Saturday, September 26, 2009

Matthew 25:35 Challenge

I have to admit it, I'm a sucker for helping the hurting. When I see a hurt or scared dog, I want to bring it home and feed it. I have even been known to cry when I saw a bird with a broken wing try to get off of a fence, with no success. (Just ask my husband about that incident!) But don't get me wrong...when it comes to helping the hurting people of this world, I am no sucker. Yes, when I see a person hurting for whatever reason, it does pull at my heartstrings. But it is far more than that since people are created in the image of God. It is a calling that I have on my life--a calling to comfort those who are hurting, a calling to feed the poor, a calling to bandage the wounds of the brokenhearted.

Guess what?! It's your calling, too, if you are a believer. We are supposed to all take care of the poor, the widows and the orphans. You don't need a special calling on your life to do it. Matthew 25:35 says that when we serve the poor, or take care of those who need help, we are actually serving Jesus with our labors. "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in." So, while I believe that God does call certain people to serving the poor and needy, the widows, and the orphans at a different level (I think my husband and I have this calling on our lives), we don't need a special calling to help others out. As believers, it just comes out of our love for Jesus.

I was recently reading an article about people who live on food stamps. When I saw the chart that highlighted the allotments per family member, I was shocked. Basically, it comes down to somewhere around $15 per person per week. I had no idea it was that low! Now, I am not saying this to start a political argument about whether we should have welfare or anything like that. What I am saying is that there are some genuinely suffering, hungry people out there. They need help, and they need the love and compassion of Jesus shared with them.

Could your family live on a food stamp allotment? When I saw the maximum allotment for a family of 6 (my family's size), my first thought was "there's no kids have food allergies and we try to eat as little processed food as possible." But I'm always up for a good challenge.

So, here's my challenge! I am challenging myself and all of you readers to live on a food stamp budget for 1 month. Try to be as creative with your recipes as possible, and try to eat as healthy as possible. You could even blog about your journey. I will be blogging on this site regularly about our journey. And then, at the end of the month, consider donating the extra money from your grocery budget that you didn't use to a local food bank or church food pantry. While you're at it, consider printing up the recipes from the inexpensive but healthy meals you made, and give them to the food bank so they can pass them along to others. I think this would be a wonderful way to be able to empathize with the plight of the poor while still making a difference in others' lives.

So, would you consider joining me for a month (or longer as you feel led)? Would you join me for the month of October in spending only a food stamp allotment on groceries and then donating the rest of your grocery budget to feed the poor? I know it's a big decision, but if you wish to join me, please leave a comment on this post so I can know who is joining me!

I'm excited! To figure out your food stamp allotment for your family size, please click here. It will walk you through the instructions on finding how much money you would receive if you were on food stamps. If your income exceeds a certain amount, then you will find that you would actually get a negative number when figuring your allotment. So, our family used a fake income of $36,000 to figure it. So, we will be living in October with a grocery budget of $412. If you have questions about figuring your allotment, you can just leave a comment.

Keep checking back on this blog regularly, as I will post at least weekly on the progress my family is making, and I will also post some recipes.


Dianne said...

hmmm, i am a little confused, but that's normal for me reading a government website. i put my actual income in and it said i should be eligible for $14-24/month. scary, no matter what it means (i'm truly a starving student!). does that mean if i did this challenge that $24 would be my month's grocery budget? i'm probably actually spending about that weekly!

The Corcoran Family said...

Dianne, that sounds about right. Like I said, when I entered our family's income, it actually came out with a negative number (as in, we owe the government money!) So you can do whatever you'd like--you can come up with a fake income to put in, or you can just take the maximum allotment to live on. Either way is fine. So does this mean you'll be joining us? :)

Anonymous said...

My husband and I lost our jobs earlier this year. We were on umemployment and food stamps and found ourselves amazed at how much we received. In fact, our food stamps ended 2 months ago and we still have money left on our food card. Our family of 5 ate like kings. I usually spend about $75/wk on groceries, but we eat little meat and buy only on sale and seasonal products. It will be interesting to see others' experiences.nn

Anonymous said...

My family of four is on food stamps. I would have never imagined that I would ever be on "welfare", but here we are and oh, what a blessing it is! Our monthly "allotment" is $644 (the maximum is $668). We are eating better, healthier food than when we weren't on food stamps as now we can actually afford it! I am not sure how you are reading the chart (did you scroll down to the bottom of the page where it lists the maximums?), but the maximum allotment for a family of six is $962. This amount is obviously significantly higher than the $15 per person per week that you are quoting. Do you normally spend more than $962 a month on groceries for your family?

The Corcoran Family said...

I can understand that you would eat very well with your allotment for food. The full allotments are plenty to eat well, for sure! In fact, the full allotment for my family is almost $200 more than my normal grocery budget--for food, toiletries, sundry items. So, if we were using the full allotment, I'd actually be spending more on my grocery budget than normal! I'm actually using the "fake" income of $36,000 to determine our family's allotment. This gives us a taste of what it is like for folks who are having a hard time financially, but it also gives us enough money leftover from our grocery budget to be able to donate. I hope that makes sense! :)