Plain Money ideas

The Plainmoney Hunger Scrounge

The Hunger Scrounge is a youth activity designed to help us identify with people who do not have enough money to afford as much food as they would like. It tests the resourcefulness of the participating youth as they attempt to shop and cook on a highly limited budget.

This version of the Hunger Scrounge was originated at the Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren, Bridgewater, Virginia, in 2007. However, we do not claim originality, as this exercise was inspired by a larger Brethren Volunteer Service activity and we assume that other churches and organizations have done similar activities.

Church groups will want to include prayer and a blessing for the meal. We believe this activity could be adapted to raise awareness of hunger in non-church groups also, however.

Here are the rules of the Hunger Scrounge:

(Typical timeframe is 4 p.m.-7 p.m.)

1. Youth and advisers will meet and, depending on the numbers of youth, they will either pick their own teams or will be assigned to teams.

2. Each participating youth member brings 35 cents. (Change will be available.) Teams will pool their money for shopping. As you shop, remember that you must pay for the food and sales tax within the 35 cent per person limit.

3. After briefing and team assignments, we will carpool over to the grocery store, leaving about 4:30 p.m. Teams will have about 30 minutes to shop and pay for their items. Use a shopping handbasket and not a cart; this will help you navigate the aisles and, if you wish, keep other teams from getting ideas from your purchases.

4. In the store, youth teams must show respect to other shoppers and store management. This includes not taking apart any packaged foods that are not labeled for individual resale (for example, individual cups in a carton of applesauce).

5. Each team will turn in a receipt showing items purchased. There are penalties for exceeding the 35-cent limit per team member. Teams may share items with other teams, but must agree in advance how many cents of each purchase price will be claimed by each team.

6. Teams will have until about 6 p.m. to cook their meals. During cooking, the youth advisers will circulate and observe teams to aid with determining of winners.

7. Teams may use salt, pepper, water and cooking utensils from the church kitchen. Teams may also use no-stick cooking spray and olive oil that will be provided. No other food items from the kitchen may be used. No snacking on kitchen items is permitted.

8. After we eat, prepared food that has not been served may also be shared at that time. Winners, as determined by the judges, will be announced. To close the activity, we will have a sharing time in which people talk about their experience and what they learned.

9. Although youth advisers are eligible to purchase and cook a 35-cent per person meal, they are not eligible for any of the prizes.