Groceries that Bunny Horne bought for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Bunny Horne, Prep for the Challenge

I had a list of items | wanted to purchase and felt confident I could buy them within the $21.

I want this challenge to be pure. By that I mean, if a person on a fixed income can’t travel large distances to obtain their groceries, neither can I. Someone suggested a place in Vancouver – not a food bank, but where donated food is sold in small quantities for low prices. I no longer live in Vancouver so it wouldn’t be practical for me to make the trek to Vancouver to buy some oats for a few cents.

Firstly, I forgot my list on the counter top, but I had studied it so long it was well imprinted in my brain. I discovered I could not find everything I wanted/needed in one location. My first stop was No Frills and while they had some bargains there were many items that were more expensive than I anticipated. I went to four businesses to complete my shop. I probably could have hit Walmart but felt that it was far enough away that it was unlikely a person on a fixed income would walk and likely wouldn’t take multiple bus trips. Maybe I am wrong.

I was very disappointed to discover that in my community there is no affordable store to purchase small quantity of product in bulk. I did buy some certified organic Quinoa at a health store. I could not get steel cut oats or any kind of oats for my breakfast. The product available in the stores I shopped was too large of a size so would eat up all my allocated funds. I had to make a decision about milk, I don’t drink much milk so I had to decide do I buy a 1 litre container or pay a higher price for a smaller size. I decided to forgo the milk completely. I could not afford to purchase any form of cheese. I was lucky enough to find a store with whole chickens on sale – limit 1. The savings was almost $5 versus the other stores I visited for a similar product. There are lots of vegetable and organic stores in my area, but the prices are prohibitive to a person on a fixed income.

I did visit a local market, but there was not much on the clearance rack that I could purchase. I did get a bag of tomatoes for $1 and was extremely excited that one of the tomatoes was a GREEN tomato, almost a delicacy to me. None of the stores I visited had tuna that was on sale so I again had to pass. I did purchase an item I was excited to discover was gluten free, 4 grain and on sale. This item would be a good filler, be fairly healthy and could be incorporated into a number of dishes. When I checked the cash register receipt the item did not go through at the sale price so I was unable to use it. A person with only $21 would not have had sufficient funds and would have had to ask the cashier to remove something from the counter so that they would have sufficient funds to make a purchase.

I have personally had a few times in my life where I was in a bad financial situation. We were very poor when I was a child, but my father never sought any sort of assistance. He was a wheeler dealer dude and would acquire broken items for free or a few dollars, repair, retrofit etc and resell the item(s) at a higher price to bring in extra dollars. What I learned personally during these times is that when you are poor you don’t get to take advantage of opportunities to purchase product at sale prices. In other words, you never get to volume shop a discounted or sale item. You may not be able to buy 12 cans of brand name tuna at a sale price to load up your cupboards. Sadly a lot of retailers offer sale pricing only on volume purchase. Buy one pay regular price, buy multiple units and the price is less and in some instances a lot less. Unfortunately someone on a fixed income cannot take advantage of those prices. In fact this pricing practice might even be discriminatory – the people that need the reduced price most are in fact the people that can’t take advantage of volume shopping price discounts.

I just listed all of my items in a journal and calculated the caloric content for the full shop. My total calories is 5441 for the upcoming week. So if a person wants to eat as healthy as possible they would likely consume 800 calories a day or less.

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