Family Takes SNAP Challenge - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Family Takes SNAP Challenge

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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program has been a major focus in Congress as lawmakers in the House have taken it out of the farm bill and proposed deep cuts. The average person on food stamps receives $4.25 a day. And one Bismarck woman is living this week as if she were on food stamps.

Shopping on a budget can be difficult for some, but it's a necessity for many people, especially those living on food stamps.

"The biggest change for us is really the amount of time we spend in planning for shopping and talking about food and preparing food," says SNAP Challenge participant Karen Ehrens.

This week, Ehrens, who works as a dietician, and her family have been living off $63.75. That's after they were able to pool the benefits that each person would receive, if they were on food stamps.

"It's easier when you are able to pool the resources of several family members together. You can have more variety in your diet," says Ehrens.

She's been buying her groceries at different stores, trying to find the best deal and getting her fruits and veggies at the farmers market.

"People can use their SNAP benefits at certain farmers markets and farm stands. That was the highlight of our week following the snap challenge. Being able to come to the farmers market and select fresh vegetables and fruits," says Ehrens.

Dwight Duke has been selling his vegetables at farmers markets since 1989, but has been accepting food stamps for the last three to four years.

"I've got probably 300 to 400 dollars worth of the SNAP each year and probably 3000 to 4000 of the regular credit cards. So it's helped both ways and people really appreciate it," says Duke.

He says each year he has noticed more people with food stamps coming to the farmers markets.

Ehrens last day on the challenge is Friday. She says it was difficult at times, especially as a mother who wants to provide everything she can for her daughter. And she says she feels for those who don't get to choose when they start and stop the program.

For more information on which farmers markets accept food stamps, www.nd.gov/dhs/services/financialhelp/foodstamps.html.

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