Interview with Robyn Turner, RD

Photo of Robyn Turner

Robyn Turner, RD was interviewed by John Vosper of Valley Country AM in Vanderhoof, BC on Saturday, October 22, 2016. She is a Northern Health Dietitian for Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Fort. St. James. You can listen to the interview here:

Graphic Recording from the 2016 Welfare Food Challenge Town Hall. By Tiare Jung.

Graphic Recording from the 2016 Welfare Food Challenge Town Hall by Tiare Jung

People who want much higher welfare rates took over Vancouver City Council Chambers on Sunday, October 23. They gathered to talk about what it was like to eat on just $18 a week, and what needs to be done about the dire poverty that the BC government is forcing people on welfare to endure. However, the takeover was helped by the city that donated the space and passed a proclamation declaring last week, Raise the Rates week. October 16–22 was the 5th annual Welfare Food Challenge. This year over 200 people from… Read More

Welfare Challenge takers call for higher welfare rates and the eradication of poverty

Download the End of the 2016 Welfare Food Challenge News Release (PDF). View and Download Photos from the Welfare Food Challenge Town Hall Meeting Media Release For Immediate Release October 23, 2016 Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territory People who want much higher welfare rates took over Vancouver City Council Chambers on Sunday, October 23. They gathered to talk about what it was like to eat on just $18 a week, and what needs to be done about the dire poverty that the BC government is forcing people on welfare to endure. However,… Read More

#WelfareFoodChallenge and #Raise the Rates

Check out what people have been tweeting during the Welfare Food Challenge. #WelfareFoodChallenge #RaiseTheRates

Ilene Toth, Day 7

Reflections on the Welfare Food Challenge. Posted on on October 23, 2016. Yes it is Day 7 for the annual welfare food challenge. If you have been following me this week you will know that I took on this challenge for the second year. This year was different because I had my two youngest children (Tabatha 10 & Telohan 9) join me in the challenge. What is this challenge about I have been asked. Well it is to bring attention that the current monthly amount that people on social assistance (welfare)… Read More

DJ Larkin, Day 6

An officer of the court. Posted at I’m a lawyer. I have an obligation to respect the law and to uphold it. So stealing isn’t in my repertoire of survival strategies. But today as I pondered how the local McDonald’s would feel about sharing some of their salt, pepper and ketchup with me I caught myself thinking “If I had to do this all the time I know that I’d steal food.” I even started to make a mental list of items. Cheese ranked highly. We are living in a prosperous… Read More

Ian Marcuse, Day 7

Posted on the Grandview Woodland Food Connection website. I ended my Challenge this Sat evening, a few hours before the technical end of the the week, at a Witness event where a feast was served. It seemed unsettling, but somewhat fitting to end my Challenge where delicious healthy food was offered and shared amongst a group of research participants and their family and friends (witnesses) who were involved in a place-based learning project exploring traditional environmental knowledge and sustainability. The dinner was amazing – salmon, wild rice, and roasted vegetables and all… Read More

Robyn Turner, Day 7

Challenge Complete (basically). Last night of the challenge. The only food item I have remaining is a half container of peanut butter. While I am happy to see the end, it is also tough because I am one of the fortunate ones who gets to eat nutritious on a budget greater than $18. Before going into the overall wrap-up, I want to talk about today. The last few days were better, still fatigued and worn out and hungry, but the end was close. I also scored some media attention! This however, took… Read More

Reflections on the Welfare Food Challenge by Katrina Pacey at PIVOT

Photo of groceries bought for $18 for 1 week

This year, seven members of the Pivot team took the Welfare Food Challenge. They have posted some of their reflections here and we’ve posted them below. Over the past week, seven members of our team have been participating in the fifth annual Welfare Food Challenge. We pledged to feed ourselves for seven days for $18, just like people on income assistance do each and every week. That’s $18 for everything. No dipping into the stockpile of canned food or condiments in our cupboards. No borrowing from friends and family. What $18… Read More

Paula Macfarlane, Day 6

Photo of bread dough in a bowl

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… Read More

Andrea Reimer, Day 3

Sam Bradd illustrates Andrea Reimer's Day 3 of the 2016 Welfare Food Challenge

Sam Bradd has been illustrating some of the experiences of Welfare Food Challenge Participants. On October 19th, he posted the reflections of Andrea Reimer on Day 3. @sambradd Day 3, #WelfareFoodChallenge drawing: @andreareimer reflects how cheap food always has a cost for someone. @RaisetheRates #RaiseTheRates

Toth Family, Day 5

The Toth Family decides to stop the Challenge. They learned a lot over the past 5 days . . .

Trina Moulin, Day 5

It’s Thursday evening, and I have a bit of energy left for an update. Honestly, I went into this week with the spirit of ‘mind over matter’. Last weekend, I felt as though I was about to embark on a challenge. I mean, other people have gone on diets before. Living for only one week on a limited amount of food couldn’t be that bad. Well, I soon learned that mind over matter doesn’t function so well when you’re hungry. I soon became grateful for things that I don’t usually like or… Read More

Shakira Miracle, Day 4

These last few days have been eye opening in profound ways. I learned things about myself, the social system, and the truth about poverty. I’ll start with myself. I learned that I am not suffering by drinking the work coffee. There is a Keurig generously provided by United Way of the Fraser Valley, who also provide an office space for Vibrant, their kitchen space and the very cup you see in the photo. In addition, staff members who are coffee drinkers anonymously buy Kcups from their own pockets and share them with… Read More

Bryce Cassavant, Day 3

Bryce recorded his experiences on Day 3 on video:

Toth Family, Day 4

Like for most participants, Day 4 is a tough one for the Toth Family.

Why I’m Not Taking the Welfare Food Challenge by Trish Garner from

Why I’m Not Taking the Welfare Food Challenge With my job and kids, I knew I couldn’t afford to be hungry this week. But I had a choice. By Trish Garner,, Thursday, October 20, 2016 This week, people all over British Columbia are taking the Welfare Food Challenge — they are eating the way the provincial government expects people on welfare to eat. A standard welfare cheque in B.C. is $610 a month, and has not been increased for almost a decade. Organizers of the challenge calculate that after rent and… Read More

Toth Family, Day 3

Tabatha and Telohan sacrifice Oreos and candy. Talk about a challenge! Such good sports.

Samantha, Day 2

Photo of Samantha's soup

My head was still pounding when I woke up and I forced myself to eat my oatmeal. I wish I had some money left over to purchase some cinnamon to make it taste a little better. I know it’s nutritious and filling, but I’m bored of it already. I’d rather be bored than hungry, though. I went to work and my headache continued. The lights started to be much too bright and the sounds of the office were becoming unbearable. It was developing into a migraine. Luckily I carry prescription medication with… Read More

Toth Family, Day 2

Day 2 for the Toth Family!

Cynnimon Rain, Day 1

My grocery list for the week included the following. I thought I would have money to buy some vegetables however my total was already at $16.10 and want to keep the $1.90 to buy some fresh leafy green vegetables but could not find any for $1.90 today ☹ 500 grams Oatmeal 2 lbs Jasmine Rice 400 grams Red Split Lentils 400 grams Barley 640 grams Soft Flour Whole Wheat Tortillas (10) 5 bananas/2 oranges 2 fig bars Breakfast each day – cup cooked oatmeal plus banana late in morning until gone Late… Read More

Angela Kruger, Day 1

Photo of bowl of rice and lentiles wiht 2 poached eggs on top

quiet /// I don’t know what to blog about. I had a regular day and I have very low energy. I spoke a lot less than I usually do. I’m quiet. I ate this: Breakfast was my favourite meal of the day. Couldn’t afford coffee. These were like, quite bad. Well, and a banana. And then I went to soccer. My coach looked up and went Angela! as I arrived. He was happy to see me because we didn’t have many players today, and a good number of the players we did… Read More

Toth Family, Day 1

The amazing Toth family has been documenting their experiences during the Welfare Food Challenge on video. Watch it to see how they’re managing!

Robyn Turner, Day 1

Photo of Campbell’s vegetable soup with 2.5 parts water, lentils, orzo

It has been 24 hours since I started the welfare challenge. Eating wise, I am carefully rationing my food. I think I have enough, but there is fear of running out. So far my meals are: B: Toast with peanut butter, maybe a banana L: Soup with slice of bread D: Campbell’s vegetable soup with 2.5 parts water, lentils, orzo (picture below) This actually made a fair amount, which should last a few days. It is also filling, contains various sources of fibre, and some protein. A good combination. But, I am… Read More

Samantha, Day 1

Day 1 I started off the day with a large bowl of oatmeal and a mug of black tea, both sweetened with sugar. As soon as I tasted the tea I knew it was a giant mistake. I will never buy dollar store tea again. I am a huge tea drinker and so I wanted to include tea in my budget to prevent caffeine withdrawal. This was $1.58 that I could have spent much better elsewhere. I won’t even drink this stuff so it was a total waste of 9% of my… Read More

Darcie Bennett, Day 1

Illustration of Welfare Food Challenge groceries by Sam Bradd

Darcie Bennett from Pivot Legal Society is taking this year’s #WelfareFoodChallenge and living on a welfare budget of $18 of groceries this week. Here’s what she had to say about day one, drawn by visual artist Sam Bradd.

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… Read More

Samantha, Prep for the Challenge

$18 to buy an entire week’s worth of groceries. Could you do it, and manage to maintain a nutritious and palatable diet at the same time? When I first decided to participate in the 2016 challenge I was pretty confident that I could make $18 work … I lived below the poverty line as a teenager and my family subsisted on welfare for a number of years. I know how to stretch a budget to the absolute breaking point, although it’s been a long time since I’ve needed to do it. My… Read More

Bryce Cassavant, Prep for the Challenge

Bryce begins the Welfare Food Challenge.

Bif Naked Supports Welfare Food Challenge

Bif Naked has been a solid supported of the Welfare Food Challenge. This year she is out of the country so cannot take part . She has sent this letter of support. Bif remains a solid – a rock solid – supporter. thanks from Raise the Rates Victory for Others, Love for All I am incredibly moved whenever I meet people trying to make a difference in the community. It is really these people who embody Gandhi’s great call to action: Be The Change. That is exactly what the Welfare Food Challenge… Read More