Suzanne Johnson, Day 7

Welfare Food Challenge ¶dash; Reflecting on the week long experience I decided to participate in the Welfare Food Challenge not only to highlight issues of food insecurity but to transform my level of understanding through a real experience. I was to assume that I was starting from scratch and could eat only the food that I could purchase with $21 for the week. This meant that I could not even touch the salt & pepper shakers in my cupboards. I will admit that I was inspired by my coworker who is absolutely… Read More

Tess Healy, Day 7

I was able to buy some nuts (in bulk section) a bag of corn chips on sale, a big thing of yogurt on special and some 50% reduced baked goods – day old. I am aiming for bulk – what fills me up. I am taking a ton of creamers and sugars in the coffee (free) in the places I am going. I want all the things I can’t buy – even things I wouldn’t even want ordinarily but suddenly raspberry ginger cookies sound amazing. Last day: I have 2 dollars left…. Read More

Kate Kysow, Day 7

THE LAST day! Wow, this challenge has gone by so fast it’s crazy!  Last meal you ask?  Oatmeal of course 🙂 Today, was one of the more stressful ones with work & school & hunger all getting mixed up in a slightly too stressful combination, but at least the day is done!  Tomorrow, I get to buy coffee and meet other people on the challenge, which is super exciting. Things that I’ve learnt or experienced on the challenge: losing weight feeling anxious trying to budget in a supermarket & not being sure… Read More

Victoria Lee, Day 7

Today is the last day of the challenge and it was a tough one. I have been out all day at meetings and events and returned home past 10. It was difficult to be around so much food tonight (a huge buffet with many delicious options) even when I try to distract myself. Often people notice that you are not eating whether at social or professional gatherings and ask why, which is an opportune time to engage others and to talk about the welfare food challenge. Most can sympathize that $21/week is… Read More

Jen Muranetz, Day 7

Last day of #WelfareFoodChallenge. Here's my lunch. Still have $2 – what to spend it on? Story tmrw on @goVanTVShow

Kate Hoffard, Day 7

Day 7 – after a week on $21, I think many things have changed: my perspective, my diet, and my spending. It’s too easy to forget about about those who need help, those who we see lining up for the food bank, or those people on the street we push from our minds. Remember how many young children and families are on social assistance, and how many use the food bank. $21 is not enough money to healthily, to feed our bodies and our minds. When you’re hungry, it’s so hard to… Read More

Chantelle Sutton, Day 7

Breaky: oatmeal Lunch: I forgot my lunch on the counter at home. I almost cried/gave up. Thank god my friend at work had ramen noodles to give me (we still had one package from our budget that we had not eaten) Dinner: the plan was beans on toast (see pic below). I was NOT looking forward to this dinner. Alan liked it but bla! So I gave Alan my portion and I had my lunch of PB and banana sandwich and an apple.

Samantha Truong, Day 7

Photo of Samantha at Welfare Food Challenge booth

LAST DAY – Reflection Today was fun. I boothed at the Totem Park Commons Block where 1st years live, and engaged in dialogue with dozens of people. I also gave them the option to sign the petition to raise the rates if they were interested. What I experienced this evening was a reminder as to why we need to create awareness, and why we need to engage in dialogue to create a safe space for people to learn, make mistakes, and get thinking. Today, I had dozens of conversations with students at… Read More

Alan Yu, Day 7

October 22nd, 2014 It’s the final day of the welfare food challenge and a lot of interesting things happened as everyone probably knows in regard to the shooting in Ottawa. For this post I’ll try to stay on topic with the food challenge. Video recap below. I was thinking for today that I would drop by a different grocery store on my way home and to the supermarket as technically if the challenge was to continue I would have to buy some grocery items again. I knew one thing for sure was… Read More

Katelyn Siggelkow, Day 6

Happy Welfare Wednesday – the end of living on 3$ a day for 7 days is in sight! I enter into day 6 of the welfare challenge feeling pretty optimistic. I just restocked on groceries and still have $3 to spare! I have a lot of tofu left and a couple of eggs for protein. I’m currently making some squash soup and applesauce, I’m pretty sick of eating apples. So don’t worry mom and dad and all other concerned parties, I’m not starving. The turning point was day 3. I no longer… Read More

Tess Healy, Day 6

I know a lot of the emotional swings I am having is due to my diabetes. Normally I manage it with diet and exercise but the limitations on diet, and the lack of energy and will to exercise are exacerbating the problems. I have to travel today and all the money I have not spent will hopefully help me be able to survive a road trip. My go to food is a single bun from the bakery (27c) and a banana (31c). We ate “banana sandwiches” when I was a little girl,… Read More

Suzanne Johnson, Day 6

Well today was one of my worst days yet as far energy level and mental capacity goes. It was probably my least productive days for work as I just didn’t want to even think about thinking. Seriously I feel really dumb and wonder how well I will articulate anything. With this in mind, let’s consider that employable people living on income/social assistance should be trying to get a job, this is roughly 40% of recipients. I am not to sure that I could have convinced anyone to hire me today. Just so… Read More

Sieun Lee, Day 6

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 I wanted something savory for breakfast, so I ate a cup of the broccoli soup with 1/4 cup of steamed rice. Then I made an instant coffee like yesterday. Throughout the morning I felt dizzy and lightheaded. I ate a quarter of a bagel with 1 tablespoon of cream cheese, then half of a pluot. To fight off the constant feeling of fatigue, I ate 2 fried (without oil) eggs, and rice with a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil. I felt better soon, but in a… Read More

Alan Yu, Day 6

October 21st, 2014 What a hectic day this was as well as learning some interesting public feedback about this welfare food challenge. Sorry, rush post today as I am blogging and cooking at the same time. Video below for my day’s recap. Today was interesting as work wise I agreed to do so many things which kept me busy all day. For one of the work I did, as mentioned yesterday meals were provided to people and this is what my friend got just as an example of the food I could… Read More

Kate Hoffard, Day 6

Day 6 was a challenge because it was a busy day, and I was so hungry by the time I got home; it was hard to wait 45 minutes to make my lentils while my tummy grumbled. The challenge with a small budget and minimal time is that it’s easier and certainly cheaper to eat Kraft Dinner instead of brown rice and lentils. It seems unfair for those on social assistance to not be able eat a healthy diet, and survive on ramen noodles, especially when they already have enough challenges. My… Read More

Chantelle Sutton, Day 6

Food: oatmeal, PB sandwich, apple, Banana, popcorn, eggs and a bit of broccoli (what was left) Mood: tired (I have a toddler who was up multiple times in the night), cranky, disinterested in my boring food, and my body feels like crap. I miss fiber (tmi?) Glad it is all over tomorrow! Night!

Samantha Truong, Day 6

Wow, was today ever a great day for awareness – this project was published in 3 different newspapers! I AM SO HAPPY! The 24 hour newspaper: The Georgia Straight: and The Talon UBC: I will also have a 30 minute show with the CiTR 101.9FM @4pm on Thursday October 23! Tune in!

Chantelle Sutton, Day 5

Oatmeal for breaky, PB sandwich and an apple for lunch (I forgot my banana at home, I was so upset), KD and the rest of our broccoli for dinner. I’m getting used to not eating much but I think the lack of nutritious food is getting to me. My energy is low and to be honest, I’m cranky. I’m ready for this to be over. The sad part is, for so many this is there life. It doesn’t end in a week.

Vanessa Brcic, Day 5

Hanging on to the #welfarefoodchallenge My clinical, community, and research work revolves around the relationship between poverty and health. I am privileged to hear the stories of patients who are struggling. I get it, I think to myself, and I’m committed to making a change. Do I need to do the welfare food challenge to help me do this? Probably not. But perhaps I can learn something. On day 1 of the food challenge, I had a commitment to speak at the BC Renal Agency annual conference on the topic of poverty… Read More

Tammy Battersby, Day 5

What a challenge and how many times I have failed simply because, unlike those living in these situations full time, I have availability of food. I am grateful for the heightened compassion for the plight of others, for the conversation that this challenge has inspired and for the comments of those who come to the Blessings Pantry to shop. As mentioned in the links I am irritable dizzy, wanting to isolate but feeling left out. My work duties are suffering and this is no fun. Conclusion = We as a society are… Read More

Irene Lanzinger, Day 5

It is Day 5 of the welfare food challenge. I meant to communicate at the half way point through Twitter, Facebook and a blog post. I managed the first two and here is the blog post a few days late. I am definitely counting the days until it is over – two more sleeps. I have never been so aware of the cost of food. I have lived with my partner, Lee, for more than thirty years. When we first got together our division of labour was that he did the grocery… Read More

Victoria Lee, Day 5

I am feeling better today (recovering slowly but surely). It’s a lot easier to be at work, back to back meetings, intriguing conversations/discussions and public health emergencies to keep me busy from thinking about what my next meal looks like and far away from my pantry full of food. It’s encouraging to know that there is a large group of “Welfare Food Challenge Takers” this year going through similar experiences of mundane foods, hunger, and lethargy with only $21 to spend on food over 7 days. It’s deeply disturbing to know that… Read More

Victor Elkins, Day 5

Photo of Victor's meals

Day 5 of the $21 welfare food challenge. Food is running low!

Sieun Lee, Day 5

Monday, October 20, 2014 Breakfast with 2 tablespoons of the Greek yogurt, 10 Shreddies, and 10 blueberries. Since I am unable to afford the 40-cent coffee, I am trying a couple of different instant coffees. Roommate let me try her “Make 260 Coffees or More” Nescafe Rich instant coffee. It was not bad and cost 7 cents. Morning snack was 7 chestnuts. For lunch, I had 1.5 cup of steamed rice with 1 cup of broccoli soup. The soup actually came out a bit salty, and good to dunk a dollop of… Read More

Tanja Cvekic, Day 5

From Had to quit #welfarefoodchallenge over wknd. Not enough nutrients, felt weak & hungry. @RaisetheRates #bcpoverty Living off $21/week healthily = hours of planning groceries & meals. Even so, not likely. #welfarefoodchallenge #bcpoverty @RaisetheRates

Suzanne Johnson, Day 5

Monday, 20 October 2014 So many things to write about today. As I struggle with the boredom of food and the extreme lack of flavour and as I desperately try to make something taste good on this $21/week diet I can’t help but think about the single mother of three who because of her high rate of rent actually had only 78 dollars per month to feed her family of four. At the same time, I am working at one of my part time jobs as a Healthy School Coordinator with which… Read More

Stacey Tyers, Day 5

#welfarefoodchallenge I have enough food,I'm so sick of it, it makes me not want to eat. Guh. #raisetherates campaigning sucks hungry. It takes an incredible amount of energy and patience to help people in poverty, it takes significantly more to live it. #raisetherates

Jen Muranetz, Day 5

Housemate made an epic meal of deep fried perogies & homemade French fries. Can't eat it… #WelfareFoodChallenge

Tess Healy, Day 5

Too tired and getting depressed, very weepy so I don’t have a diary for day 4. I have had a couple of occasions (one yesterday and one today) where food has been supplied at a meeting, and at these meetings I have overeaten, eaten things I don’t even like and taken food away with me. My embarrassment that people would think me greedy did not last long. I was too hungry to care. I even went into the kitchen and begged for a coffee before the meeting started and before the coffee… Read More

Samantha Truong, Day 5

Food I did some cooking in the kitchen, and the photo with all the containers is all the food I will be eating until the end of my challenge. I am quite pleased with my “casserole” – it consists of shredded potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and tomato paste. And half an hour in the oven, I also baked some potato chucks and tossed it in there to get some variety in texture! For dinner, I had instant noodles – this time I used my veggie broth remainder to boil the noodles in, rather… Read More

Kate Hoffard, Day 5

Day 5 – hungry and slow today, but the best news is I’ve realized I’ll have enough food for the week! I’ll have enough lentils and apples. For breakfast was apple cinnamon oatmeal (again), and leftovers from last night for lunch (brown rice, lentils, and spinach). I had some peanuts for a snack – forgot to take a picture. Dinner was caramelized onions and cabbage, and a lentil dahl with cilantro and garlic. As an explanation, I’m taking 3rd Annual #WelfareFoodChallenge, from Oct 16-22, organized by @raisetherates2014 to raise welfare rates; BC’s… Read More

Alan Yu, Day 5

October 21st, 2014 What a hectic day this was as well as learning some interesting public feedback about this welfare food challenge. Sorry, rush post today as I am blogging and cooking at the same time. Video below for my day’s recap. Today was interesting as work wise I agreed to do so many things which kept me busy all day. For one of the work I did, as mentioned yesterday meals were provided to people and this is what my friend got just as an example of the food I could… Read More

Kate Kysow, Day 4

Making banana pancakes Today, I got creative with the food I have left. In the morning, I made banana pancakes with 2 eggs & 1 banana and topped them with brown sugar and then for dinner, I made fried rice and baked some potatoes in the oven. It was pretty tasty, apart from lacking in sauces/spices. I’m realizing the only reason I’m able to succeed at this challenge is become I have a kitchen! If it weren’t for the microwave/stove/oven/fridge, I’m really not sure what I’d eat, but it definitely wouldn’t be… Read More

Victoria Lee, Days 2-4

I have been fighting off a cold since late last week… It’s been nagging on and I’m still struggling with it and in bed this weekend. Having access to nutritious and healthy foods is not only important for preventing disease and maintaining health but also for recovering from illness. One of the reasons why Canadian Medical Association’s report on Health Care in Canada ( concluded that poverty is the most important factor when it comes to determining whether Canadians live long, and healthy lives.

Alan Yu, Day 4

October 19th, 2014 Casual day of research was the theme today. Video below for my day’s recap. I didn’t physically go to stores to look at prices today. Instead, I casually looked online for some potential deals and pricing history for certain items. For the can of sardine I was potentially thinking of buying on the last day the cheapest I found was a two for $1 sale. Why is this important? I think you need to have good knowledge on how cheap an item can potentially get for you to better… Read More

Sieun Lee, Day 4

Sunday October 19 For breakfast, I had 1 cup of soy milk with 10 Shreddies and 10 roasted black beans. During the morning I slowly ate 1/2 of the baked sweet potato. Lunch was 1/4 of an Everything bagel, 1/4 cup of steamed rice, and 1.5 cup of broccoli soup. In the afternoon I went to Costco for a price check and to GardenWorks. This time, I carried the half of the sweet potato in a container and a water bottle. Being in a crowded Costco and immersing myself in the stupefying… Read More

Gent Family, Day 4

Hitting Halfway, and top-up day Kids enjoyed popcorn and sugar water at home last night while we were out, thankfully didn’t eat all the food, but we’re now grappling with how to allocate the $25 holdback we kept from our initial shopping trip. Jen hit the dollar store this morning, found a multi-spice pkg (whoo hoo!) , more jam, more pasta, and some Honey Nut Cheerios lobbied from the children – all for $6.25. I’ll head out for another 10lbs of apples, milk, margarine and eggs at the Buy Low to get… Read More

Lou Black, Day 4

The day I surrendered… In the morning I barely got breakfast down, in fact, I couldn’t eat all of it despite being hungry. I was so sick of eating the same food – it had became repulsive to me. I biked soon after, and noticed my body definitely didn’t feel as strong as usual. I made it through my ride, ate snacks along the way, and ate as much as I could when I got home, but by late afternoon I was feeling really weak. I decided to give up the challenge…. Read More

Michelle Huang, Day 4

October 19, 2014 Welfare Rate of $610 & Public Safety Welfare rate of $610 is not only a sentence to life in poverty, but also increase health risks for the recipients and public safety. Government is trying to win your vote by promising to cut social spending. What you do not realize is that you and your wealth family could be indirectly impacted by this budget cut!!! It’s true that you rich corporations and wealthy families may never be touched by poverty, disabilities or mental illnesses. What you don’t realize is that… Read More

Christopher Porter and Emily Beam, Day 4

Welfare Food Challenge – Surviving but not Thriving (posted by Christopher) We’re halfway done the Welfare Food Challenge and it is no longer smooth sailing. Our fresh produce is going bad but we can’t afford to replace it; I’m bored of rice and beans and oatmeal; and both Emily and I are feeling tired and sluggish, so there’s likely a nutritional deficiency in our diet. The hardest part of the challenge has been socializing with friends and not being able to eat the food they offer. Last night I had to resist… Read More

Samantha Truong, Day 4

Food I did some cooking in the kitchen. Lunches consist of raw carrots, broccoli, celery, a few chunks of baked potato, and a boiled egg. My dinner is pasta with canned tomato sauce and canned chickpeas. I decided to boil some of my veggies to spice things up. I saved the broth that remained when boiling my veggies, because I plan to re-heat this and cook my instant noodles in it for some more nutrients – because instant noodles just isn’t enough. Spreading the awareness Today I was interviewed by the 24… Read More

Jen Muranetz, Day 4

Made homemade chicken noodle soup today. Absolute luxury. Back to rice tmrw, tho… #WelfareFoodChallenge

Suzanne Johnson, Day 4

Sunday, 19 October 2014 I ate another apple today, it was the bomb! I still have a headache and my appetite is suppressed now. It was not problem to go from eating two pieces of toast at 8:00 am until 12:30 before I snacked on an apple and then about 2:00 when I had some lunch. I mixed the last of my beans mixed with tomatoes (I still have plain beans) with a packaged of the ramen noodles and was only able to eat half of the plate. I normally could have… Read More

Chantelle Sutton, Day 4

Food for today… ICE CREAM! Well to be completely honest it was 1/2 an ice cream cone because Alan and I shared it. We had just shy of $2 left in our budget and we fully intended to go buy some more broccoli. But then today was a beautiful day and I went to a baby shower that had amazing yummy food I couldn’t eat (mmmm cheeseball!) and we went for a family walk that passes right by McD… so we gave up the healthy broccoli for one shared ice cream. And… Read More

Kate Kysow, Day 3

An Apple treat

The last $2.50 Today, I went to Young Brothers market with my remaining $2.50. I knew I wanted 3 sweet potatoes and 3 more bananas, but had no idea how much that would cost. All the prices are per pound, but that doesn’t really mean anything to me. I gingerly went to the counter with my 6 items and hoped they wouldn’t cost more than $2.50. Luckily, they didn’t! I even had enough to buy 3 carrots, 1 onion, and as a “treat” 1 apple. I was so excited I walked out… Read More

Lou Black, Day 3

I’m sick of rice and I think I officially hate lentils. I have a 1/4 of the margarine left, 5 eggs, 1/2 the rice, hardly any cheese, and a LOT of lentils. Headed to a party soon, will be drinking ginger tea and avoiding the snack table….

Bif Naked, Day 3

In gratitude I eat my one, small bowl. #onebowlperday #RAISETHERATES @raisetherates2014 Amen.

Sieun Lee, Day 3

Saturday, October 18, 2014 For breakfast, I had a cup of soy milk with 20 Shreddies and 20 roasted black beans, and felt pretty full. I think my stomach is shrinking. For the mid-morning snack, I ate the last quarter of the Fuji apple from yesterday. Lunch at noon: a cup of steamed rice, and 1/5 of sweet and spicy tofu. During the early afternoon, a labmate offered me an After Eight. Together we calculated one After Eight mint chocolate thin cost approximately 7 cents. This was not too bad. I took… Read More

Kate Hoffard, Day 4

Day 4 – today I was hungry and had headaches, which I think were because of my low blood sugar. It was tough too because I attended a birthday party with lots of yummy snacks and delicious looking cake. Wanted to cheat, but didn’t. The will is strong but I’m feeling weak and hungry. For breakfast, more apple cinnamon oatmeal (monotony has set in). Lunch was more falafel with an apple relish, followed by a snack of hot milky tea and peanuts. For dinner, the last of the falafel with a pilaf… Read More

Chantelle Sutton, Day 3

Today was hard. We re-evaluated our food options and realized we wouldn’t make it to Wed dinner. Another trip to Walmart (I didn’t buy everything up front because I figured I would have to change some things). To make matters worse….I did my math wrong below (I think I forgot to add the coffee in) so I was actually over by $2.37! We took out the veggie burgers (luxury item!), dropped the milk to 1L, switched out a can of soup for 4 packs of Ramen noodles (those are super cheap!), added… Read More

Gent Family, Day 3

Not enjoying a beer at a Sloan concert… seems a fairly modest sacrifice, and low on the list of tragedies befalling someone down on their luck, but I found myself actually more upset about this missed opportunity than many others during the challenge thus far. Jen and I had tickets to see the band Sloan at the Commodore last night, something we had planned for a while, and not food, so we attended, still recognizing that this is not the sort of opportunity someone on income assistance would ever consider on the… Read More

Tara-lee Gardner, Day 3

Skipped breakfast cause I didn’t feel like cream of wheat again. Lunch is chickpeas, celery, pickles and mustard spread on toast. #welfarefoodchallenge #raisetherates #vegansofig

Jen Muranetz, Day 3

Pasta: $.54, Salt: $.02, Garlic Powder: $.09, Chicken Soup Base: $.16, Tea: $1.98 #welfarefoodchallenge #bulkfood #welfarefoodchallenge #bulkfood

Tess Healy, Day 3

All I seem to think about is food. And I feel crabby and irritable. Why does my partner put dishes away higgledy-piggledy? All the freaking time! That is not me and do I ever really care about how dishes are stacked? No. I am becoming someone I don’t like much. I was going to go to the food bank but my partner said that would be taking food from people who really needed it and to find out what the food bank was giving and she would be my food bank and… Read More

Alan Yu, Day 3

October 18th, 2014 “Son of a…..” is what kind of crossed my mind today with some stuff I saw. Video below for my day’s recap for those who prefer it. I included some other interesting stuff I saw today in the video too. There was an obstacle today as I had to head out the door earlier than I thought. As a result, I wasn’t able to prepare my regular breakfast. Therefore, I only had an apple. That’s the main negative of being on a budget as many times we tend to… Read More

Samantha Truong, Day 3

Today, I ate breakfast and dinner, but no lunch. I ran out of time to cook pasta in the kitchen, so I skipped lunch and drank a cup of almond milk instead. This did not help with the hunger. One thing I have realized is how much time it takes to save money. I am so used to lining up 5 minuets for a sandwich at the nearest fast food joint – having to bus off campus to buy groceries and then cook my meals can easily take four to six hours… Read More

Katelyn Siggelkow, Day 2

Living on $3/day for 7 days When I am barred from the freedom of consuming food every moment, every moment is consumed by food. It rules me in a way I hate to admit. Now, I find myself dwelling on how hungry and irritable I am, on this persistent headache that I am still denying is a result of caffeine withdrawal, on scheming when I can get me next meal, and scheming hacks that are still within the bounds of the rules of this challenge. My latest idea is if I buy… Read More

Suzanne Johnson, Day 3

Saturday, 18 October 2014 – Why $21 Today I feel a little better than I have the first two days. I still have a headache but its not as bad as it was yesterday. My mind doesn’t feel like its functioning quite right and my stomach is not particularly happy, let’s just say that I am totally aware that it is there. I was super happy to purchase four spartan apples with the remaining money (0.95) at the fruit stand in Trout Creek. They had the best price per pound being a… Read More

Kate Hoffard, Day 3

Day 3 marked the reintroduction of tea into my life, and it was such a blessing. I had a tiny pinch of loose-leaf tea with with apple cinnamon oatmeal at breakfast (forgot to take a photo before I dug in, hence the half eaten bowl). I saved the small amount for a second cup of tea after lunch; much weaker, and not my usual practice, but it was tea all the same. This week is about compromise. Lunch was a spice-roasted warm chickpea and apple salad with cilantro. For dinner, I got… Read More

Chantelle Sutton, Day 2

On my way into my office this morning I see this: a woman packing up her bedding after spending the night in a covered back door of a business. I know her. She is the girlfriend of one of my clients. I said hi and she happily gave my dog some love. And it got me thinking, with her $21 a week she can’t buy instant oatmeal or Kraft dinner because where is she going to cook it? I highly doubt she had a camping stove and propane tucked into her grocery… Read More

Gent Family, Day 2

By Derek Gent Mood shifted to a much more positive one at tonight’s event, maybe feeling a bit self righteous, maybe listening to the wonderful David Beers from the Tyee as emcee for the Real Estate Foundation Land Awards Gala, or Peter Mansbridge as keynote. I was struck by the number of folks I saw at the dinner last night being celebrated for achievements I see as celebration worthy. Sean Dory from Sole Foods was all suited up, as was Ilana Labow from Fresh Roots, the hard working volunteers from Cowichan Green… Read More

Sieun Lee, Day 2

Friday, October 17, 2014 Breakfast: 2 tbsp of strawberry Greek yogurt with 10 pcs Shreddies, 10 frozen blueberries, and 10 roasted black beans. I buy a ton of blueberries in summer and freeze them in Ziploc bags. Mom sends me roasted black beans from Korea. I made coffee like yesterday. Mid-morning snack was a quarter of a small cantaloupe and 10 more of the roasted black beans. Lunch was a cup of steamed rice and a cup of pineapple pork, a leftover from few days ago. I had chopped up a piece… Read More

Tara-lee Gardner, Day 2

Plain cream of wheat for breakfast. No seasoning or fruit cause I couldn’t afford it and I make extra for lunch #welfarefoodchallenge #raisetherates #vegansofinstagram Lentils and mixed veggies. No salt or seasonings. #welfarefoodchallenge #raisetherates #vegansofig

Lou Black, Day 2

My low laying virus resurfaced today. It bites to not be able to go to my usual comfort foods and drinks for being sick. Lentils, eggs, and rice are starting to get boring already. It makes me aware of the degree to which food is a source of entertainment and comfort for me, unlike the basic sustenance role it plays in many people’s lives. A good way to be reminded of my privilege…

Kate Kysow, Day2

Headaches kicking in Made it to Day 2 and was excited for breakfast! I had a microwave mug cake of oats, banana, an egg, and brown sugar. It was good…but lacking in coffee. I didn’t think coffee was such a part of my routine, but with two days and not having any, I miss it a lot! There’s something about standing in line at a café and getting a nice, warm cup of coffee that really brightens up a typical day. It makes me sad to think people on welfare don’t get… Read More

Bif Naked, Day 2

I would like to thank all of you, from my entire heart, for sharing our story about Raise the Rates BC “Welfare Food Challenge” that has just started, (and will continue into next week) and I am extremely humbled by your attention. There are MANY OTHER PEOPLE participating in this effort, and I encourage you to get to know them at I am completely blown away by the amount of comments, and want you to know I am ever grateful. The dialogue created is important to us, it’s compelling and engaging,… Read More

Tess Healy, Day 2

I have yet to spend any money on food. I am afraid to spend it. Once it is gone, it is gone. I am a very honest person, growing up in England, if we found a sixpence on the street we had to put it in the poor box in church. We were the poor so I could never understand why we didn’t just keep it. I know now that the very public depositing of the money declared we were not poor (even though we were) and that claiming that pride meant… Read More

Alan Yu, Day 2

October 17th, 2014 Today was an interesting day as it got me thinking if I should return an item for what seems to be a better deal.  As usual, watch my video below for my day’s recap for those who prefer it. Shopping knowledge was the big theme for me today as many times I found myself finding great deals but at the same time I was lacking the knowledge of what would be the best value diet wise in conjunction with cost.  As mentioned before, stores usually change its prices today… Read More

Samantha Truong, Day 2

  Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Friday was an eventful day. I woke up at 8:00am and ate my oatmeal. By 10:00am, I was already very hungry because my oatmeal was not very filling. So I began to eat my lunch at 10:00am. With no dipping sauce or salt, my lunch was very flavourless, and I actually only ate half of it because I didn’t like the taste. I would have rather been hungry then to eat my vegetables. And that says something on its own – I mean, I imagine those that… Read More

Suzanne Johnson, Day 2

Making It Last – Friday, 17 October 2014 I attended a meeting last night in which a meal was served and because we have so many good cooks in the community, I was anxious to see what was being served and what I would be missing. When I saw that it was a delicious elk stew with green salad and baked bannock, I knew I would be missing a good meal and quickly tried to duck out of the way to let others get closer to the table. I said “Oh go… Read More

Kate Hoffard, Day 2

Day 2 went fairly well – I think I’m getting into a rhythm. I had the same breakfast as yesterday, apple cinnamon oatmeal. Lunch was leftover rice and chickpea pilaf with cilantro. My snack was also the same – an apple and some peanuts. For dinner, I made a caramelized onion and cabbage soup with chickpeas. I’m out this evening, drinking only water. I’d love a glass of wine, but that will have to wait for next week. There’s no room for indulgences on $21. As an explanation, I’m taking 3rd Annual… Read More

Jen Muranetz, Day 2

Meals are looking the same already, lots of rice & eggs. My recap of #welfarefoodchallenge next Thurs on @goVanTVShow

Katelyn Siggelkow, Day 1

Returning home from a family trip to Ontario late on Thursday evening, I was greeted by a neighbour who had come over with his son to welcome me home and gift us with a “last supper”. Confused at the doom in his voice as he served these last words like a life-sentence, I looked to my roommates for an explanation. They laughed nervously, hesitant to break the news that starting the next morning, we’d be embarking on the Welfare Food Challenge. For the next seven days, we’d have a budget of 21$… Read More

Victoria Lee, Day 1

I was glad to be able to join the media event today. It was great to see so many people supporting this important cause. I have lost some sleep trying to plan out my meals for this week. I am concerned about maintaining some resemblance of healthy eating. I did pretty well today with some greens and eggs… I noticed that opportunities to socialize personally and professionally are disappearing quickly as I am trying not to expose myself to temptations that will be too difficult to resist!

Kate Kysow, Day 1

photo of Kate Kysow's 2014 welfare food challenge shopping

Budget shopping at the grocery store! Day 1 has kicked off for the 3rd Annual Welfare Food Challenge! This morning I woke up and went to my local No Frills as I thought they would be the best place for cheap-ish food. Before starting to choose items, I walked through the aisles looking at how much everything cost. I must have looked like a lost puppy because every time I met someone they gave me a look like ‘are you okay, honey?’ Anyways, once I started to shop I actually felt optimistic!… Read More

Bif Naked, Day 1

As we acknowledge our abundant blessings TODAY, on World Food Day, I am starting my Raise the Rates BC Welfare Food Challenge, where I will eat from what I can buy myself with $21.00 FOR THE WHOLE WEEK. The photos I have included show you the types of things I sometimes eat as a strong, healthy vegan individual (see Bif’s Facebook page). The photo with the papaya (and handfuls of organic spinach, organic cucumber, 4 organic zucchinis, 4 organic bananas, vegan protein powder, hempseeds, pea shoots, almonds, 2 organic Roma tomatoes, and… Read More

Christopher Porter and Emily Beam, Day 1

Day 1 We survived Day 1 of the Welfare Food Challenge. There are lots of interesting people blogging and tweeting about their experiences. I’ve been surprised to see a number of people buying cans of beans. Obviously more convenient, but a lot more expensive than dried beans. After Day 1, I feel well fed but gassy. I guess eating a lot of beans will do that. Breakfast was a simple but filling meal of oatmeal, half a banana, and a spoonful of sugar. Lunch was rice, lentils, tomatoes, and a few carrots. We made way… Read More

Stacey Tyers, Day 1

@raisetheratesbc I already failed. I spent 21.07.abd didn't have any more recent time to decide what else to get rid of

Gent Family, Day 1

Start of Day 1 Jen We started the day early this morning, chopped apples, carrots and onions, put on porridge, checked the soaking beans and rising bread. This is Day 1 of our week long food welfare challenge. To make the most of our $105 we’ve spent a great deal of time planning and prepping for this week. I think planning and searching out food for one’s family could be a part time job. Let alone the time necessary to prepare these less expensive options. I could be accused of spending too… Read More

Tess Healy, Day 1

It is four hours into day one and I wish I had thought more about this challenge and how to do it before accepting it. I seem consumed with fear right now that I won’t be able to do it right. My overwhelming thought, though, is how do people cope on $3 a day for food? I haven’t eaten anything yet because what I would normally eat would blow the day’s budget. My capacity to stop in to Tim Horton’s for a coffee and bagel because I am running late and need… Read More

Chantelle Sutton, Day 1

Day 1! World Food Day It feels weird to start anything on a Thursday. Mondays are the day to begin new diets/exercise plans/goals. But it does make sense to begin this journey on World Food Day. So I spent a good portion of last night, lying in bed, trying to revamp my food choices to add more food and more veggies. I realized the Veggie Burgers have to go and maybe I can find a cheaper the bag of apples. If you know me well, you know that I don’t cook. I… Read More

Alan Yu, Day 1

October 16th, 2014 Here we go! First day of the BC welfare food challenge. If you prefer to watch me go through my experience using video instead you can click play here: For everyone else, read on. For those who don’t know, the purpose of this challenge is to demonstrate how people on welfare income assistance can barely make ends meat with the current provided funds of $610 per month. After all your other expenses are covered, it is stated that a person has about $21 a week left for food. The… Read More

Samantha Truong, Day 1

10:30am: I had some instant oatmeal, a box of Quaker oats that was on sale for $2.47, which included ten packets. This comes to 25 cents for breakfast. This was physically not very filling, but mentally it satisfied me and lasted me up until 3:00pm. 3:00pm – 6:00pm: that’s another story. I was hungry – more like “hangry” – while I was grocery shopping. 6:00pm: When I got home, I way too hungry to go in the kitchen and make something, so I boiled a kettle of water and made myself a… Read More

Tanja Cvekic, Day 1

Cranky without coffee, but doesn’t fit $21/week welfare food budget. #welfarefoodchallenge #bcpoverty Felt food envy @ lunch seeing what others ate & comparing to my (tasty but small) chickpea-apple salad. #welfarefoodchallenge #bcpoverty Limit on my food budget made me food obsessed today. Without food security how can you think about anything else? #bcpoverty @RaisetheRates

Kate Hoffard, Day 1

Starting today, I will be participating in the 3rd Annual Welfare Food Challenge, organized by Raise the Rates. Raise the Rates is a coalition of community groups and organizations concerned with the level of poverty and homelessness in British Columbia, calling on government to raise welfare rates; rates in BC have been stagnant for more than 7 years. The challenge runs for 7 days from Thursday, October 16 to Wednesday, October 22, 2014. During that week, participants will only eat the food they can buy with $21 dollars. Why $21? Total monthly… Read More

Suzanne Johnson, Day 1

A $21 Food Budget – Day 1 Welfare Food Challenge Today is my first day of the Welfare Food Challenge. Luckily our food budget is solely for food. As you can see in the first photo, although the Penticton Indian Band community is close to town compared to many other reserves in BC, it is still about a 10K drive. On check day, some members who cannot access rides to town from family will pay $30 one way for a cab ride to town to buy groceries. It would take an hour… Read More

Tara-lee Gardner, Day 1

$21/wk for food is not enough #welfarefoodchallenge #raisetherates @raisetherates #vanpoli #bcpoli

Lou Black, Day 1

$ 21 bought me: 4 cups of oats, 4 cups of lentils, 6 cups of rice, small can of salsa, 2 tomatoes, 1 head of garlic, 5 bananas, 1 orange, 75 grams feta, 1 dozen eggs 1 block of tofu, small square of margarine I was up past my bedtime cooking last night and am tired today. There’s no eating at restaurants or getting take out this week so I had to have some ready to eat food for work. I think I might be bored of rice already. I’m salivating going… Read More

Day 1

What a great launch! Check out the photos on our Facebook page. With more info about what happened in our news release. Check out posts from our participants on our site and on their personal blogs!

Samantha Truong, Prep for the Challenge

October 15, 2014 – WHY AM I DOING THIS? October 1st, 2014 – I was in my dorm room, reading chapter six of my social work textbook titled Social Welfare in Canada: Understanding Income Security. My whatsapp app was buzzing every two minutes, because my sis chat group was talking about a family member who is in a transition house with her three year-old daughter for many complicated, structural, oppressing, and intersecting issues. My social work TA – whose name I still do not know – presented this welfare food challenge to… Read More

Suzanne Johnson, Prep for the Challenge

Welfare Food Challenge – Why? The welfare rates in BC have not been raised since 2007. Low welfare rates are part of the picture of poverty in BC, which is the worst in Canada. I am particularly concerned about the impact that this has on the First Nations people. Food insecurity is a significant issue for many First Nations people with roughly a third of families who are earning wages facing some degree of food insecurity. The number of individuals on limited income assistance is also significant and these individuals face food… Read More

Gent Family, Prep for the Challenge

DISPATCHES FROM THE WELFARE FOOD CHALLENGE – Day negative 1, October 15, 2014 ROUGH CUT – observations from a privileged family of 5 living for a week on a food budget of $105 in Vancouver, BC When I got home from work today, I heard the story of how my eldest daughter, Lu, saw blueberries on the counter when she returned from school, and inadvertently had a bit of a feast, as she often does, without realizing that this fruit was to be part of our food allowance for the ‎entire week…. Read More

Chantelle Sutton, Prep for the Challenge

First step for me is making a meal plan for the week of foods I think are cheap. Meals: Breakfast: oatmeal Lunch: peanut butter and banana sandwich Snack: apple, popcorn Dinner options: KD, tomato soup, eggs, veg burgers, broccoli Next step is pricing out my items. I went to Walmart this weekend to get an idea of what is the cheapest price I could get for my items. Shopping list: Bananas-6 weigh 2.5 lbs @ $.77/lb=$1.93 Apples- 1 bag is $4.47 Broccoli- $1.09/ lb, 2lbs =$2.18 Eggs- 12 for $2.67 Skimmed milk-… Read More

Alan Yu, Prep for the Challenge

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 Alright, I am officially going to try this $21 food budget for the week challenge. This is going to be an interesting experience for me as initially I don’t think it will be too hard financially as I normally try to shop for the best deals. However, there is a lot that I don’t know such as keeping track of nutritional daily intake as it isn’t something that I normally think too much about other than doing things such as naturally avoiding as many artificial stuff as possible…. Read More

Stacey Tyers, Prep for the Challenge

I have decided to do the welfare food challenge for #raisetherates #bcmuni #bcpoli  via @wordpressdotcom

Jen Muranetz, Prep for the Challenge

I'm taking part in @RaisetheRates's #WelfareFoodChallenge. I already broke my $21 budget for the week… (1/2) Luckily I'm collaborating w/ another participant ($42 together/week). Challenge kicks off tmrw. I'm documenting it all 4 @goVanTVShow (2/2)

Tara-lee Gardner, Prep for the Challenge

2014 Welfare Food Challenge Starting this Thusrday I am taking the 2014 Welfare Food Challenge. This challenge only allows me $21 to spend on food for one week. It runs from Thursday October 16th to Wednesday October 22nd. I have been trying to figure out what I’m going to spend that money on and it’s been hard. Really really hard. I’m always on the look out for good deals when I’m at the store so I looked through my receipts trying to choose the necessities I’d need and nothing worked. All the… Read More

Bif Naked joins 2014 Welfare Food Challenge!

On October 2, 2014 singer-songwriter Bif Naked officially launched Raise the Rates’ Welfare Food Challenge, announcing that she will take part in the 3rd edition of this campaign. “I feel it is part of my responsibility, as a citizen and a human, to address, and bring awareness to the fact that more people in BC are living below the poverty line than anywhere else in the country.” She encouraged other people across BC to join her taking the challenge, “The Welfare Food Challenge is important because the only way our community can… Read More