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$1.48 a Meal: Eating on a SNAP Budget

By Suzanne Cullinane
The GardenWorks Project Board Member, Director of Development


I had often heard of celebrities participating in “the food stamp challenge” and wondered if I would be able to sustain my household on a food stamp recipient’s budget. Would I, someone who views going out for dinner as a competitive sport, really be able to survive on $250.00 a month for all food? Full disclosure - I spend close to that on just a week’s groceries!

While I realize that simulating one aspect of a financially insecure person’s life does not really provide adequate insight into their daily struggles, I do think there is some value in attempting to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” – even if it’s only one facet of their life. So, armed with this notion, I set off to see if I could in fact live for one month on the typical food stamp budget. Here is my story…

 

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New Director Joins Board of The Gardenworks Project

Wheaton, IL (June 18, 2015) -- The GardenWorks Project, an area 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to reduce hunger in DuPage County by providing families in need the resources to grow food at home, recently appointed a new member to serve on their governing board of directors.

 

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Maria's Story

Written by Elizabeth Hoffman

Maria was actively working with the Bridge Communities to continue her education and find opportunities to better herself when Bridge connected her with The GardenWorks Project in 2014. Maria knew she would love to have her own garden as soon as she heard about our program.

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So, What Happened at the Spring Kickoff Volunteer Meeting?

We know many of you were not able to make it to our Spring Kickoff Volunteer Meeting on April 14, so we will give you a recap.

First of all, we were thrilled that 60 people attended! It was great to see our returning volunteers and new faces! We are very thankful that our mission of building home vegetable gardens for families in need of food pantry assistance is one that resonates with you, and that you wanted to get involved and get your hands dirty!

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More than Vegetables

The GardenWorks Project thanks Cindy Crosby, author, Master Gardener, and instructor at the Morton Arboretum, for her thoughtful submission to our blog. To read more of Cindy's work, visit her blog, Tuesdays in the Tallgrass. You can also hear Cindy's presentation on composting at our Spring Kickoff Volunteer Meeting on April 14.

When I was eight, I took piano lessons with my younger sister at the private home of Mrs. Hart. While my sister tortured the keys trying to play “My Little Birch Canoe” I waited in an overstuffed chair in Mrs. Hart’s living room, restlessly leafing through her magazines. One of those magazines was the Burpee Seed Catalog.

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What do GardenWorks Project Clients Receive?

The mission of The GardenWorks Project is to reduce food insecurity in Chicago’s west suburbs by providing families in need of food assistance with home vegetable gardens and educational resources. To accomplish this, we provide our client families (all clients of our local food pantries) with home vegetable gardens and educational resources. We give our clients everything they need to become successful home gardeners including tangibles like gardening supplies, and intangibles like coaching and opportunities to attend gardening classes. Thanks to our generous donors and corporate sponsors, the 40 DuPage families who sign on to become new gardeners will receive:

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How Disney's Little Einsteins Influenced The GardenWorks Project

Sometimes, inspiration comes to us in strange ways. And back in 2011, when I was formalizing the idea of The GardenWorks Project, inspiration came in the form of a toddler cartoon. My daughter, Averie, was just three years old, and was obsessed with Disney’s Little Einsteins. I loved the show too, not only because the characters were so darn cute, but because it teaches kids the basics of music.

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Creating Compassionate Kids

When my husband and I started The GardenWorks Project, our kids were two and four years old. While their concerns mainly focused on their next snack and the next episode of Curious George, I, like other parents, worried about molding them into responsible citizens of the world. I wanted to expose them to the concepts of focusing on others and giving to those less fortunate. I researched a few volunteer opportunities in my community, but either they did not allow children, or they were more appropriate for older kids.

 

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10 Biggest Accomplishments of 2014

Tina Koral, Founder and Executive Director of The GardenWorks Project, lists her ten favorite 2014 accomplishments for the organization below.

 

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eNewsletter December 2, 2014

GIVING TUESDAY

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, giving us a chance to think of others and give to nonprofits that make a difference in our community. The GardenWorks Project has been providing food-insecure families with all of the resources they need to grow organic produce at home since 2012, and we have big plans for next year. But we need your help to make it happen. Please donate and help us continue to support these families, who are both in need of food assistance and have a strong desire to learn how to grow food at home.

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Cooking with Swiss Chard

Swiss chard may be new to you, and growing it in your garden is a great way to get to know this very nutritious food. It is full of vitamins A and C and protein, and is a super nutritious alternative to spinach, kale, and collards. It is best cooked, added to casseroles, pasta, and quiche or sautéed with onions and garlic. Here are some recipes for cooking the good-for-you green, Swiss chard.

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In the Community Garden, it's All About the Soil

In DuPage County, interest in community gardens is strong. Many individuals, churches, municipalities and park districts wish to start community gardens to help their community gain access to fresh produce.

Increasing the health of the soil in your community garden will increase produce yields. When developing the plan for your community garden, include strategies for improving soil health.

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