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Volunteers take on food challenge

By Julie Wurth/The News-Gazette URBANA — They can give up meat, they can give up snacks, but Lord help them if you take away their coffee.

Volunteers taking part in a challenge to eat on a food stamp budget for a week are finding the hardest part may be giving up their morning caffeine.

Brenda Koester didn’t even try.

“I’m doing a cheater’s version,” Koester, coordinator of the University of Illinois Family Resiliency Center, said Monday morning, the second day of her challenge. She is simply not counting her daily cup of Strawberry Fields coffee.

The News-Gazette/Jim Hires, left, Exec. Director and Cheryl Precious, director of

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