I am participating in the 2016 Welfare Food Challenge with my partner, Kevin. Starting today we will have to eat only what we can purchase with $18 per week per person, the amount a welfare recipient in BC receives for food.
We haven’t even had our first meal for the week but already I can tell you that $18 is not enough. It is not enough to eat a nutritionally balanced diet without suffering from hunger or starvation.
I have given this challenge a lot of thought – going back and forth between whether I should eat a balanced diet but be very hungry, or to focus on quantity rather than quality. I decided to go for the latter, and I’m pretty sure it’s a decision that most welfare recipients are forced to make as well.
Because there is no allotted budget for transit on welfare, the organizers encourage you to shop at stores within walking distance. After doing some serious meal planning and budgeting, I went to No Frills and Save On Foods yesterday and bought what we needed for the week.
2 ADULTS, 7 DAYS, $36… WHAT WE PURCHASED
- peanut butter $3.49
- coffee beans $3.30 (not pictured)
- vanilla yogurt $3.29 (not pictured)
- eggs $2.67
- chicken broth $1.97
- whole wheat bread $1.79
- margarine $1.69
- white kidney beans $1.58
- perogies $1.50
- butternut squash $1.48
- crushed tomatoes $1.39
- macaroni $1.27
- bananas $1.09
- frozen spinach $0.97
- onions $0.82
- mushrooms $0.81
- black beans $0.79
- red lentils $0.76
- tomato sauce $0.77
- oats $0.65
- instant noodles $0.58
- chili powder $0.51
- red potato $0.34
- curry powder $0.20
- salt $0.10
TOTAL = $33.81
We still have $2.19 remaining that we’ll wait and see what we feel like buying later in the week…will keep you posted 😉
I know you’re probably looking at that list thinking seriously Elise your #2 most expensive item is coffee?!? I do have guilt about it, but let me explain why we chose to include coffee. Every [regular] morning I make a delicious Nespresso latte at home before I go to work, this costs me $1.05 per day. So to avoid withdrawal headaches and because we could buy coffee beans in bulk to get only as much as we needed, we made the decision to budget what we could to ‘treat’ ourselves to a 6oz brewed coffee each morning for a cost of $0.23 per day. I’ll let you know if I regret this decision later in the week.
Over 35,000 kids and many thousands of pregnant women in BC rely on welfare – times when nutrition is critical to growth and development. These children will inevitably struggle with malnutrition by living on welfare. I hope by participating in the Welfare Food Challenge that I am able to help spread awareness, advocate for raising the rates and better appreciate the struggles many families go through living with food insecurity.
How you can help support the Welfare Food Challenge
- Help spread awareness by talking to your family and friends about it
- Share, like, comment or retweet posts on social media with #WelfareFoodChallenge
- Learn more about it and consider participating next year
- Sign the petition to Raise the Rates
- Follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to see what happens through the week