Here are some questions to help you and your youth reflect on what you have learned:
1. What would you do differently if you were doing this again?
Answers will vary; some youth will talk about ideas they got from other groups or other economical food items they might have bought.
2. How is this activity different from actually being a poor person trying to get by on a highly limited food budget?
This is an important question; let the youth share all their ideas. Points that should be made include:
- This activity was just one meal; poor people don’t go back to a home with a well stocked refrigerator.
- We had access to a good grocery store; some poor people may have access only to stores with higher prices and less variety.
- We had access to a good kitchen with water an utilities provided; we didn’t have to worry about how to pay for any of that.
- We easily got to the store in cars provided by volunteers; the poor have to figure out how to get to the store and back, including paying for gasoline or bus fare.
- We walked in wearing clean clothes and accepted as good customers; poor or especially homeless people might not have been accepted in the same way.
3. What are the hardest things to buy?
Youth will notice that fresh produce, dairy and meat products are often out of reach. On a budget this limited, processed foods and relatively empty calories make up a large share of the diet.
4. How would this have been different if we had pooled all our money instead of shopping by team?
Youth will probably see how some nutritious items, such as a dozen eggs or more economical larger packages, would be within reach for a larger group.
5. What can we do to fight hunger in our area and the world?
Many ideas are possible here, including supporting local food pantries and international relief efforts. At some point during the evening, you should impress the seriousness of world hunger on the youth: On average, more than three thousand children will die of hunger during the three hours of a Hunger Scrounge event. Check here for more resources.
Here are some of the things we learned in implementing a hunger scrounge:
2. It is important to get the per-person budget set right: low enough to require resourcefulness, but not so low that there is little decision-making to do. In our area, 35 cents per person worked well.
To calibrate this for your area, try this: Add up the cost of the smallest bag of rice you can buy at the store plus the cost of a standard 16 oz. can of beans, then divide by three. Example: rice at 53 cents + beans at 52 cents = $1.05, divided by 3 equals 35 cents.
Of course, your youth will fan out and find different items; do not tell them to buy rice and beans, but instead let them discover on their own what they can afford.
3. Judging may be as formal or informal as you like it, but we believe the competition is an important motivator for youth. You may choose to add up calories or protein grams or both for the final meals; if you’re planning to do that, be sure to have your youth save the food packaging.
4. A Hunger Scrounge trophy made of recycled materials can be a big motivator.