Healthy Eating for Everyone

Team members: Margaret Tian, Tony Zeng, Kimberly Yu

Slides located here.

Many people in the US rely on food assistance programs (ex: SNAP) to meet their day to day needs – over half a million people are on SNAP in Massachusetts alone. SNAP recipients are given roughly $1.50 to spend on each meal, which means they often forego more expensive fresh produce. Programs such as Project Bread bridge the hunger gap by providing healthy, inexpensive food for people who are otherwise unable to afford it. We want to tell this story to raise awareness and support for Project Bread and related programs. Our audience is MIT students, most of whom are on the meal plan and are not usually aware of how privileged we are. We hope to display our slides on screens located in dorms with dining halls to catch students’ attention while they wait for eat. Our goals are to raise awareness about food insecurity and encourage MIT students to engage in activities that help end hunger in our local community such as participating in the Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger on May 7th, donating to Project Bread, and minimizing food waste when eating in MIT dining halls.

We used the Food for Free data source as well as Project Bread’s website to gather data about food insecurity in Massachusetts and Project Bread’s impact. To get an idea of what a typical meal for people on SNAP would be, we used a blog post written by a graduate student at Johns Hopkins who participated in the SNAP challenge. Ideally, we would gather more robust data on SNAP recipients’ diets. We couldn’t find data on how much Project Bread cost for one person, so we estimated it to be the same cost as providing SNAP (~$1.50/meal). 

By comparing a SNAP meal with a typical MIT dining meal, we hope to bring a more personal aspect to our message. Many MIT students are dissatisfied with dining, but by comparing the food content, amount, and cost, we clearly show how lucky we are and emphasize how important it is for people struggling with food insecurity to have easy access to healthy food. This emphasis is iterated through a quote from Project Bread about healthy food being a right that everyone should have access to. To put things into perspective, we also include a slide that gives context to the impact we can have. Finally, we end with a slide that calls MIT students to action and encourages them to join Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger on May 7th. The entire slideshow would be automated and play quickly enough that students in dining line would see the entire message.