Can you survive on $4.20 a day?

The SNAP Challenge seeks to give participants a glimpse into the struggles faced by millions of low-income Americans who are trying to put food on their tables, said Gina Cornia of Utahns Against Hunger.

SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — formerly known as Food Stamps — and is the first line of defense against hunger, she said.

The nonprofit agency is sponsoring the SNAP Challenge, which begins Friday and continues through Sept. 21.

If would-be participants can’t make an entire week, Utahns Against Hunger invites them to try it for one, three or five days.

The challenge is based on the average federal SNAP benefit of $4.20 a day. (In Utah the average is $3.85 a day.) It will demonstrate to participants how difficult it is for families living on SNAP to simultaneously avoid hunger, afford nutritious foods and stay healthy with limited resources, Cornia said.

About 12 percent of households struggled with food insecurity — limited or uncertain access to enough food — in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The majority of SNAP recipients are children, seniors and people with disabilities.

Utahns Against Hunger encourages everyone to participate in the SNAP Challenge.

The agency also is inviting Utah’s congressional delegation and other state elected officials to participate, Cornia said. They will play an important role in preserving and protecting SNAP in the budget and in the upcoming Farm Bill.

SNAP helped lift 4.6 million Americans out of poverty in 2015, according to USDA data. It also kept 53,000 Utahns out of poverty, including 29,000 children, per year, between 2009 and 2012.

Sign up for the SNAP Challenge by visiting http://tiny.cc/UTSnap.

Questions can be sent to UtahSNAP@UAH.org.

Challenge rules:

  1. All food consumed during the Challenge week, including fast food or eating out, should be included in your total food spending.
  2. Avoid eating food you already own, including condiments.
  3. Avoid free food from friends, family, or work, so that you get a better understanding of living on a SNAP budget.
  4. Record everything you eat and drink during the Challenge. Keep a log of your food spending and portion sizes.
  5. Share your experience through social media and with your elected officials. Use#UtahSNAPChallenge when sharing your experience.