Food bought by Brigit King and Colby for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Brigit King and Colby, Day 1

Last night, Colby and I went grocery shopping for the Welfare Food Challenge. We had $42 to spend between the two of us.

The experience was much more stressful than I had anticipated. I consider myself quite savvy when it comes to budgeting, but as I scoured the shelves for the lowest prices, I realized that I’ve never had a hard line when I comes to my food allowance. I was no longer looking at the nutritional value of food, only the dollar value. Although we carefully selected items averaging around two dollars, we reached our max budget before we even reached the produce section. After that, every item was up for debate. All of our comfort items (tea, cereal, spice) were placed back on the self. We were able to get carrots, celery, onion, garlic and three bunches of bananas – not because we love potassium, but because it was the cheapest produce we could find. We ended up going through the till twice. I was so anxious we would go over budget the first time. We spent $41.42!

This morning, I shared experiences with co-workers who are also taking the challenge. We laughed over our grumbling tummies.
This afternoon, everything placed in stark perspective when I met with a long time member who is now on social assistance. For privacy reasons, I will not provide any details. I will only say that due to circumstances that are absolutely beyond her control, she has less than $50 for food this month.

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