Tara-lee Gardner, Prep for the Challenge

2014 Welfare Food Challenge

Starting this Thusrday I am taking the 2014 Welfare Food Challenge. This challenge only allows me $21 to spend on food for one week. It runs from Thursday October 16th to Wednesday October 22nd. I have been trying to figure out what I’m going to spend that money on and it’s been hard. Really really hard. I’m always on the look out for good deals when I’m at the store so I looked through my receipts trying to choose the necessities I’d need and nothing worked. All the food I buy on a regular basis is just way to expensive. I mean I have never felt like I spend too much on groceries, when I shop I usually stock up on sale items and I love coupons but $21 seems almost impossible! Tomorrow I’ll be going grocery shopping and I’m not sure where to go. I’ve heard Sunrise Market in Chinatown has some really great deals so I’m crossing my fingers that they have some amazing sales tomorrow.

So why am I doing this? I am doing this because I grew up on welfare, I was raised by a single Mom who always managed to feed me and my two siblings. She also managed every once in awhile to take us out to movies and McDonalds as a treat. I have no idea how she managed. I remember taking the bus all the way across town to go to the food bank once a week. I remember the first job I ever had was babysitting and you know what I put that money towards? FOOD! I remember shopping at Value Village and the Salvation Army and hating it. I used to be so embarrassed and now I love shopping at thrift stores and looking for the best deals. Now I brag when I’ve found the most amazing deal. I’m doing this because I’ve heard ignorant people say that “people on welfare have it easy”, “they should get a job”, that we are leeches on society. Well I am not a leech and neither is my mother. She did an amazing job considering the lack of funds she had to make due with. No one on welfare wants to be on welfare, no one wants to ask for hand outs. It’s embarrassing and degrading and the lack of funds makes it impossible to crawl your way out of poverty. I challenge all the ignorant big mouths to put their money where the mouth is try a slice of humble pie.

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