Kate Hoffard, Day 1

Starting today, I will be participating in the 3rd Annual Welfare Food Challenge, organized by Raise the Rates.

Raise the Rates is a coalition of community groups and organizations concerned with the level of poverty and homelessness in British Columbia, calling on government to raise welfare rates; rates in BC have been stagnant for more than 7 years. The challenge runs for 7 days from Thursday, October 16 to Wednesday, October 22, 2014. During that week, participants will only eat the food they can buy with $21 dollars.

Why $21? Total monthly welfare ($610) – rent ($470) – bus tickets to look for work ($21) – cell phone to look for work ($25) – hygiene/laundry ($10) = $84/month, or $21/week for food. That’s $3 per day.?#?WelfareFoodChallenge? participants are asked not to accept any kind of charity or other food not coming out of their $21 dollar budget – so no using food banks, accessing free meals through charities or friends, eating food you already have, or eating food you have grown. I’ll be documenting my meals throughout the week, and sharing the points where I struggle; I imagine there will be a few. I’m already concerned that the food I have won’t be enough for a week. But the reality is that many people live this way, and I’m glad to be raising awareness about this issue. #raisetherates #welfarefoodchallenge

Photo of Kate Hoffard's grocery receipt

Today was a pretty good first day, but I’m very aware of how much food I have for the week. I tried to limit what I ate today to make sure I’ll make it all 7 days. Breakfast was oatmeal with half an apple and cinnamon; lunch was chickpeas and sauteed cabbage with garlic and chili. For a snack, I had the rest of the apple and a handful of peanuts. Dinner was a rice and chickpea pilaf with cumin, cinnamon and cilantro, with oven-roasted cabbage. I’m sipping hot water and pretending it’s tea! As an explanation: I’m taking 3rd Annual #WelfareFoodChallenge, from Oct 16-22, organized by #RaisetheRates to raise welfare rates; BC’s rates haven’t changed in 7 years. I have $21 this week for all my food.

Photo of Kate Hoffard's meals on day 1 of the 2014 Welfare Food Challenge

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