Elk River mayor, wife take ‘Hunger Challenge’

Click here to read more about The Hunger Challenge.

Click here to read about Otsego Mayor Jessica Stockamp’s Hunger Challenge.

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

Armed with a shopping list and a weekly budget of $54.70, John and Jayne Dietz hit Coborn’s in Elk River late Friday afternoon.

Jayne and John Dietz shopped at Coborn's in Elk River on Friday as part of The Hunger Challenge.

They were doing their grocery shopping for a week as part of The Hunger Challenge, in which they agreed to live on a food support budget for a week. The budget is $27.35 per person per week, which amounts to $3.91 a day.

John Dietz, who is mayor of Elk River, is doing the challenge along with Otsego Mayor Jessica Stockamp, Zimmerman Mayor Dave Earenfight and others. The challenge runs from March 4-11 and brings awareness to hunger during the annual March campaign to restock local food shelves, including CAER in Elk River and CROSS in Rogers.

“It’s a very worthwhile event to make people aware of what some people have to spend for food,” Dietz said.

He and his wife spent about 45 minutes in Coborn’s during their Hunger Challenge shopping on Friday. They shopped carefully, often buying cheaper store brands and sale items and scoring a few unexpected bargains like Cheeseburger Hamburger Helper, which was on sale for 50 cents a box.

The only types of meat they bought were three cans of tuna and a pound of hamburger.

When they checked out, Dietz said he was amazed to see the total was $35.77, well under their weekly budget for two people of $54.70.

“But this is going to be a big challenge,” Dietz added, “because I like to eat.”

Jayne Dietz brought along a meal plan for the week and a shopping list.

Since they came in under the $54.70 they can spend on groceries, they have the option of returning to the store during the week to buy some more food. He said on Monday that they went back to buy a half pound of sliced turkey and a half pound of sliced ham.

Jayne Dietz has planned three meals a day for the week. The meals include basic fare like chili, crackers and milk; Hamburger Helper, peas, toast and pudding; and tomato soup, sandwiches with peanut butter and Jello.