DALLAS - Rev. Andrew Stoker's meals of late have been about as humbling as any sermon he might preach at Sunday service.

Sunday, he implored his congregation at First United Methodist Church in downtown Dallas to join him and his family in taking part of the North Texas Food Bank's SNAP Challenge.

SNAP, which stands for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the federal food assistance program. In August, nearly 380,000 people the majority of which were children received benefits in Dallas County that provided a total of about $4.50 to cover all three daily meals.

With careful planning, Stoker found it could be accomplished, but noticed a rumbling in his stomach.

'I was quite hungry today,' he said. 'I think because I didn't have my afternoon snack.'

When talking with his family at the dinner table, he got a surprising answer when he asked one of his young sons how he felt after one day of the challenge.

'I'm feeling worried about how I'm going to survive through this,' his son answered.

Stoker believes if more people experienced a day living on SNAP assistance there would likely be more private donations to pick up where public money leaves off.

'Part of giving is somehow enacting that empathetic part of ourselves,' he said. 'What is it that tugs our heart?'

After just day one of a week-long challenge, Stoker said he felt the pain of hunger in his heart and certainly in his stomach.

'The beauty is it ends after a week,' he said. 'The sad reality is for a lot of our folks it doesn't end after a week.'

Through its community outreach program, First United Methodist Church of Dallas is encouraging others to take the SNAP Challenge and to donate to help end hunger. For more information, click here.

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