This year I’m participating in the Welfare Food Challenge. For one week, October 16-22, I will eat only what I can buy with $18.
Why $18? This is the amount that Raise the Rates has calculated to remain after a person on welfare has covered their basic monthly expenses.
The purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness of the inadequacy of the current welfare system to support the health of people who need it. With rising costs of single-room occupancy housing, the amount available to spend on food has dropped by $3 from $21 last year. Combine the low amount with the rising cost of food in the city, and it’s just not possible to meet one’s nutritional requirements. To top it off, the people who require social assistance tend to already experience poor health and this have greater nutritional needs.
For more information on the challenge, please visit https://welfarefoodchallenge.org.
To raise awareness of the need to increase base welfare rates, along with 2 fellow SVNH staff and 3 other Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks colleagues I will be blogging about my experiences through the week.
Unfortunately I have been sick for the past few days, and so I’m starting the challenge already feeling tired and drained. But the people who live on $18 for food week to week don’t have optimal health, and don’t have the chance after one week to regain their energy.
To compensate for my low energy I will do my shopping in split purchases, because I couldn’t travel around to different locations as I had planned. That said, I did want to put aside about $4 to spend on fresh produce partway through the week anyway.
It’s going to be a tough week, but I look forward to sharing my experience with you, and hope I can spread the message that we need to do better to improve the health of our societies most vulnerable members!
Laura – SVNH Community Food Programmer
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