Photo of bread dough in a bowl

Paula Macfarlane, Day 6

Posted on Breads by Paula. The End is Near. It’s day 6 of the Welfare Food Challenge and the end is near. I almost quit yesterday. I have lost 5lbs (probably all muscle and water weight) and I am not interested in doing anything. I have a paper due on Sunday for my Masters and I can’t get focused. I could quit and show how hard it is to live on $18 a week.

Then I re-thought it. If I eat everything I have left I can boost my calorie count and make it. I had already booked today off as a vacation day so I don’t need to worry about focusing at work (sorry to all that have had to interact with me over the last several days – it wasn’t me talking, it was the starvation). Not a lot of people I know doing the challenge have got this far. I admire them for having the courage to say “enough”. I am well enough to go on, so I am going to.

This whole process has made me realize that we need to do more than donate food to the food bank to make this problem go away. In fact, donating to the food bank is arguably enabling this broken system to continue. The loss of dignity when being unable to buy food to feed your family and relying on charity must be horrible. I mean, we’re all entitled to some dignity, aren’t we?

I’m doing my masters of management in cooperative and credit unions and I am doing a paper on sustainability ideas for my organization. Sustainability is the the marriage between sustainable economy, community and environment. I don’t think I’m going to write about environment, like I first thought I would.

I think what I am going to do is write about how we can engage our workforce in social justice. And, I don’t mean volunteering at the food bank or with a community group helping the homeless. I mean using our collective voices to make noise in BC. To put aside our personal biases and focus on our organizational values, which includes financial and social inclusion.

If you want to learn more about welfare rates in BC and what you can do to have your voice heard about raising rates and developing a poverty reduction plan (BC’s the only province without one), visit the sites below:

Sign the petition at:

Photo of bread dough in a bowl

So, I’m almost done the challenge and I’ll get to go back to my normal meals. I’ve started a batch of sourdough to celebrate. I won’t be able to eat it until Sunday morning, but it will be the most delicious piece of bread that I’ve ever eaten. I think it will also be sort of sad because I’m one of the lucky ones. 1 in 5 children in BC live in poverty. 1 in 5! Just think about that. How many kids in your child’s class are hungry. How many can’t focus and can’t learn because of it? We need to do something about this. Check out those links above.

Take care of yourselves,


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