Lena Danyluk, Day 1

This morning my housemates and I began the week-long Welfare Food Challenge with a bowl of oatmeal cooked with banana — a pretty regular breakfast to what we normally eat — and yet we are not sure how we will handle eating that for 7 days in a row. “What is the Welfare Food Challenge?” you might ask. Well, it is a campaign put on by Raise the Rates to bring awareness to current welfare rate of $610 per month, which has not been raised for nine years. Perhaps, if you are like me, you are surprised at this because you have experienced being a renter and paying around that amount just for a room. I myself pay $600 a month for a shared room in a basement suite in Vancouver.

For the challenge, we have a budget of $18 each for the week to feed and sustain us. We cannot access free food or any basics that we normally have on hand — anything consumed must be payed for out of the $18. And this is not to prove that I can indeed survive on $18, but instead to demonstrate the difficulty of eating three square meals a day with such a tight budget, and to call our government to raise the rates!

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