This post was sponsored by Y-USA as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.
When I heard about the food desert challenge it immediately stood out to me. I know how tough the Summer months can be on families who really rely on the meals provided at schools for their children. It can be tough to suddenly have to figure out how to increase your food budget for the entire Summer and sometimes that’s simply not possible.
A food desert is defined as an area where it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.
I know that this can be a huge challenge in so many areas! For our food desert challenge we were given $20 a day to feed our entire family for the whole day. We did the challenge for 3 days, and learned a lot!
We saw that, while this can be done, it is difficult, especially if you are pressed for time. We were fortunate to find spaghetti sauce on sale for only $1, added to that some pasta for around $1.50 and ground meat for around $3 we were able to eat dinner for around $5.
Sales aren’t always available so we couldn’t really rely on that price for budgeting forever.
Dinner is the most challenging meal for this challenge. Spaghetti, tacos and baked chicken were our picks for this challenge. We used rice to fill us up and corn on the cob for vegetables every day.
The other problem is, of course fresh food. During the Summer months we have corn on the cob here for 30 cents an ear. That’s a great price, corn is both healthy and filling, it seems like the perfect choice to eat multiple times through the week, but if you’re only able to get to the grocery store once a week or less, that would be prohibitive of stocking up on great deals like this.
Breakfast is cheapest when you just have eggs and toast, but that takes more time to prepare in the mornings than simple cereals.
Lunches we stuck with peanut butter and jelly, even for mom and dad!
I can see how challenging it would be to not have easy access to affordable fruits, vegetables and other fresh fruits like this. It would mean needing to buy prepackaged foods, which are lower in nutrition for the cheaper ones, or very expensive. That is hard on a family, especially for growing kids!
I love that the YMCA does a lot to help families in this situation. They have committed to helping keep kids healthy and they come through for kids in a big way, especially through the Summer. The YMCA has a Summer food program which provides kids with nutritious meals and snacks while they are engaging in other learning activities at the Y.
This year, with help from the Walmart foundation the YMCA will be providing 5 million meals and snacks to over 250,000 teens and kids at 1,500 locations.
As a way to create awareness around the need, they created the food desert challenge. To take the challenge, you use only $5 per member of your family to use for food for the entire day.
It’s not as easy as you might think! Buying things in bulk helps us to save money normally, but for a family on a budget this might not be possible. Taking the challenge is a powerful way to see the great things the Y is doing for your community. It’s a neat way to talk with your kids about different privileges they have and what your family can do to help other kids who could use the help right now.
I also learned that food insecurity exists in every county in the United States. Nowhere is immune!
I can’t recommend taking the food desert challenge enough! It’s a great experience to do as a family! Be sure to follow the YMCA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also visit the YMCA’s Summer Food Program’s website: They Feed Kids to learn more.