Photo of food that Melanie Steele bought for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Melanie Steele, Prep for the Challenge

Today is the first day of the Welfare Food Challenge. For the next week, I will only be eating what I could manage to buy with 21 dollars. I won’t be accepting any freebies, donations, or poaching from my garden or deep-freeze. 21 dollars does not seem like a lot for food. That’s because it isn’t. Having said that, I was surprised with what I was able to purchase for 21 dollars. I went to two different stores, both within walking distance of my house. I had checked flyers online over the weekend to see what was on special so that I could do my best to maximize my budget.

What can you get for 21 bucks?

1 loaf of whole wheat bread – $1.67
1 small bag of frozen corn – $1.97
1 small block of frozen spinach – $0.97
2 cans tomato sauce – $1.70
1 large container vanilla yogurt (on sale) – $1.97
1 package egg noodles – $1.29
8 bulk carrots (on sale) – $0.97
2 small onions – $0.90
1 jar peanut butter (on sale) – $2.83
bulk rolled oats (on sale) – $1.19
bulk millet (on sale) – $0.78
bulk white beans (on sale) – $0.79
bulk black beans (on sale) – $1.14
bulk green lentils (on sale) – $0.82
bulk pot barley (on sale) – $1.54
bulk chili powder (on sale) – $0.21
bulk curry powder (on sale) – $0.16

Total = $20.90

As you can see from the list above, I benefitted hugely from sale pricing. I’m not sure how I would have managed if I had to buy things at full price. I could have spent the full 21 dollars had I opted for two plastic bags, but I’m holding on to that extra ten cents on the off chance that I come across a 5 cent candy. (I can only get one, because there’s tax on candy, which I’m fine with. I’m NOT fine with 21 dollars a week for food.)

Here’s how I plan on rationing my food for the day:

1/2 cup rolled oats + 2 tablespoons peanut butter

Peanut butter sandwich + 1/2 large carrot

Egg noodles (1/4 package) with 1/2 an onion, tomato sauce (1/2 can) and frozen spinach (1/4 package)

Dessert or Snack
1/3 cup yogurt

I’ll let you know how it goes.

How to Support the Welfare Food Challenge

  • Retweet, like, comment on, and share posts on social media with the hashtag #WelfareFoodChallenge
  • Sign the petition to ask Premier Christy Clark to raise the welfare rates
  • Get involved with Raise the Rates and become an advocate for improving food security in BC
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