What I learned taking the food stamp challenge - Features - Atlanta Magazine
 
 
 

What I learned taking the food stamp challenge

Could you eat on $33.98 a week?

      Stunt reporting, in which writers try on roles for a limited time, always leaves me a little squeamish. Pretending you are someone for a day or a week or a month or a year does not let you know what it’s really like to be that person. So it was with hesitation that I considered taking the “SNAP Challenge,” or eating on the equivalent of food stamps for a week. (SNAP is the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.) The challenge originally was issued to lawmakers, urging them to consider whether they could survive on the policies and budgets they set for others. (If you’re on Twitter, you might recall Cory Booker posting pictures of his yam-centric SNAP menu.)

      I shared my skepticism with Cicely Garrett of the Atlanta Community Food Bank when I met with her during my reporting for this month’s feature on the metro area’s food deserts. She had taken the challenge—and blogged about it—a few weeks earlier. Isn’t this just a form of poverty tourism, I wondered, like the modern equivalent of Marie Antoinette building a fake Austrian farm on the grounds of Versailles? Garrett said she, too, had been hesitant, but found the challenge an enlightening experience. “It really made me think about the daily experience of someone on limited resources with new awareness,” she said. “And food insecurity and access is something I think about every day for my job.”

      So I decided to take the challenge, and lucky for me, my husband, Jim, who does almost all the shopping and cooking in our household, decided to do it with me. The rules are simple. You can spend only the equivalent of your state’s average weekly SNAP allowance, which at the time in Georgia was $33.98. You can’t accept any outside food or eat restaurant meals, and, except for condiments, can’t use anything already in your pantry or refrigerator. And, like a SNAP recipient, you can’t spend any of your budget on alcohol, cigarettes, or household products.

      Sunday, January 5
      The day before the challenge started, we headed to the store determined to prove we could eat as healthfully as possible. After all, we figured, our situation embodies the best-case scenario USDA nutritionists have in mind when they produce brochures on healthy cooking tips: We have time to cook, we have a well-equipped kitchen, and mostly importantly we have a car and thus can shop around for the good deals and quality foods.

      We ditched our game plan minutes after entering Kroger. Everyone seemed to be on a January diet, so prices on chicken and turkey had been yanked up. Pork tenderloin on the other hand, was marked way down, along with fellow New Years staples like black-eyed peas and collards. We got a roast the size of a bread loaf for just $7.88 and decided to make it our main protein for the week. As Jim placed items to our cart, I kept a running tally on my phone’s calculator. The trade-offs escalated. Instead of honey ($3 and up) we opted for brown sugar ($1.29), and we ditched frozen berries ($4) for raisins ($2.59). We’d usually buy organic stock to add to lentils; instead we picked up cheap Knorr concentrate. The decisions weren’t just about menu items; we wavered on our food politics. We always buy cage-free eggs, but at $2.79 a dozen, a dollar more than those of unknown provenance, they were too steep. We normally get half-gallons of organic milk, but on this trip we picked up a quart of regular 2 percent ($1.69).

      We left the store with: apples, cauliflower, potatoes, onion, celery, carrots, frozen peas, pork loin, milk, brown rice, dried lentils, raisins, bread, oatmeal, Ramen noodles, brown sugar, peanut butter, chicken bouillon, eggs, hazelnuts, applesauce, coffee, and—because we wouldn’t be able to use any of our own supplies—the smallest and cheapest quantities of olive oil and butter for cooking.

      To make sure we stuck with the rules and didn’t dip into our own food supplies, we piled all the non-perishables on the counter and put the rest on one shelf in the fridge. “This way we can see what we have,” Jim said.

      Our SNAP budget: $67.96
      The Kroger total: $58.29
      Our balance: $9.67

      Monday, January 6
      A creature of habit, I eat the same breakfast at least five days a week—Trader Joe’s organic multigrain cereal with fresh or frozen fruit, honey, and slivered almonds. My SNAP challenge version—Kroger brand oatmeal, raisins, brown sugar, and hazelnuts—was a passable alternative. And just 54 cents a serving. James is fond of veggie-loaded omelets. He replaced that with a stripped-down plate: two fried eggs and two slices of buttered toast (59 cents). The Kroger Super Valu coffee ($2.79 for a can) was drinkable.

      That evening temperatures dropped to record single-digits. As I was out reporting a story, I got a text from Jim. He’d picked up a bunch of bananas at Publix—$1.47 for six. “I know we’re not allowed to accept food gifts, but what about drink gifts?” he asked. Our daughter’s boyfriend had given us some nice small-batch gin for Christmas. “I’m making a martini,” Jim texted. “I am sure poor people get Christmas presents.”

      It was after 8 p.m. when I got home and found a lovely dinner of pork loin, roasted potatoes, and applesauce. This sort of savory home-cooked meal is the kind USDA folks envision when they establish food budgets. “The fact is, if you’d been working late, too, or I was doing this alone, I’d be eating Ramen right now,” I said.

      And then, on day one, I cheated. It was freezing and I craved hot tea. “I will replace it tomorrow,” I assured Jim as I swiped a teabag from the pantry cabinet.

      Our balance: $8.20

      Tuesday, January 7
      As the Polar Vortex swept Atlanta, I was out on the west side visiting grocery and convenience stores. I’d also forgotten to pack a lunch. Normally, this would mean grabbing something; heck, since I was out reporting, I could justify putting lunch on my expense report. Instead, I warmed up with a cup of coffee served by the Vine City Walmart manager. After my interview with him, I picked up tea to replace the bag I’d swiped, reducing our dwindling balance by another $2.04.

      We’d each posted about the challenge on Facebook and were flooded with comments from friends and family. My mom offered to bring us fried chicken, people offered to take us out. Everyone asked if we were actually paying with SNAP cards. No, we're not defrauding the government, we explained. And no, we can’t take any food. We urged them to act on their generous impulses by donating to the food bank.

      That night’s dinner: brown rice and lentils, a meal we usually eat at least once a week, and one of my favorites. Luckily it’s also just 86 cents a serving.

      Our balance: $6.16

      Wednesday, January 8
      A number of Georgia farmers markets and urban farms participate in a program called Wholesome Wave, which allows SNAP recipients to use their benefits to buy local foods, and, as an incentive, doubles the value. So if, for instance, you buy $10 worth of produce at the Grant Park Farmers Market, it only deducts $5 from your SNAP card.

      To replicate the Wholesome Wave experience, we headed to the Truly Living Well urban farm in East Point. We arrived to find the staff arranging collard greens and Bok Choy on a table; the crops barely survived the Polar Vortex.

      The greens would have been a fantastic deal, except for one flaw: I can’t eat collards. Thanks to a genetic mutation called Factor V Leiden, I’m at higher risk for developing deep-vein thrombosis and dangerous blood clots (it’s kind of the anti-hemophilia). My hematologist recommends avoiding all foods high in Vitamin K, which aids in clotting. Those foods include kale, spinach, and, you guessed it, collards.

      Bok Choy is moderate in Vitamin K. Two bunches came to $6, or $3 at the Wholesome Wave discount. This was the only fresh green we’d buy all week.

      That evening, I went to my book club. The hosts had a wonderful spread of goat cheese, bread, and preserves—all homemade. I explained the challenge, declined the food, and accepted a glass of wine. It was tasty, but I was so distracted by the cheese plate I lost track of the book discussion for a while. (The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel. The club's collective verdict: Meh.)

      Our balance: $3.16

      Thursday, January 9
      That morning, I spent four hours in the parking lot of West Hunter Street Baptist Church, which houses the Southwest Ecumenical Emergency Assistance Center, or SWEEAC (pronounced swee-ack). Dozens of people lined up in the parking lot waiting for food.

      As its acronym suggests, SNAP benefits are intended to be supplemental, to boost a needy person’s budget. But in reality, for many poor people SNAP represents all the funds available for food. For those who rely on SNAP—or are waiting to qualify or have been denied by state or federal policies—the difference between eating and starving can come in the form of food distributed by groups like SWEEAC. I talked with Daniell Lanier, who had just been laid off her job as a machinist and was still waiting to get benefits. “I don’t know what I’d do otherwise,” she said. “I’ve never had to get a handout like this before.”

      For dinner, Jim made a stir-fry with the Bok Choy and leftover pork. It was fantastic. But the satisfaction was diminished remembering those people trudging away from the church parking lot with their bags of donated food. I wondered what Daniell Lanier was eating.

      Friday, January 10
      People in the nonprofit sector use the term “food insecurity” to refer to lack of food in general and lack of fresh, healthy food in particular. The implication of that term—and its accuracy—became more clear to me as the week progressed and we watched the pile of groceries on our counter dwindle. We strategized about how to get through the next three days. The plan: roast whatever veggies we had left for dinner and then make rice and beans for Saturday and Sunday. Jim bought a bag of dried beans and a few more bananas at Kroger ($2.51).

      Jim’s brother and his wife, with whom we regularly socialize, were headed out of town for a long trip. Normally we’d have them over for dinner, or suggest going out to eat. “We could have them over for rice and beans,” I said. But that would have wiped out all our supplies. So we wished them well by phone and email and hunkered down at home to binge-watch Justified.

      That night we had an odd dinner: roasted cauliflower, potatoes, and celery—along with a little leftover rice. Everything on my plate was yellow. I decided to exercise our “gift-booze” loophole and poured a bourbon, a present from the magazine’s design director.

      When I’d asked Cicely Garrett about her experience doing the SNAP challenge, she said that what was hardest for her was feeling isolated from her usual social activities, because food is so central to them. As she blogged: “On a food budget of $33.98, I could never invite friends or family over and to share a meal without severely limiting my own food intake. On this budget I could never host holidays or special occasions. On this budget I am isolated from my community. On this budget there is no room for unexpected surprises.”

      Our balance: 65 cents

      Saturday, January 11
      That morning we literally divvied up our remaining food, pushing things into piles on the counter. You get the last pack of Ramen and the peas; I’ll take the ingredients for peanut-butter-and-raisin-sandwiches. You get the banana; I’ll take applesauce.

      We went for a long walk around the neighborhood and stopped in at our local corner store, Little’s Grocery, which had just been saved from closure by a crowd-funding campaign. We chatted with the owner and congratulated him. We browsed the shelves, but there was nothing we could get with our remaining 65 cents. “I’m sure he wonders why we raved about his store but wouldn’t buy anything,” I said as we headed home.

      We’re fortunate to have Little’s in our neighborhood. Like many parts of Atlanta, Cabbagetown doesn’t have a supermarket, but Little’s stocks produce and fresh milk and healthier packaged items. Most convenience stores carry nothing but junk food. And we’re lucky we have a car to get to the Kroger on Moreland Avenue. Otherwise, it would mean a thirty-minute walk (we’ve tested it). To get there by bus or train requires multiple transfers, more walking, and trip times of at least forty-five minutes. And none of that takes into account the hassle of carrying your shopping bags on MARTA or schlepping them several miles by foot.

      Sunday, January 12
      The milk was gone and I was forced to drink black coffee, which I normally won’t consider. But with no choice, I gulped it down.

      On this, the last day of the challenge, I felt actual hunger pangs for the first time. We sorted through the dribs and drabs of what remained. Nothing much but the olive oil and butter we bought to play by the rules.

      That night for dinner we had leftover beans on top of cauliflower. “This looks like something they’d make on a cooking show, with a chef-y argument that the veggie is a great starch substitute,” I said. “But it’s really not.”

      As the week wrapped up, my attitude about the challenge had changed. Yes, it’s an artificial construct. But the exercise of living on this budget is a valuable one. It’s easy to brush aside the day-to-day lives of poor people, thinking, “Oh, we help with food and housing through taxes and benefits,” without pausing to reflect on whether those benefits sustain even a basic standard of living.

      “Tomorrow we can go back to our regular lifestyle,” said Jim. “But for other people this goes on week after week after week.”

      How did we do nutritionally?
      Our goal was to buy and prepare the most nutritious food we could on the SNAP budget. We each kept a diary of what we ate during the challenge, and I sent those food logs to Shayna Komar, dietician at Piedmont Healthcare.

      Komar’s major feedback? We should have tried for more variation. “It is a good idea to get variety in a meal plan for the simple reason that there are so many different vitamins/minerals and nutrients in foods that people sometimes miss if they don’t mix things up,” she said. “I love your oatmeal breakfast, but would encourage you to eat eggs once a week with your hubby.” She suggested a scramble with veggies, olives, and fresh herbs—a great idea, although the latter two ingredients would have been tough to cover on the budget. She also suggested berries as an addition to the fruits we did get—apples, bananas, raisins. We’d initially had those on our list, but didn’t get them because of cost. (One quibble about the challenge rules: Because we weren’t supposed to use anything we already had, we spent a percentage of the funds on olive oil and butter for cooking, and used just a fraction of what we bought. Had we been able to pro-rate some of that, we’d have had more money for vegetables and fruit.)

      She complemented the complete protein in our lentil and bean dinners—“fun vegetarian meals; awesome!”—but pointed out that our giant, bargain-priced tenderloin resulted in us consuming too much pork throughout the week, whereas we should have tried to work in fish or chicken.

      “Last but not least, make sure you stay hydrated,” she advised.

      Read the main feature: "Stranded in Atlanta's Food Deserts"

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      1. Jennifer A posted on 03/05/2014 11:18 AM
        While I applaud the idea behind the SNAP challenge, I also find a few of the stipulations to be a little disingenuous.
        First, not using anything from the pantry, like oil. People, especially people on a budget, don't buy a fresh bottle of oil every week. We plan it into the budget and use it judiciously so that it lasts as long as possible (Did you know that you can saute vegetables with water, especially if you're using in a soup?). Ditto for the tea bag. Is the assumption that SNAP users aren't capable of planning and maintaining staples in their pantry?
        Second, many people on limited budgets learn to find more cost effective ways of having staples on hand. It would've cost less money than buying the pork loin and the chicken bullion (and arguably healthier) to buy a whole chicken to roast (boil, whatever) and then use the bones to make homemade stock. The meat from the chicken would probably been 3 or 4 meals for 2 people (I know I usually get 2 for my family of 5). And sure, it's a little less convenient, but if it helps feed your family better why not make the effort? I work 2 jobs and still manage to provide whole food meals for my family. Of course, I don't watch tv or play on a computer much.
        Third, this budget doesn't have to limit your social life. Why wouldn't you partake of a cheese platter at a friends party? SNAP users can't eat at parties? And, having grown up in a low income community, there are a lot of community get-togethers (with food!) where everyone brings a little something. Maybe think about shifting the main focus from the food to the people.
      2. doug posted on 03/06/2014 10:37 PM
        I've lived off of $10 a week easily in the past. $33.98 is not difficult at all if you plan & buy things on sale & stick to fortified pastas and other value items
      3. james g posted on 03/22/2014 11:35 AM
        My name is James G from Monmouth County NJ. I am 47 years old and live with my 75 year old mom. We eat about the same amount of food each. I have been keeping track of what we buy and how much we pay, for food, since May 21, 2013. No onees poor for a week , really. So the food stamp challange makes no sense. You need to builkd up inventory as you go. Buying on sale, coupons, using the price plus card stores give you, know what a good proce is, etc... We are coming in at $3.83 each per day to eat.
        grocery shopping trips starting May 21, 2013
        may-------21, 28,
        june-------4, 12, 15, 16, 21, 25, 29, 30
        july--------6, 10, 17, 19, 22
        august---1, 3, 6, 7, 14, 16, 20, 22, 26, 27, 29
        sept-------1, 4, 11, 17, 18, 21, 24, 25, 29
        oct---------1, 7, 16, 21, 22, 26, 29
        nov--------5, 6, 13, 18, 27, 30
        dec--------6, 12, 16, 21, 24, 31
        jan---------7, 13, 20, 27
        feb---------2, 11, 17, 21, 24, 26, 28
        march----5, 7, 12, 14, 19, 22

        71 shopping trips - Starting May 21, 2013 - present

        The cost of food is $2369.97

        If we do not go shopping again until March 26, then May 21 through March 25 = 309 days

        $2369.97divided by 309 days, divided by 2 people , divided by 3 meals a day = $1.278 per meal per person (includes snacks and desserts)

        So $3.83 per person to eat per day (includes snacks and desserts).

        Take into account we have so much inventory , we could live on what we have for 323 days total from the start of list (May 21, 2013 through April 8, 2014)

        We have so much food in the house now, I do not see how a 47 year old man and 75 year old woman could eat it all.

        So, 323 days. Then $2369.97 divided by 323 days, divided by 2 people, divided by 3 meals a day = $1.22 per meal per person.

        Take a look at the total grocery list below and tell me

        1) Is it ok to eat what is on the list for nutrition?

        2) If you had to live on $1.22 per meal (3 meals a day including snacks and desserts) for 323 days,, would you be OK with the grocery list below?

        The average food stamp, SNAP, recipient in NJ gets $133 a month, but an individual can get up to $189 a month if a one person household.

        A household of 2 can get up to $347 a month

        At $1.22 per meal, one person can live on to eat in a 31 day month for $113.46 that is 3 meals a day plus snacks.and desserts.

        I can not believe a household of 2 people would complain being lowered to $347 a month, when me and my mom have been living on $227 a month since May 21, and have so much food we might over eat.


        combined list for the 71 grocery store visits below

        DAIRY
        eggs-- large grade A---- 384 eggs
        milk--- 25 half gallons
        butter - 24 pounds
        american cheese- 12 paks -12 ounces per pak
        american cheese - 2 paks - 9.6 ounces per pak
        shreaded cheddar cheese - 15 paks - 8 ounces per pak
        shreaded mozzarella cheese - 2 paks - 8 ounces per pak
        shreaded mozzarella cheese - 2 paks - 7 ounces per pak
        mozzarela cheese - 1 pound
        swiss cheese - deli - 2.99 pounds
        cream cheese - 10 paks - 8 ounces per pak
        cottage cheese - 11 containers - 1 pound per container
        cottage cheese - 1 container - 14 ounces per container
        sour cream - 1 container - 14 ounces per container
        ice cream - ben and jerrys - 5 pints
        ice cream - haaghen dazs - 14 ounces
        ice cream bars - klondike - 48 bars (8 paks of 6)

        MEAT
        chop beef - 80% lean - fresh - 30.75 pounds
        hot dogs - 96 hotdogs- fresh - 12 paks of 8, 14 ounces each pak
        london broil-- fresh - 6.40 pounds
        shell steak - fresh - 1.47 pounds
        t bone steaks - fresh - 2 steaks - 2.14 pounds total
        beef cubes - fresh - boneless - 2.87 pounds
        beef round roast -fresh - 4.07 pounds
        beef - seemed eye roast - fresh- 3.90 pounds
        spare ribs-pork---fresh - 14.69 pounds
        chicken thighs- fresh- 23.31 pounds
        chicken breast -fresh - boneless - 10.17 pounds
        chicken - 2 whole chickens - 22.423 pounds
        chicken breast - split with ribs - 4.24 pounds
        chicken - purdue oven ready roaster - 6 pounds
        ham steaks - 6 ham steaks - 8 ounces each
        ham - spiral - 6.98 pounds
        turkey breast - frozen- hotel style with wings - 8.03 pounds
        pork chops - fresh - 6.24 pounds
        italain sausage - 6.96 pounds
        corned beef brisket - 10.79 pounds
        polish kelbasi----- 2 paks ----16 ounces per pak
        polish kelbasi-----16 paks ---14 ounces per pak
        polish kielbasa---1 pak -------13.5 ounces per pak
        polish keilbsi------ 2 paks --- 13 ounces per pak
        kielbsi - fresh - 5.74 pounds
        bratwurst----- 14 ounces ( 6 links)
        sausage pattits - breakfast - fresh - 12 ounces
        sausage links - breakfast - fresh - 2 paks - 12 ounces per pak
        bacon -- 23 pounds
        chili- beef - 2 cans - 15 ounces per can
        fried chicken- prepared- 32 pieces

        FISH
        fish filets - breaded - cooked - frozen - 1 box of 6 - 11.4 ounces per box
        fish filets - breaded - cooked - frozen - 2 boxes of 4 each - 7.6 ounces ounces per box
        fish filets - grilled - frozen - 3 boxes - 2 filets per box - 7.1 ounces per box
        shrimp - cooked - frozen - (31-40 shrimps) - 40 ounces
        tuna fish - 40 cans- ---5 ounces per can
        sardines - 6 cans - 3.75 ounces per can
        sardines - 8 cans - 4.375 ounces per can
        fish sticks - frozen - 1 box - 30 fish sticks - 23 ounces per box
        coconut shrimp - frozen - 2 boxes - 18 ounces per box
        popcorn shrimp - frozen - 2 boxes - 18 ounces per box

        DELI MEATS
        salami ---------------- deli - 5.61 pounds
        liverwurst -------------deli - 0.585 pounds
        olive loaf ------------ deli - 1.545 pounds
        ham ------------------- deli - 2.135 pounds

        FRUIT
        water mellon-------pre cut, no rind- 2.86 pounds
        watermellon ------ whole watermellon 9 pounds
        watermellon ------ whole watermellon
        watermellon -------quater of a whole - 2.44 pounds
        watermellon -------quarter of a whole - 3.91 pounds
        cantelope - 1 cantelope
        pineapple-- 1 pineapple
        strawberries- ---- 6 containers - 16 ounces per container
        blueberrys - 5 pints
        blueberrys - 6 ounces
        peaches - 36 peaches
        plums ---- 31 plums
        necterines - 6 necterines
        apples - 6 pounds
        clementines - 26 pounds
        grapes - red - 7.61 pounds
        grapes - green - 1.83 pounds
        bananas - 6 bananas - 2.56 pounds
        fruit cocktail - 2 cans - 15 ounces per can
        prunes - sunsweet - 1 can - 18 ounces per can
        dole fruit bowls - 4 paks - 4 bowls per pak - 16 ounces per pak

        VEGETABLES
        lettuce - 7 heads
        romaine lettuce - 1 head - 1.88 pounds
        salad-- fresh express prepared romaine- 1 pak - ---9 ounces
        dole - romaine classic - 1 pak - 9 ounces per pak
        dole - romaine classic - 1 pak - 10 ounces per pak
        dole - field green salad - 1 pak - 8 ounces per pak
        dole iceberg salad - 1 bag - 12 ounces per bag
        corn on the cobb-----17 cobbs
        potatoes - 15 pounds
        potatos - red - 5 pounds
        yams - 3 pounds
        carrots - pre cut - 1 produce bag - 16 ounces
        celery- 5 produce paks - 1 pound per pak
        celery sticks - organic -1 pound
        peppers - green - 16 peppers
        peppers - red - 4 peppers - 2.26 pounds
        avacados - 13 avacados
        mushrooms - 54 ounces
        onions - white- 10 pounds
        onions - red - 2 pounds
        scallions - green onions- 5.5 ounces
        garlic---- 7 cloves
        baked beans-- 1 can - 28 ounces per can
        baked beans-- 1 can - 16 ounces per can
        tomatos-- large - 7
        tomatos - plum - 5
        tomatos on vine - 9 - 2.73 pounds
        tomatos - grape - 4 pints
        tomatos- del monte stewed- 2 cans -- 15.5 ounces per can
        tomatos- del monte stewed- 4 cans -- 14.5 ounces per can
        tomatos - crushed - 4 cans - 28 ounces per can
        cream corn - - 5 cans - 14.75 ounces per can
        green beans - 3 cans - 14.5 ounces per can
        sweet peas - 3 cans - 15 ounces per can
        parsely - 1 produce pak
        dill- 1 produce pak
        parsnips - 3 parsnips
        asparagus - 1.08 pounds
        cabbage - 3.42 pounds

        RICE
        rice mix - jumbyya - 4 boxes - 8 ounces per box
        rice mix - dirty ------- 3 boxes - 8 ounces per box

        BREAD
        white bread-----------------13 loafs - 20 ounces each
        white bread -----------------2 loafs --- 24 ounces each
        rye bread -------------------10 loafs - 1 pound each loaf
        rye bread ------------------- 4 loafs --- 14 ounces per loaf
        whole wheat bread ------ 2 loafs ----24 ounces each
        raisin cinnamon bread - 4 loafs ----16 ounces per loaf
        irish soda bread -----------2 loafs ---- 14 ounces per loaf
        italain bread --- fresh baked - 7 loafs
        kaiser rolls - 48 rolls
        miami onion rolls - 6 rolls - 8 ounces
        hotdog rolls - 64 rolls - 8 paks of 8
        hotdog rolls - 12 rolls - 1 pak of 12 - 18 ounces total
        hamburger rolls - 32 rolls - 4 paks of 8
        split top party rolls - 1 pak of 8 rolls - 14 ounces per pak
        bagels - 24 bagels - 4 paks of 6 - 20 ounces per pak
        bagles - bakery - fresh - 33 bagels
        english muffins - 2 paks of 6 --- 12 english muffins total - 12 ounces per pak
        english muffins - 4 paks of 12 -- 48 english muffins total ---24 ounces per pak
        pilsbury grands - biscuits - 6 paks - 16.3 ounces per pak

        FROZEN BREAD ITEMS
        waffles - aunt jemima- 100 waffles - 10 boxes of 10 each - 12.3 ounces per box
        waffels - foodtown ----- 60 waffles - 6 boxes of 10 each - 12.3 ounces per box
        waffles - blueberry ------20 waffles - 2 boxes of 10 each - 12.3 ounces per box
        texas toast - frozen- 108 slices - 18 boxes of 6 each - 8.46 ounce per box
        texas toast - 1 box - 8 slices - 11.25 ounces per box
        texas toast - 3 cheese - frozen - 3 boxes of 4 each - 12 slices total - 6.75 ounces per box
        cibatta rolls- frozen-- ( 6 half rolls) - 10 ounces

        CEREAL
        raisin bran cereal- 4 boxes -- 14.2 ounces per box
        raisin bran cereal - 1 box - 14.3 ounces per box
        raisin bran cereal- 2 boxes - 13.7 ounces per box
        fruitloops cereal - 5 boxes - 8.7 ounces per box
        fruitloops cereal - 1 box- 12.3 ounces per box
        frosted flakes - 1 box - 10.5 ounces per box

        PASTA
        elbow macaroni -- 6 boxes - 1 pound per box
        penne pasta - 2 boxes - 1 pound per box

        SIDES
        potato salad - deli - 7.5 pounds
        coleslaw - dole - 2 bags - 16 ounces per bag
        coleslaw - dole - 1 bag - 14 ounces per bag
        coleslaw - fresh express - 1 bag - 10 ounces per bag
        pickles-chips--- 3 jars -- 24 ounces per jar
        macaroni salad - deli - 2 pounds

        SOUP
        soup - romin noodle - 2 boxes - 8.82 ounces per box
        soup - wonaton - prepared - hot prepared- 2 containers - 14 ounces per container
        soup -cream of mushroom soup - 6 cans - 10.75 ounces per can
        soup - beef broth -campbels condensed - 1 can - 10.5 ounces per can
        soup - chicken noodle - prepared - 1 container - 20 ounces per container

        FROZEN :: MEALS AND SNACKS AND SIDES
        shrimp scampi and lugine - frozen meal - 2 bags - 24 ounces per bag
        chicken marsala and redskin potatos - frozen meal - 1 bag - 24 ounces per bag
        french bread pizza - 3 boxes of 2 each - 6 pieces total - 11.75 ounces per box
        french bread pizza - 2 boxes of 2 each - 4 pieces total- 10 3/8 ounces per box
        french bread pizza - 3 boxes of 2 each - 6 pieces total - 12 3/8 ounces per box
        pizza - 4 pizzas - totinos- 9.8 ounces per box
        pizza - 4 pizzas - momma celeste - check on size
        pizza rolls - 8 boxes of 15 each - 7.5 ounces per box
        white castels - 2 boxes of 6 hamburgers each - 9.5 ounces per box
        white castles - 1 box of 16 hamburgers - 25.28 ounces per box
        ravioli - 4 bags - 13 ounces per bag
        chicken pot pies- 3 pot pies - 16 ounces per pie
        mini chicken sandwhiches - 6 sandwhiches - 15 ounces total
        pierogies - potato and onion - 9 boxes -16 ounces per box
        french fries - 3 bags - 28 ounces per bag
        tater bits - 1 bag - 2 pounds per bag
        onion rings - 4 bags - 16 ounces per bag
        sweet potatos - candied - 3 boxes - 20 ounces per box
        pearl onions - 1 box - 9 ounces per box
        chicken nuggets - 1 bag - 25.5 ounces per bag
        chicken tenders - 2 bags - 26 ounces per bag
        chicken strips - 1 bag - 25 ounces per bag
        hungry man dinners - salsbury steak - 2 boxes - 16 ounces per box
        stouffers macaroni and cheese - 7 boxes - 12 ounces per box
        stouffers - chicken parmiginia - 2 boxes - 12 ounces per box
        stouffers - salsbury steak - 1 box - 9.625 ounces
        stouffers - green pepper steak - 1 box - 10.5 ounces per box
        stouffers - sweedish meatballs - 1 box - 11.5 ounces per box
        stouffers - meat lovers lasagna - 2 boxes - 10 ounces per box
        stouffers - stuffed peppers - 2 boxes - 10 ounces per box

        SNACKS
        tortilla chips --- 11 bags -- 13 ounces per bag
        potato chips----2 bags ---- 13.75 ounces per bag
        potato chips - 4 bags - 10 ounces per bag
        potato chips - 3 bag - 10.5 ounces per bag
        doritos - 2 bags - 11 ounces per bag
        cheese nips crackers- 2 boxes - 12 ounces per box
        cheeze it crackers - 2 boxes - 7 ounces per box
        ritz crackers - 3 boxes - 13.7 ounces per box
        triscut crackers - 2 boxes - 9 ounces per box
        pita crackers - town house - 1 box - 9.5 ounces per box
        crackers - sea salt and olive oil - 2 boxes - 9.5 ounces per box
        crackers - pita - 2 boxes - 9.5 ounces per box
        flat bread crisps - 1 box - 9.5 ounces per box
        saltine crackers - 1 box - 1 pound per box
        alomond nuts - blue diamond - assorted - 24 cans - 6 ounces per can
        pistacios - 2 bags - 8 ounces per bag
        pistacios - 2 bags - 1 pound per bag
        popcorn - microwaveable - 2 boxes of 3 paks each -9.6 ounces per box
        popcorn - microwaveable - 3 boxes of 3 paks each -8.25 ounces per box
        tic tacs - 1 container - 1 ounce
        milano cookies - 4 paks - 7.5 ounces per pak
        pecan sandies cookies - 3 bags - 11.3 ounces per bag

        DESSERTS
        jello - 1 pak of 4 - 13.5 ounces total
        cherry pie - 1 pie - 1.5 pounds
        cherry pie - frozen - 3 boxes - 3 pies - 27 ounces per box
        cocnut custard pie - frozen - 1 box - 1 pie - 27 ounces per box
        apple pie - frozen - 1 box - 1 pie - 27 ounces per box
        blueberry pie - frozen - 1 box - 1 pie - 27 ounces per box
        cheese danish - 8 ounces
        cheese danish - 15 ounces
        pepperidge farm layer cake - frozen - 2 cakes - 11.6 ounces each cake
        fudge iced golden cake - 1 cake- 18 ounces per cake
        mallamar cookies - 2 paks - 8 ounces per pak
        hershey snak candy - almond joy - 4 bags - 11.3 ounces per bag
        hersheys - snak size - 2 bags - 10.35 ounces per bag
        reeses peanut butter cups - 2 bags - 10.5 ounces per bag
        tiramisu - 5.84 ounces
        donuts - 1 box of 8 - 15 ounces
        raspberry danish twist - 1 box - 14 ounces
        raspberry danish twist -2 boxes - 15 ounces per box
        cherry cheese danish - 16 ounces
        louisiana crunch cake - 20 ounces
        apple puffs - 1 box of 6 apple puffs - 19 ounces per box
        walnut coffee ring - 13 ounces

        EXTRAS
        mayonaise---- 5 jars - 30 ounces per jar
        ketchup - 2 bottles - 38 ounces per bottle
        ketchup - 1 bottle - 20 ounces per bottle
        mustard - spicy brown - 2 bottles - 12 ounces per bottle
        mustard - kosciusko - 1 jar - 9 ounces per jar
        relish- 4 jars - -10 ounces per jar
        relish - 1 jar - 16 ounces per jar
        barbecue sauce---- 1 bottle - 17.3 ounces per bottle
        barbecue sauce- 2 bottles - 28 ounces per bottle
        barbecue sauce - 2 bottles- 18 ounces per bottle
        turkey gravy - 2 jars - 12 ounces per jar
        soy sauce------ 1 bottle - 10 ounces per bottle
        pancake syrup - 1 bottle - 27.6 ounces per bottle
        pancake syrup - 1 bottle - 24 ounces per bottle
        appricot preserves - 1 jar - 18 ounces per jar
        peach preserves - 1 jar - 12 ounces per jar

        scampi sauce -- campbells skillet - 2 paks - 9 ounces per pak
        marsala sauce - campbells skillet - 1 pak - 9 ounces per pak
        toasted seseme sauce - campbells skillet - 1 pak - 9 ounces per pak
        chinese style 5 spice plum sauce - 1 bottle - 11.8 ounces per bottle
        meat marinade - 3 paks - 1 ounce per pak

        saurkraut - 5 pounds
        horse raddish - 1 jar - 6 ounces per jar

        french salad dressing-- 2 bottles - 16 ounces per bottle
        french salad dressing-- 2 bottles - 8 ounces per bottle
        ranch salad dressing----1 bottle - 16 ounces per bottle
        raspberry and walnut salad dressing - 3 bottles - 16 ounces per bottle
        thousand island salad dressing - 2 bottles - 8 ounces per bottle

        tomato paste - 14 cans - 6 ounces per can
        tomato sauce - 2 cans - 8 ounces per cans
        pasta sauce - 4 jars - 24 ounces per jar

        french onion dip- 8 containers -12 ounces per container
        bacon ranch dip - 2 containers - 12 ounces per container
        salsa - peach mango - 4 containers -- 14 ounces per container
        gucamole dip - 2 containers - 8 ounces per container
        gucamole mix - 6 paks - 1 ounce per pak

        sugar- 4 pounds
        black pepper - 4 ounces
        vinegar - 1 gallon
        wesson oil - 1 bottle - 64 ounces per bottle
        lemon juice - 2 lemon shaped containers - 2.5 ounces each
        parmeseasn cheese - 1 jar - 3 ounces per jar

        crutons- ny texas toast- 6 bags - 5 ounces per bag
        crutons - cheese garlic - 1 bag - 5 ounces per bag
        crutons - 3 bags - 5 ounces per bag
        bread crumbs - 1 can - 16 ounces per can
        bread crumbs - 1 can - 15 ounces per can
        bread crumbs - 2 boxes - 4 ounces per box

        onion soup and dip mix - 1 box - 2 paks per box - 2 ounces per box
        taco seasoning - 1 pak - 1.5 ounces per pak
        taco seasoning - 2 paks - 1 ounce per pak
        taco dinner kit - 2 boxes - 12 shells, 2 seasonings per box - 10 ounces per box
        taco dinner kit - 4 boxes - 10 shells and 1 mix per box - 8.8 ounces per box

        stove top stuffing - 10 boxes - 6 ounces per box

        chicken broth - college inn - 1 pak - 48 ounces per pak
        beef broth - 1 can - 14.5 ounces per can

        pickled beats and onions - 16 ounces

        cranberry sauce - jellied - 1 can - 14 ounces per can

        SODA
        coke- zero------------288---- 12 ounce cans
        coke----- --------------204- --- 12 ounce cans
        sunkist soda --------72 ---- 12 ounce cans
        rootbeer----------------60------12 ounce cans
        7 up---------------------48------12 ounce cans
        dr pepper -------------72------12 ounce cans
        sprite ------------------12-------12 ounce cans
        uprite soda - ---------3-------12 ounce cans
        black cherry soda -3--------12 ounce cans
        coke- --------2 bottles ----1.25 liters per bottle
        dr pepper --2 bottles -----1.25 liters per bottle

        JUICE
        orange juice- -----------------------------28 bottles ------59 ounces each
        juice drink - dole peach-mango----- 2 bottles ----- 59 ounces each
        pomegranite blueberry juice -------- 2 bottles-------59 ounce each
        cranberry pomegranite juice -------- 6 bottles------ 64 ounces each
        cranberry juice --------------------------- 6 bottles-------64 ounces each
        cranberry juice --------------------------- 4 bottles-------60 ounces each
        hawaiian punch - orange- 1 gallon
        apple cider - 2 bottles - 64 ounces per bottle
        V8 juice - 2 bottles - 46 ounces per bottle

        WATER
        water- bottled --- 168 bottles -- 16.9 ounce bottles
        vitamin water ------------ 6 bottles - ---16.9 ounce bottles

        COFFEE AND ICE TEA
        coffee--- 14 cans --- 11.3 ounce cans
        ice tea mix - 74.1 ounce can - makes 28 quarts
        ice tea - lipton - 36 bottles - 16.9 ounces per bottle
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