Welfare Food Challenge – An Appetite for Change

The Welfare Food Challenge just ended.  I was one of many who took the Challenge and spent $26 on food for the week, which represents what people may have left after they spend their $610 monthly income assistance on other necessities.

For many participants, the initial grocery shopping trip provoked feelings of panic and anxiety when they quickly realized how few foods would fit into their budget. Other side effects included

Social isolation – Meals with family and friends or meetings at the coffee shop were not an option. Trying to guard limited food doesn’t help build or maintain relationships with friends and family.

Emotional changes – Irritability, inability to concentrate and depressed moods were common emotions.

Loss of the ability to make choices based on your values – When making a choice between hunger or respecting values around food, e.g. nutritious, organic, fair trade, fair prices for farmers, etc., personal values often lost out.

Poverty is one of the biggest social determinants of health. Watch the Population Health video at . You may be surprised how quickly people can fall into poverty with a series of unfortunate events.

Given that almost one in 12 people in BC are food insecure, consider asking your clients: “Do you ever worry about having enough food to feed yourself or your family?” before offering suggestions to improve their health.

Visit www.welfarefoodchallenge.org  for ideas to “Take Action” if you have an appetite for change. You can also read participants’ stories in the “Blog” section.

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