Carol Lewis, Day 1

For the week of Nov. 3 to 9th, two public figures – motivational speaker and singer/songwriter New Delhi-born Bif Naked, and Hongkong born NDP Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan – are joining over 170,000 people on welfare in their struggle to eat well on $21 a week. In the 60 years I have been alive, I had the absolute luxury of living above the poverty line for 26 years. While married for 26 years, I was able to be a stay-at-home mom, with a family income easily above the LICO (Low Income… Read More

Bunny Horne, Prep for the Challenge

Groceries that Bunny Horne bought for the 2015 Welfare Food 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… Read More

Bif Naked, Prep for the Challenge

Food that Bif Naked bought for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge.

I was ecstatic about my haul of food for a week! I had to be. Part of my responsibility as a participant in the 2015 #welfarefoodchallenge was to eat only what I could purchase for $21.00, the amount that is estimated for most people on welfare have to eat with, weekly. As a #vegan I need to try and stay true to how I want to eat. I have tried to be pragmatic in my choices, and I will divide these equally for seven days, as I did last year: seven bananas,… Read More

Angela Lam, Prep for the Challenge

Food bought by Angela Lam for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Shopping for the challenge I went to Superstore and was able to buy all of this for just under $16. I usually do not eat this much packaged food but I do not have a choice and for me, I usually lean protein and lots of green vegetables so I will need to eat tofu with soy sauce (miso soup style) and the processed meat I bought – wieners and bologna and ration my 1 head of lettuce. I thought I could buy some instant coffee but it was $6 a jar… Read More

Earyn Wheatley and Deanna Ogle, Prep for the Challenge

Food bought by Earyn Wheatley and Deanna Ogle for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Food for the week for Deanna and I. We tried to get foods that would go together in a variety of ways, and took advantage of sales on some of the cheapest produce. Our total came to $37.48 leaving $4.52 for a mid-week small produce shop.

Melanie Steele, Prep for the Challenge

Photo of food that Melanie Steele bought for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Today is the first day of the Welfare Food Challenge. For the next week, I will only be eating what I could manage to buy with 21 dollars. I won’t be accepting any freebies, donations, or poaching from my garden or deep-freeze. 21 dollars does not seem like a lot for food. That’s because it isn’t. Having said that, I was surprised with what I was able to purchase for 21 dollars. I went to two different stores, both within walking distance of my house. I had checked flyers online over the… Read More

Jennifer Chieh Ho

Photo of the groceries bought by Jennifer Chieh Ho for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

I had to look in the “clearance” section to buy most of my groceries for this week’s challenge. It was not easy to spend only $21 for my week long groceries

Laurel Burton, Prep for the Challenge

Photo of Laurel Burton’s food for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

$21 worth of food.

Melanie Mark, Prep for the Challenge

Food that Melissa Mark bought for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Food for the week for Maya (12) Makayla (5) and I. We are taking the challenge to take stock of our privilege…Exercise in empathy /compassion for those who face this reality 365 days a year. Quick fact: 30000 children live in poverty in BC. We can and must do better so that people can thrive and not just survive.

Macarena Cataldo

Food that Macarena Cataldo bought for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Today Monday 2nd, I bought all my food, I spent $20.60. I found vegetables and fruit in a very cheap grocery on Hastings. However, some of my fruit is not in very good conditions. I tried to do a healthy buy, however it was very difficult. I spent more than 1 hour deciding between different foods. I use to look all the diet information in the back side on the food, but having just 21 dollars you can not decide the best food for you, you don’t have freedom of choice.

Sarah Stott, Prep for the Challenge

Food bought by the Stott Family for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

The day before: No food for the soul So, we’re feeling a little nervous with our food purchases for the week – will the food last us, fill us, and nourish us? Have we made some key errors in our planning that will become blindly apparent near the end of the 7 days? For our family of 4, we have a budget of $84 for the week. Usually, we’ll spend around $300 for a healthy, varied and often organic diet for our active family (and for Darren who is a 6ft 3… Read More

Lindsay Bissett, Prep for the Challenge

Photo of food bought by Lindsay Bissett for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Balancing hungry & healthy was hard enough. For $21/week I couldn’t even think about local. #welfarefoodchallenge Officially ready for the #welfarefoodchallenge! Best I could do with $21.. it’ll be a hard week. @RaisetheRates

Barb Ryeburn, Prep for the Challenge

Food that Barb Ryeburn bought for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Planning for the challenge, October 31, 2015 Tuesday is the start of the Welfare Food Challenge. My husband, Kim, and I have made the commitment to eat only the food that we are able to purchase with $21 each for the week. This is the amount that Raise the Rates has determined is available for food to people living on social assistance once they have covered all their other basic costs. I’m hopeful that by participating in this campaign, I’ll develop a deeper understanding of one of the many challenges people living… Read More

Annie Ohana, Prep for the Challenge

Photo of the food that Annie Ohana bought for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Bought $21 dollars worth of food. The plan is as follows: 150gr of yogurt with sprinkling of sunflower seeds for breakfast each day. 50gr of salad plus two eggs for lunch A banana as a snack for 5 days Vegetables plus couscous for a second snack… And for dinner … beans and tuna … plus couscous. This will have to be measured down to the last bit … no room for error … no room for side snacks like nuts, fresh fruit. Shopping was hard … 18 hour days with stress levels… Read More

Lily Wong, Prep for the Challenge

Photo of Lily Wong’s food for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Post #1 – The Night before the Challenge (November 2, 2015) Initially, when I first registered for the challenge, I wasn’t nervous about the challenge at all but I was excited to have this learning experience. How naïve was I! However, as the weeks went by, I became very aware of how little $21 was and how easily it could be spent in a day. Even as I was shopping for groceries for the week, I felt stressed and disappointed because I realized how limited I was in my choices. I didn’t… Read More

Mairi Buhler, Prep for the Challenge

Mairi Buhler’s food for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge.

My food for the week. I really thought I could do better. My strategy was to eat the same think for breakfast every day and rotate two entrees throughout the week for lunch and dinner. Items I left in the cart and could not afford: cherry tomatoes and crackers….the foods I was planning on having as snacks. My bill came in at $20.86

Cherie Devisser, Prep for the Challenge

Photo of Cherie Devisser’s food for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Day T -1 and counting… Well tomorrow is the first day of my experience living on the same benefits of someone living on welfare. The weekend was challenging finding $21 worth of food with any sense of nutritional value. You can’t buy nutrition in this kind of budget. Worried about how I will feel this week with all of the crazy unknown garbage I will ingest in the coming 7 days. I had a thought as I went through the shopping process. I realized when all you have is $21 to spend,… Read More

Ilene Toth, Prep for the Challenge

Photo of Ilene’s Food for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Well it has been a very interesting day. My daughter Tiffene has decided to join the challenge with me. We had a whole $42.00 to spend for our food this week. Seriously I cannot believe how little this amount buys. I have attached a picture of “Team Toth” (Tiffene and I) as well as a picture of the food we bought for the week. We paid $36.79, leaving just over $5.00 for bread and/or fruit for later in the week. The Food Challenge begins on Tuesday November 3, 2015, I will do… Read More

Oriana, Prep for the Challenge

Food that Oriana bought for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

I am taking the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge in British Columbia. I will live off of $21 food budget for 1 week. I am a 37 year old Vancouver resident on disability. On disability you get $900 a month and welfare $610. I am very lucky that a few years ago I was given a spot in B.C. housing because I needed to transition out of a group home. My normal food budget is $60 a week. Before B.C housing, and before the group home I was living in a basement suite… Read More

Sharon Feener, Prep for the Challenge

Sharon Feener’s Food for the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

As some of you already know, I’ve signed up to do this years Raise the Rates challenge here in BC. But you may be asking what exactly it is… Over 175,000 people in BC rely on welfare, of which over 30,000 are children. Nearly 4% of the population of BC live on welfare, and it has been near this level since 2009, in the fallout from the 2008 recession. The majority of people, 65%, on welfare are people with disabilities. Welfare payments have been frozen since April 2007, over 8 years. They… Read More

Bif Naked and Jenny Kwan to take the 2015 Welfare Food Challenge

Bif Naked and Jenny Kwan with members of Raise the Rates Coalition at press conference at Aboriginal Front Door on Oct, 27th to help promote the 4th Annual Welfare Food Challenge

On Oct. 27, the Raise the Rates Coalition announced their 4th annual Welfare Food Challenge at the Aboriginal Front Door in Vancouver. Singer Bif Naked is taking the challenge for the second time and new Member of Parliament for Vancouver East, Jenny Kwan, is taking it for the first time. Both women say they will spend that week eating only what food they can buy for $21. Read the full news release here or download the PDF. Stay tuned for updates and follow us on Facebook for all the latest news!