Food Bank’s Hunger Challenge. This includes¬† preparation and time…


Preparing to nourish yourself and your loved ones on a restricted budget takes time. Trolling the SF Food Bank FAQs brought me to their suggestion of doing all the shopping in one place and at one time.

Instead, my inner scavenger is coming out.

Like a barracuda circling the waters looking for its next kill, I approached grocery shopping for the week. It became a game. I kept a meticulous record of expenses so as not to get off course. From Safeway, I purchased broccoli slaw at an incredible deal. From the local bodega in West Portal, an eggplant and salsa. After flying in earlier than anticipated on Sunday, we hit up Trader Joe’s for dairy, proteins and some produce. Later in the evening, I wended my way over to Chinese grocery stores squeezing produce at one store and evaluating the red bell peppers at another, all the while sniffing out the best deals. Tucked into these aisles with calculator and notebook in hand, I sought to leave no detail unattended. I can safely say I have not put this much time into trying to get it right. And by “it”, I mean feeding, food, the act of nourishing.

Canvas bags packed with our excursions’ findings, we now had the semblance of the black lettering of a menu laid out in ingredients on our counter top. Up an hour before usual, I whisked together the quiche cups for our breakfast, then chopped and assembled the Lemon Pepper Tuna with Apple Slaw.


Going back to another question, the one of access, a person on food stamps probably does not have the time to make it to three, four or five stores to scour for deals. More likely, they are working hard to keep a roof over their head and easy is the name of the game when it comes to food. For some reason, I have a single mother in my mind working two or three jobs to make ends meet. We’ll call her Valerie. I see her rise in the dark and I see her wearily work her way home after the sun has set. Can nutrition be easy and affordable for her?

I still have so much to learn.


  • Eggplant (1)——————- $1.39
  • Ginger (1 piece)————– $.12
  • Corn Tortillas (80)———– $3.80
  • Eggs (1 dozen)—————–$1.69
  • Plain Goat’s Milk Yogurt (1 tub)—- $5.49
  • Salsa (2 cans)—————- $2.18
  • Garbanzos (1 can)———– $.89
  • Garlic (1 bulb)————— $.72
  • Olive oil (1 bottle)———– $4.99


  • Lemons (4)——————- $1
  • Spinach (1 bag)————– $1.99
  • Kale (1 bag)—————— $1.99
  • Bananas (5)—————— $1

drygoods_oats n fujis

  • Fuji Apples (12)———— $1.69
  • GF Oats (1 bag)————- $3.99
  • Almond Milk (1 carton)– $2.99
  • Natural Whole Chicken (1)— $8.24
  • Potatoes (2)—————- $.53
  • Organic Carrots (5)——- $.79
  • Celery Hearts (1 bag)—– $1.69
  • Onions (2)—————— $.61
  • Peanut Butter (1 jar)—– $1.79
  • Mung Bean Noodles (1 bag)– $.69


  • Cucumber (1)————– $.69
  • Red Bell Pepper (1)——- $.37
  • Canned Tuna (2)———- $3
  • Brown Rice (2 lb)——— $2.99
  • Organic Black Beans (1 can)— $1.19
  • Organic Pinto Beans (1 can)— $1.19
  • Tomatoes (2)——————– $.40
  • Broccoli Slaw (1 bag)———– $1
  • Cilantro (1 bunch)————– $.39
  • Rice Vinegar (1 bottle)——– $1.99
  • Green Onions (1 bunch)——- $.35
  • Cabbage (1 head)————— $.64
  • Lettuce (1 head)—————- $.69
    Total: $65.15  for 2 people for 1 week ($32.57 per person)

Tomorrow, catch the shopping list make its way into recipes and meals.


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