The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) encourages families and individuals across the country to take the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge Nov. 17-23. Participants in the challenge pledge to use the average food stamp benefit — which varies by state — as their total budget for groceries for seven days. 

The SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge gives participants a view of what life can be like for millions of low-income Americans. Challenge participants find they are forced to make difficult food shopping choices and often realize how difficult it is to avoid hunger and afford nutritious foods.

PC(USA) leaders — including the Rev. Neal Presa, moderator of the 220th General Assembly; the Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly; and Elder Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency — have committed to taking the challenge.

“While living on a food stamp budget for just a week cannot come close to the struggles encountered by low-income families week after week and month after month, it does provide those who take the challenge with a new perspective and greater understanding,” Presa said. “By joining in the SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge and consciously living within these allowances together, we pray that awareness is raised, consciences are aroused and actions are taken so that all people have access to their basic needs.”

As households across the country continue to face economic struggles, food stamps serve as a critical resource. Eligibility is based on income and assets depending on household size. In addition to helping families make ends meet, food stamps also give back to a state’s economy. For every $5 in food stamps that are used in grocery stores or at local farmers’ markets, close to $10 is generated in local economic activity.

Those interested in participating in the PC(USA) SNAP/Food Stamp Challenge can register online at

The PC(USA) will also be documenting experiences on Facebook and Twitter.