Friday, February 15, 2008

WNAB: The Hollemans

Wednesday, Feb. 13, Belmont member Margaret Holleman spoke to us about how she and her husband--Metro Councilman Jason Holleman--took the food stamp challenge last fall and lived on $21 each for a week. She shared several lessons learned during their week:

-The Hollemans did not do business lunches or special receptions during their week, recognizing that people who get food stamps are in an income bracket that typically does not afford them the luxury of free big meals as a result of business or social gatherings.

-The Kroger in Bordeaux has the most utilization of food stamps in the Nashville area

-The only seasonings they used on their foods that week were salt and ketchup--something anyone could just get from a local fast food restaurant.

-Their fruit and vegetable intake was slim. Apples and carrots were the most expensive of their grocery purchases. Margaret said she sliced the carrots into tiny pieces so that they would last longer.

-Jason carried a pocket calculator as they shopped so that he could add as they shopped to be sure they don't go over the alloted amount.

-Margaret found that they were very hungry for the first two days but adjusted as the week progressed.

-Margaret really missed drinking coffee and may have "cheated" once or twice for a cup of joe.

-They purchased potatoes on a great sale, but the potatoes began molding in just a few days. Sales may not necessarily be a great deal for people on food stamps.

Holleman Family Shopping List
$42 for two adults

Rice, 2 lbs.
Potatoes, 10 lbs.
Dried red beans, 1 lb.
Diced tomatoes, 2 cans
Tuna fish (chunk light), 4 cans
Carrots, w/ tops, 1 lb.
Apples, red delicious, 2 lbs.
Milk, 2%, 1 gallon
Cheese, sharp cheddar, 1 lb.
Eggs, medium, 1 doz.
Spinach, leaf, frozen, 1 lb.
Chicken, 1 whole, 3 lbs.
Ground beef, lean, 1 lb. (Manager’s Special!)
Spaghetti, 1 lb.
Macaroni, 1 lb.
Spaghetti sauce, one can
Onion, one
Peanut butter, 1 jar
Wheat bread, 1 loaf
Honey, 1 jar
Oatmeal, 1 lb size
Ramen noodles, 2 packages

Holleman Dinner Options
Red beans and rice
Ingredients used: some of dried beans, some of the rice, 1 can tomatoes

Ingredients used: spaghetti, sauce

Roast chicken and potatoes
Ingredients used: Chicken, onion, potatoes

Macaroni and cheese
Ingredients used: macaroni, cheese, milk, eggs

Crustless quiche
Ingredients used: Onion, spinach, cheese, milk, eggs

Ingredients used: potatoes, onion

Shepherd’s pie
Ingredients used: ground beef, dried beans, potatoes, cheese, 1 can tomatoes, spinach

Lunches & Breakfasts
They each had oatmeal (made with combination of milk and water) almost every day, ate peanut butter and honey sandwiches, cut up carrots and apples, tuna, and leftovers.

At the end of the week, the Hollemans had the following items leftover:
- some spaghetti and macaroni
- potatoes
- rice
- honey
- peanut butter
- eggs
- Ramen, both packages

*Photograph courtesy of

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