I don't know exactly how much we could get. I know it is based on the thrifty budget here http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/USDAFoodCost-Home.htm but then I think they expect you to spend some of your own money, like 30% I think I read, so you end up getting like 30% less than thrifty or??? Either way the thrifty budget comes out to $945.36 for our sized family and I think we could exist on that but that is all we'd be doing. We have tons of food intolerances to deal with here, so that is a factor, but given the amount of food the avg. person eats - 3 to 5 lbs. - and we'll go with the lower end since I suspect many Americans over eat plus we have kids too, so 3lbs. per day per person is 24lbs. a food needed per day or 720lbs. per month, which gives us about $1.31 per lb. of food to spend, not excluding sales tax which can really add up. Which means either less food overall or lots of the same thing - beans, rice, bananas, milk, eggs maybe, potatoes, celery, carrots, that kinds of stuff. No room in there for getting stuff to season the food with really.
So those numbers don't take into account the fact that how much you get changes by how much you make I believe or the fact that grocery costs are different all over.
And so many ideas on cutting costs are just totally unfeasible for families in poverty. (If I hear the idea that you can save money going to farmer's markets one more time... . I guess it may be true somewhere. Around here they are 2 to 4 times more, which is fine because the farmer's deserve a living wage, but I can't afford it.)
It is really easy to say eat more beans and rice, because yes they are cheap and yes you can survive on them but for so many adults this type of diet makes us really sluggish, slowing down productivity, and it can contribute to obesity.
Okay first, but I'd like to explain how SNAP works.
They take your income, which has deductions. I can't remember what counts, but certain bills are taken out of your income that they use to determine your allowance, Then they take that number, say you make $900 a month, take 30% of it ($270) and deduct it from your maximum allowance (say for a family of 4, using Texas's numbers because that's where I am and what I know) $668. So your benefits would be $398 a month.
And fruitfulmomma, I'm so with you. The farmers market here is all organic, free range, grass fed, etc etc and it's expensive. Not to mention an hour away, gas would exceed any savings I could find. And we hate beans! We just won't eat them. So we have to ration food. Especially since we're living on about $200 a month until our SNAP kicks in. We get food from family too, but we only really eat once a day and then some biscuits if I've made some in the last couple days. ugh /vent over
ETA: I agree, the 'challenge' is very annoying. If you're trying to reduce your spending on food and budget, okay great, but everytime I've seen the challenge it's been...to see how lucky you have it? And how sucky those that have to be on it have it? Idk, whatever, I'm a sour puss about it. I feel made fun of. I also have sour feelings because like 75% of my friends and family would love to see SNAP and other assistance go out the window and I'm SO grateful that we will be getting it soon, I'm SO grateful my daughter has insurance. We're working to get out of this rut, but for now, I'm so grateful to have help.