I have taken a couple of days to reflect on my experience through the food stamp supplement challenge that I participated in last week as well as the events surrounding the challenge, the comments, e-mails, and also conversations I have actually had with so many around hunger, access to affordable, nutritious and safe food and other obstacles that so many kind of face each day.

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To put things right into perspective, 643,000 fellow Marylanders and 43 million Americans participate in the food stamp supplement routine. While Maryland is considered by many metrics to be one of the wealthiest states in the nation, 11 percent of its citizens should rely on food stamps and also 130,000 more Marylanders are participating in the food stamp regime this year. Only 30% of eligible senior citizens are accessing the food stamp supplement routine.

When I reflect on meals programs in Baltimore City alone, which frequently are supplements to the food stamp regimen, I estimate that collectively these programs are serving 2,500 meals a day. That is 912,500 meals a year! This does not also account for the food panattempt, virtual grocery, neighborhood garden and various other food distribution programs in the area. While world are so generous and caring, it often seems so hard to save up through the ever-raising require.

In my case, the $30 food stamp supplement that I lived on afforded exceptionally limited choices in food selection and also very little bit discretionary spending. My diet of rice, beans, milk, eggs, peanut butter, raw carrots and yogurt lacked fresh fruit, meat and also array. I received many kind of comments on how artistic and also strategic civilization can be when sources are so restricted. I was likewise struck and also impacted by the loss of socialization in eating via my food resources and options being so limited. Frankly, I missed this the many. Throughout background, eating has actually been a social activity. With my scarce resources, brvery own bag lunches and limited selections in food, I lost the fellowship of eating. I had taken this for granted. I imagine many others lose this also.

Access to food and also shopping choices are additionally points that are an obstacle for many kind of which I have actually taken for granted. On Sunday with my shopping list, calculator and $30 in hand, I acquired into my auto and also drove to Walmart to shop for groceries. I passed six grocery stores on my method to Walmart. Many communities do not have actually a single grocery save, limiting shopping selections to corner stores through limited inventory. Also, many human being usage public transportation to obtain to stores, even more limiting choices to stores on or close to public transportation.

I likewise reflected on the homemuch less and sheltermuch less people that are on the food stamp supplement. These individuals have even even more restrictive options in grocery selection in that they lack the infrastructure to prepare and warm food. Many type of of these individuals count greatly on meals programs favor Our Daily Breview, The Francisdeserve to Center, and also Beans and Bread.

As an outcome of my experience, I am also even more committed and also firmer in my resolve to carry out what is feasible to help fragile Marylanders. I am humbled by the resolve, resourcefulness, faith, heart, and determicountry of those members of our neighborhood who face the uncertainty and also results of poverty each day. I am motivated and also inspired by the generosity, commitment, and also dedication of so many in our community to aid their next-door neighbors in require. We are blessed and have actually the chance to enrich our lives via service to others.




Saturday, January 29


Friday started off prefer most days this week. Schools were closed bereason of lingering impacts of the storm. Over 10,000 residences and also businesses in the location were still without power, consisting of our Villa Maria School in Timonium. Other programs operated as usual. I started my day prefer the majority of days this week via an egg, 1 piece of toast via jelly and also a glass of milk. I packed my lunch (peanut butter and jelly sandwich, raw carrots and yogurt) and headed dvery own to a breakquick meeting for the Ignatian Volunteer Corps. at St. Ignatius Church. Coffee, juice and danish were offered. I settled in through a huge glass of ice water. I reflected on how in the previous, I would have gone best for the danish. I really had no interest in it this morning. I was sticking to my setup.

After the meeting, I headed to the office for a pair of appointments prior to the brown bag lunch in the conference room at noon. I wondered if world would certainly come. Socialization during lunch was a possibility. Promptly at noon about 14 folks joined me in the 3rd-floor conference room, brvery own bags in hand also. The team was consisted of of Catholic Charities employees from various departments and programs, Maryland Hunger Solutions staff, and also various other food stamp obstacle participants.

Tbelow was a good dialogue on shared experiences, questions, the food stamp supplement routine, hunger, food access, and also Catholic Charities employees shared some client experiences. I was stunned to learn from an AARP staff member that just 30% of eligible seniors access the food stamp supplement program. The worries for world to access or avail themselves of the routine are complex. Awareness is certainly one obstacle. Others that I had actually not thought about are the emotional and emotional barriers to accepting assistance.

Cathy Demeroto, Director of Maryland Hunger Solutions, additionally shared video clips of interviews with Delegates Mary Washington and Ana Sol Gutierrez who took on the difficulty through us this week while in session. Taking the obstacle during the session creates distinct obstacles. The Delegateways insights and also experience were extremely impactful and also offered an additional measurement to our discussion. I left the lunch even more indeveloped, with added perspective and a lot to reflect on.

After an afternoon of meetings, I went residence to have actually dinner through Ryan. Maria was out to dinner via Loyola 10th grade mothers. Ryan had actually lasagna and also ice cream. I had tuna fish, raw carrots, and also baked beans, a lot favor the various other dinners throughout the week.

My arrangement for Saturday was much favor the arrangement for the various other days of the previous week. I started via my last egg for the week for breakfast in addition to my last slice of toast and last glass of milk. Lunch consisted of baked beans, raw carrots and also yogurt and for dinner, the last of my baked beans, rice and raw carrots. Very little bit continued to be from my Sunday purchase. I had rice, peanut butter, jelly, a pair of carrots and also one 6oz container of yogurt. For those on the food stamp supplement routine, this would have actually been the finish of one week and the beginning of one more. For me, it was a week of finding out and appreciation. I learned from the experience itself, conversations with and e-mails from many and also the comments that so many type of of you posted to the site. Keep the comments coming! I have such great respect, admiration and appreciation for the resilience, creative thinking, ingenuity and also heart of those we aid and also serve. I am humbled.

I setup to spend a couple of days reasoning around what I’ve learned. I’ll put that into my last short article, which will certainly come next week. Thanks for sticking through me this week. I think it’s fair to say that all of us have actually learned somepoint.




Friday, January 28

Yesterday (Thursday), we were all taking care of effects of the many difficult snowstorm of the year. Wednesday’s commute home was 9 to 12 hrs for many; with commuters battling driving scurrently, abandoned cars, and also unplowed roads.

My morning started via a scrambled egg, 1 slice of toast through peanut butter and also a glass of milk. I packed my lunch and also put it on the counter as I ventured out to shovel. After completing shoveling and letting our dog Casey out to endeavor in a specially cleared area of lawn, I began interacting via the Agency’s leadership team. We had two Gallagher group homes in Anne Arundel County without power, the Villa Maria School in Timonium was without power, and Gallagher Services and St Vincent’s Villa were without water. Our staff was already functioning on these problems and also our emergency preparedness plan for contingencies. I had actually spoken via our leaders at Our Daily Breview and My Sister’s Place to watch exactly how we were located via staff and volunteers for the day. I learned that Our Daily Bcheck out remained in need of a couple of volunteers to serve in the dining room. I chose to head down to assist out.

Shortly after leaving my neighborhood, I realized that I had left my lunch on the kitchen respond to. As difficult as it wregarding get out of the neighborhood in Maria’s four-wheel drive Sequoia, I chose not to rotate approximately to retrieve my lunch. Upon arrival at Our Daily Bread, our remarkable staff, several of whom had invested the night, had points well arranged.

The males of Christopher Place had already cleared the walks and parking lot. Several world had arrived to volunteer. This was truly inspiring. During difficult weather, you deserve to never be particular exactly how many people will have the ability to concerned serve or exactly how many kind of guests deserve to pertained to eat lunch. We were ready! I was assigned to the “line” wright here the meals are plated prior to they are ceded to the guests. The meal of the day was meatballs, string beans, and maburned potatoes with gravy. As always, we also offered a vegetarian choice. My job was to plate mamelted potatoes and also pass the dish to my left for gravy. I did my ideal to store up through my linemates on my appropriate. We had a secure crowd from 10:30 to the end of lunch at 12:30. A full of 613 guests were served!

After serving the meal, I defined my lunch plight to my colleagues. I was reminded that the Dog House next door had actually hot dogs for $1.50. I still had actually money in my food budget for a hot dog and I required to eat on the run bereason I had a leadership team meeting at 1 at the office, complied with by a tour of St. Elizabeth’s at 3:30. Much to my disappointment, the Dog House was closed as a result of weather. Pressed for time, I skipped lunch and went on with the balance of my day. I arrived house for dinner, tired and also hungry. I ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, raw carrots, and also yogurt for dinner with a glass of milk.

Today I reflected on the hardships that weather and various other obstacles cause civilization that are hungry and also homemuch less, and the function that places like Our Daily Bread play in the battle against hunger. Meals programs favor Our Daily Breview serve numerous functions. For many kind of, it is a primary resource of food. You watch many of the same guests come in day in and day out. They arrive, are invited and also seated, offered choose any type of restaurant guest would certainly be, eat and also as they leave are invited to avail themselves of other services or to ssuggest come back the next day for another warm meal. Throughout their meal, they also obtain a break from the harsh weather. Those that avail themselves of the various other opportunities deserve to ultimately discover themselves hoprovided, employed, and also on a course to self-sufficiency. Other people usage Our Daily Bread as a supplement to the Food Stamp supplement routine. This is one reason why the number of guests served at the finish of the month is considerably greater than those offered at the start of the month. Our programs are food security nets. More than 361,000 meals were served at Our Daily Bcheck out and also My Sister’s Place last year. That is nearly 1,000 meals a day!

Tright here is a whole hold of other programs that supplement the Food Stamp supplement routine. Some are dining programs favor Our Daily Breview. Others are panattempt programs or discounted grocery purchase programs choose Angel Food Ministries, which actually accepts food stamps to purchase the greatly discounted groceries. What would certainly the hungry carry out if these supplemental programs did not exist? I cannot imagine.

I would favor to extfinish an invitation to each of you to sign up with me in my office today, Friday, January 28, 2011 at 12:00 for a brvery own bag lunch to discuss the worries bordering hunger in our neighborhood. My office is located at 320 Cathedral Street. In maintaining with the Food Stamp Challenge, the “brvery own bag lunch” implies that you supply your very own brown bag via your lunch in it. We will certainly administer the water.

Please check this site over the weekend. I’ll continue to post my thoughts during the last few more days as I complete the Food Stamp Challenge week. I am surely obtaining an understanding—and also an admiration—for those who resolve the difficulties of affording good food for themselves and their family members on $30 per person per week.

By the means, many thanks to many of you for the insightful and encouraging comments to my short articles. They expect a lot to me.




Thursday, January 27

Today (Wednesday), I awoke to an unexpected snowstorm. Schools were closed and organization meetings canceled and/or rescheduled! Obstacles favor weather have the right to readjust a meal setup. I started my day through scrambled eggs, 1 slice of toast through grape jelly and also a glass of milk. It was 7:00 and also I was preparing to go to my morning breakfast meeting, where, favor Monday, I would certainly purchase a cup of coffee. I got an e-mail saying that we reschedule our meeting. This was entirely understandable but I had actually planned for and was counting on the cup of coffee. I was hoping to stop a repeat of the caffeine withattract headache that I competent Tuesday. I acquired into the office around 7:40 and automatically saw David & Dad’s for a cup of coffee. After all I had actually both planned and also budgeted for a cup of coffee. The coffee cost $1.75 bringing my food spending for the week to $22.79. Headache avoided.

My 9:30 Foundation board meeting was postponed yet my 12:00 investment committee meeting at T Rowe Price was on. I arrived through my peanut butter and also jelly sandwich, carrots and also yogurt. My fellow committee members appreciated even more amazing and inviting lunches. Prior to tackling a robust agenda, we had actually an engaging discussion about the Food Stamp supplement program, WIC, food options, food accessibility, and the Food Stamp Challenge. It was a perfect segue right into our meeting. It reminded each of us of the function, mission and affect of our work. It was additionally the initially time in the time of the week that I did not eat lunch alone. Socialization returns! My 4:00 meeting was additionally canceled permitting me to go residence and also have dinner through Maria and also Ryan. My dinner contained tuna fish, carrots, baked beans and also a glass of milk.

Today, I reflected on the occupational of the Agency. Regardmuch less of the challenge or circumstance, Catholic Charities constantly answers the call to serve. Guided by the underlying values of both recognizing and also cherishing the Divine within each individual, our 2000 compassionate and dedicated employees and our 15,000 thoughtful and generous volunteers reach out to aid fragile Marylanders. We accomplish each individual where they are uniquely situated. We assistance, care for, and empower each person so that they can reach their God-provided potential. We aid human being heal emotionally, physically and also spiritually.

Today marks 10,855 consecutive days of serving meals at Our Daily Bcheck out. Despite the weather, 679 people were fed in a respectful and compassionate way this day. Individuals were served in a similar way at My Sister’s Place, Sarah’s Housage, Anna’s House, St Vincent’s Villa, Villa Maria School, Gallagher Homes, St Elizabeth’s, Caritas Housage and in our senior living communities to name a few. This happens every day regardmuch less of weather or other scenarios. I am blessed and privileged to be part of such an significant company.

I would certainly choose to extfinish an invitation to each of you to join me in my office on Friday, January 28, 2011, at 12:00 for a brown bag lunch to discuss the issues neighboring hunger in our neighborhood. In keeping through the Food Stamp Challenge, the “brown bag lunch” implies that you supply your very own brown bag through your lunch in it. We will certainly carry out the water. My office is situated at 320 Cathedral Street.

Peace.Bill___________________Wednesday, January 26

Yesterday (Tuesday), was a typical workday start via a reserved 7:30 a.m. meeting in the office. Before leaving the residence around 6:00 am, I had a 6oz raspberry yogurt and also a glass of milk. I packed my lunch, which was the exact same as Monday ‘s lunch …a peanut butter sandwich, raw carrots and a yogurt. At approximately 8:00 a.m. I came dvery own through a serious headache. I was reminded that my new regimen did not encompass my early morning visit to Starbucks for my day-to-day venti bold. A caffeine withattract headache no doubt. I did not endure this on Monday bereason I had actually coffee at my breakquick meeting. In any kind of occasion, my headache was relieved a short time after I took 2 Tylenol. Like Monday, I ate lunch in my office alone. At dinner, I had actually scrambled eggs and also raw carrots, prior to heading off to the Loyola v. Mount St. Joe basketsphere game through more raw carrots!

In mirroring on my shopping endure on Sunday and reviewing my purchases and food selection for the week I realized a few things. First, with a total invested for the week of $19.25, I might afford a jar of grape jelly to go with my peanut butter. At a cost of $1.79, my total invested on food for the week is currently $21.04. Also, I did not purchase or include meat or poulattempt in my food selection. I will certainly assess my ability to afford meat or poultry at the end of the day Wednesday. My Wednesday schedule includes a breakquick meeting, 2 board meetings, and an investment committee lunch. Like Monday, I will certainly purchase a coffee at my breakfast meeting Wednesday.

When I shopped for my groceries on Sunday, in addition to my grocery list and also my $30, I had actually a calculator so that I can save a running total of the expense of my food. I have actually witnessed in the past and also could imagine myself acquiring to the cashier after completing my shopping only to have to leave items behind because I did not have actually sufficient money to pay for my whole order. This would certainly be both discouraging and humiliating. Many kind of civilization experience this embarrassment all as well frequently.

Also unchoose so many type of, living in Lutherville I have actually plenty of options of grocery stores to shop. With alternative comes the possibility to comparichild shop for the ideal deals feasible. Many type of of our communities have actually few or also no grocery stores. This creates added obstacles for world to acquire affordable fresh and also healthy food.

Over the previous 15 years, Catholic Charities has tried to recruit, cultivate, and lure grocery chains to pertained to Cherry Hill, a area we have sustained by revitalizing their retail facility. Several have actually opened industries, but none have actually been sustainable. This challenge is not distinct to Cherry Hill, yet is common in many areas and communities throughout Maryland also.

Aget, I remain humbled by this obstacle, recognizing that I am undertaking it for just one week, understanding that even more than 643,000 Marylanders and also numerous Americans confront the very same food difficulties each and eincredibly day.

I would like to extfinish an invitation to each of you to join me for a brown bag lunch at my office this Friday, January 28, 2011 at noon to comment on the problems bordering hunger in our neighborhood.


Bill _______________

Tuesday, January 25

Yesterday (Monday) noted my initially workday as component of the Maryland Hunger Solutions Food Stamp Challenge. In preparation for Monday, I made and packed a lunch consisting of a peanut butter sandwich, raw carrots and a 6 oz container of yogurt. I set my alarm 15 minutes previously than usual so I would certainly have time to prepare breakfast (scrambled egg, slice of toast via peanut butter, and also a glass of milk) prior to heading out to my breakquick meeting through a board member. I woke up hungry yet my breakquick was filling. My arrangement for my breakfast meeting wregarding have actually a cup of coffee, which I did at a price of $1.85. This carried my total food spending for groceries and also coffee to $19.25, leaving a spfinishing balance of $10.75 for the remainder of the week. I had actually several meetings in Baltimore County for the balance of the morning prior to heading to Cathedral Street around noon. I ate my lunch in my office, conserving my yogurt for an afternoon snack. After an afternoon of meetings, I headed to two legislative receptions in Annapolis. I had a glass of water at each reception and headed residence at roughly 8:30. I arrived home about 9:30, tired and also hungry. I had actually the same dinner I had on Sunday . . . rice, baked beans and also raw carrots.

Monday was a typical occupational day for me. The day started at an early stage and finished late. There were several differences, but. First, I did not begin the day at Starbucks on Ridgley Road for a venti bold and fellowship. I am commonly there at 6:10 a.m. My day-to-day visits to Starbucks would have consumed about two-thirds of my food stamp allotment for the week. I also brought my lunch to job-related and also ate it alone in my office. Throughout a regime work-related day, I would certainly dine out for lunch through colleagues or have actually lunch brought in for working lunches. I have shed the socialization of eating, or at least in the way I am provided to it.

Aside from the loss of socialization, I have actually shed the discretion and also flexibility to vary my meal choices. For the many component, my breakfast, lunch, and also dinner will look practically the exact same many days this week.

It is necessary to remember, I have taken this obstacle for a week. There are 643,000 Marylanders dealing with the hard choices and also difficulties of living on the food stamp supplement, eexceptionally day, and also eextremely week. This represents a rise of 130,000 Marylanders that were living on the food stamp supplement last year. A 22% increase! It is no coincidence that we have actually watched a comparable rise in the number of meals offered in our meals programs at Our Daily Bcheck out and also My Sister’s Place.



Monday, January 24

Last evening, I took on the Maryland also Hunger Solutions Food Stamp Challenge. Participants in the Challenge are personally demonstrating what it is prefer for countless negative Americans who live on the average Food Supplement benefit of $30 per week per perboy. As I have actually ready for this difficulty, I conveniently known both the planning and socialization difficulties that one deals with trying to live on food stamps.

On Sunday afternoon, my wife Maria and also I checked out Walmart to do my food shopping for the week. My expedition started with a significant amount of planning both in regards to mapping out my meals for the week and a shopping list. I recognize I have $30 to spfinish for the week but I likewise have actually breakquick meetings on Monday and Wednesday. I decided that I would certainly purchase a cup of coffee at each breakrapid meeting. In the interest of complete disclosure, I should let you know that I rescheduled 3 lunch meetings for the week. This ( together with my day-to-day Starbucks visit) is component of the socialization difficulty that I was referencing. Anymethod, the following is the list of my purchases at WalMart:

• 4 cans pork-n-beans – 37 cents each $1.48• 1 jar (28ozs.) peanut butter 2.98• 1 bag entirety carrots 1.34• 2 cans tuna fish 1.20• 2 lbs parboiled whole grain rice 1.64• 8 6 oz containers of yogurt 3.00• 1 gallon low-fat milk 2.34• 1 dozen extra large eggs 1.74• 1 loaf white bread 1.68Total $17.40

A successful pilgrimage. I have actually a cushion in my allotment and also a meal arrangement. For dinner tonight I will certainly have a glass of milk, a 1/2 cup of rice, 1/2 deserve to of pork and also beans and a carrot. Tomorrow, I will have 2 eggs, 1 piece of toast with peanut butter and a little glass of milk prior to heading to breakfast meeting and also coffee. For lunch, I will certainly have actually a peanut butter sandwich, a 6oz container of yogurt, a carrot, and water. Dinner will certainly be late because of receptions in Annapolis at which I will just have water, but I am planning a repeat of Sunday’s dinner.

You may ask why I’m doing this. First, I’m very humbled by the reality that so many kind of members of our community live on $30 per perboy per week in order to feed themselves and also their households. Second, the mission of Catholic Charities is to advocate, and also to teach others, about the requirements and scenarios of the human being we serve. Poverty effects the large majority of human being offered in Catholic Charities programs and also food is a critical basic need that we administer in many kind of programs, most notably at Our Daily Bread and My Sister’s Place Women’s Center. Together, these 2 programs alone provide over 350,000 hot meals per year. Participating in the Food Stamp Challenge and also sharing my suffer might well be an eye-opener for me and those of you who will certainly follow my day-to-day messeras this week.

The week-long Challenge started last evening, Sunday, January 23. Every day, I plan to article an upday below on our website.

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I’d say wish me luck, however I’m just doing what 11% of all Marylanders carry out eincredibly day, week, month and also year.

Peace, Bill


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