ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA) -- What is the weekly food budget for your family? $100? $200?
Could you survive on a quarter of that?
For a lot of people in our region, there's no choice. SNAP, the federal food program that used to be called food stamps, provides an average daily benefit per personof about $4.28.
And across the country about 20 million children are surviving on that. Even in prosperous Montgomery County, about one in three school children are on SNAP.
Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin is leading 'SNAP the Silence Challenge.' Hundreds of people are voluntarily trying to shop for food for five days on five dollars a day.
"Going to eat a lot of beans this week," says Judith Clark, as she shops at the Giant supermarket on Hungerford Dr in Rockville.
More than 65,000 people in the county have no choice. Men, women and children surviving on five bucks a day, because that's all they get from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
"I'll get tuna, I'll get some bread, I'll get the beefaroni and I'm going to get some frozen vegetables," a shopper said.
You could just get Ramen noodles, a serving runs about 11 cents but they are terrible for you. They have about 40 percent of your daily allowance of fat in every serving.
"The bigger challenge is nutrition," says one shopper. "What can I get that's healthy for $5 a day?"
The SNAP program has surged since the Great Recession.The number of Americans getting help has doubled in the last four years and some conservatives have suggested it's out of control.
But many of the SNAP challenge volunteers foundthe shoppingreally hard, having to put stuff back to come in within budget.
"I'm going to go home and figure out how to eat off that for a week," said Ervin, looking at her nearly empty cart.
Of course, this is even tougher in our region, which has much higher food prices than much of the rest of the country.
You can take the 'Snap the Silence Challenge' if you want. Then everyone is going to get together at the Civic Building in Silver Spring at 6p.m. on Friday to talk about how they managed.