I will be participating in the Raise the Rates 4th Annual Welfare Food Challenge alongside my partner, Colby Innes. We reside in New Westminster, British Columbia. I am an account manager at Vancity’s South Burnaby Community Branch and Colby works as a mechanic in Surrey. Through my role at Vancity, I have the opportunity to work with many low-income members. I have experienced few moments as poignant as completing a budgeting plan and realizing that the individual in front of me does not have enough money for food, never mind retirement savings or emergency funds. I am deeply inspired by the resilience of these individuals and hope to gain increased insight and awareness through this experience.
While the challenge has not yet started, I’ve already found myself in deep discussion with many family and friends regarding the issue of welfare rates. While Colby and I have both been nervous about food quantity/quality, we did not anticipate the social isolation that can accompany a low-income budget. We have rescheduled dinner plans and family events, as we will not have enough money within our week-long budget to accommodate any extra mouths. We are very aware that this is a luxury not afforded to those living on British Columbia’s current welfare rates.