Participant bio – Allison Dunnet, David Holzer and Gus Holzer

Names: Allison Dunnet, David Holzer and Gus Holzer

Live: Kitsilano

About ourselves: We are a family of three – mom, dad and two year old son who enjoy cooking meals and entertaining friends, playing with train sets and spending weekends at the park/playground. I work as an urban planner, David works for a private company, and two and a half year old Gus plays at daycare.

Why we are taking the Challenge: After much debating between my husband and I about whether we could do this. Excuses: How would we feed picky Gus whose current diet is protein heavy (loves sausage and cheese) and filled with pricey veggies and fruits (avocado and strawberries)? Should I be trying to do this given that I am 22 weeks pregnant? Will we have time for this between work and parenting? But then so many people on welfare are kids and pregnant moms that the reasons why we couldn’t do this just seemed small. Ultimately we decided that the point for our family was to ATTEMPT to eat on $26 a week/person ($78 for our family) and document where it was hard or unachievable. We agreed that we would make sure both Gus and I were fed and weren’t hungry and if and when we ran out of food we would consider the challenge completed.

I grew up in a low-income family and food insecurity is something I experienced first hand as a child. I remember opening cupboards to find little to eat. Standing at the checkout counter and watching my mom have to put back things we needed until the tally matched the dollars in her wallet. I remember the shameful, scary and alienating feeling of not having the basics while surrounded by so much plenty.

I’ve had the good fortune in the last 20 plus years to be able to provide for myself and now for my family. It is still something that fills me with a great sense of joy and security that I can buy what I need, when I need it to feed myself and my family. I wanted us to take part in this challenge so we could remind ourselves of how so many people in our community are forced to try and get by on a welfare amount that is completely inadequate. We hope that by sharing this experience with friends and co-workers we can encourage them to appreciate their good fortune and feel more compassion for those who most need our support.

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