Katelyn Siggelkow

Photo of Katelyn Siggelkow

I recently moved to the downtown eastside of Vancouver to learn from and experience the values, strengths and needs of this unique, diverse neighbourhood. I have been inspired by my many new friends here who live meaningful lives on a meagre welfare budget. I embarked on this challenge in solidarity with these friends and neighbours. To better understand their struggle, and to advocate for raising the welfare rates, I have committed to living on 3$ a day for 7 days. Here are the bogs I have written so far about my experience:… Read More


My game plan was to buy really good deals at a veggie stand, then hit the grocery stores after catching the fliers. Here is the initial produce purchase which came to $5.40 for Derek & I.

Getting ready for the Challenge

I’m just about to go grocery shopping for the Welfare Food Challenge, the week of eating on only $26. I’ve had a big breakfast of bacon and eggs, and lots of cups of tea because I won’t be able to get much protein or my caffeine fix during the week.

Grocery shopping

So it’s done – I went shopping and got my food! I did most of my shopping for grains in the bulk section, so I could buy exactly the amount I needed. I got brown basmati rice (I really can’t stand the boring flavour of plain ol’ brown rice.)

Grocery shopping for the Challenge

Today after going for a swim at Hillcrest pool I cycled up to Little India to buy some groceries, figuring I should be able to find healthy, affordable food there. I bought a 2 lb bag of lentils for $4.99 and a 2 lb. bag of rice for $3.99. 3 limes at 6 for a dollar (so 50cents), a carrot for 16 cents, an eggplant for 99 cents, three potatoes for 69 cents, and a Serrano chili pepper for 4 cents.

Ready to start

Well, I’ve gotten everything on my list and I have $2.67 left to spend later in the week. I’ll be having oatmeal with soy milk for breakfast, and beans, rice and veggies for lunch and dinner, occasionally swapping in potato instead of rice.

The Challenge starts on Tuesday!

Momentum is building for the Welfare Food Challenge’s launch on Tuesday. 58 participants have formally signed up for the Challenge, and many more are doing it informally. And it’s not too late to sign up! More posts will be coming soon as our participants share their experiences with grocery shopping and getting ready for the Challenge. I (Andrina) am going to try the vegan approach for the week – beans and rice!

Ted Bruce – Getting ready to take the Challenge

The challenge seems to have really struck a chord with folks I work with. Several have related to me personal stories about life on social assistance – perhaps as a child growing up or about a friend or relative on welfare. I keep expecting someone to tell me that it’s no big deal to manage on $26 of food for a week. But no one has said that.