Budget Update and Lesson Learned

Guest post by Jess Bart Williams: I didn’t realize all the people that would be affected by the challenge as I took it.  I have received lots of calls and emails from people truly concerned and in a bit of shock at times.  It has been a wonderful experience to talk to people about our food system and the challenges that our community seems to be silently suffering (silently from my perspective anyway).

I went through my logs again, since a lot of people had questions about the amounts, and though I was sure, I thought I’d better double-check.  The amount, $5.40 for formula for the baby is correct.  And no, I didn’t stop breastfeeding.  Though I eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids, I don’t produce enough to satisfy my child’s hunger, so we have always supplemented her diet with formula (and now baby food as well).  Her formula, Similac Advance Infant Formula, sells at $1.35/ounce.  She drinks 4 oz per day (sometimes more, but lately she’s drinking 4 and eating more food) so that’s $5.40.
The baby food fluctuates, but I got a whole bunch on sale recently for $1.11 for 2, and she eats twice a day so it should have been $2.22 a day but I forgot to double it the first and second day.  I played catch up on the third day and didn’t tell y’all, and some of you caught it.  Her appetite varies, but generally she eats 4 containers a day which would equal $2.22 a day.
Toast has been confusing.  Toast is priced out at $0.23 a slice, which I may have rounded up on the first day.  I need to correct these errors, because they got compounded:
Monday said $0.50, it should have been $0.92
Tuesday said $1.00, it should have been $0.92
Wednesday said $0.40, it should have been $0.92.
There will be an adjustment for -$0.86 for toast.  This is why I no longer work in a grocery store.   And heads up, my toast today will only be $0.46, because I skipped breakfast today.
Ok, so I just have to say that this really sucks.  It isn’t that I made public mistakes or that I mismanaged my money, which is terrifying and embarrassing. It’s that it’s Thursday.  i was really looking forward to having stir fry broccoli with beef on Japanese white rice tomorrow, and I don’t think I’m going to be able to pull it off.  I’ll know better tonight, but I better start thinking of some alternatives.
I encourage everyone to become an advocate for SNAP funding.  This week it is being discussed in the FARM bill before Congress, and we need more, not less.  Call your legislators today and tell them you want SNAP protected.
You can also sign up for requests for advocacy from your food bank. You can sign up to receive Advocacy Alerts from the Food Bank Contra Costa and Solano here.
Or find your local food bank here.

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