Ellen Wagner: Reflections on the 3SquaresVT Challenge

Ellen Wagner, the Administrative Services Coordinator at Twin City Subaru in Berlin, Vermont, took the 3SquaresVT Challenge from November 17-23.  Challenge participants were asked to live on the average 3SquaresVT benefit for one week, which, for a household of two, is $53.  She shared her reflections with us.

Over the past week I have had to face the question “will I go to bed hungry tonight?” This question is often thought by many people who have to live their life on a food stamps budget. A family of two receives $53 a week which sounds like a lot until you have to start putting together meals for a week.Grocery shopping was not fun having to pick and choose what items you wanted and at the end putting a lot back just to make sure we stayed in budget.

I have never felt more thankful for my life because I am really not sure how people do it. When we originally looked at the challenge I thought that it would be a breeze because I can be creative in the kitchen and we don’t buy that much each week anyway. Well, creativity counts for one meal and then it gets old really fast.

Looking back now I think that I really underestimated how much food can cost and how some weeks you buy lots of food and others you don’t. But either way the cupboards are always full. This is not the case for many families who have to open up empty cupboards each week and eat what is there with no other option. This challenge has been a real eye opener into a world of sacrifice. You wonder just how many people may even go without a meal to ensure that a child gets one. Every night just how many people do go to bed hungry? It is a question that we should ask ourselves more often and try to do a better job to help get programs more funding so that we don’t have to see the millions in funding go away. Each dollar lost is 3 meals that one person now has to forget about.

This challenge is something that I am very happy to say that I participated in; it has forever changed my life and outlook on this program. Thank you, Vermont Foodbank!

Ellen Wagner's $53 in groceries during the 3SquaresVT Challenge week.

Ellen Wagner’s $53 in groceries during the 3SquaresVT Challenge week.

To learn more about the 3SquaresVT Challenge, please visit our website.  The Vermont Foodbank will run this Challenge once per year, before Thanksgiving, but anyone can take the Challenge – with friends, family, colleagues – at any time.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: From November 21-January 2, the Vermont Foodbank is one of Twin City Subaru’s charities for Subaru’s Share the Love Event this year!  Buy or lease a new Subaru at Twin City Subaru this holiday season, and they’ll donate $250 to the Vermont Foodbank. With your help, their donations could mean 36,000 meals (that’s $12,000!) for hungry Vermonters.

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