In 2012, Raise the Rates launched the first Welfare Food Challenge (see news release) and it ran from Tuesday, October th, World Food Day, until October 23rd. The week included World Poverty Day on October 17th and the challenge was to live for a week on the food that a single, able-bodied person on welfare would have – spending only $26. It was a big success with over 130 people taking part across the province including families, school and university students, people in work and seniors. We gained good mainstream and social media coverage. You can read about the experiences that participants had on the 2012 blog.
The 2nd Annual Welfare Food Challenge was from Wednesday, October 16th, 2013, World Food Day, until Wednesday October 23rd, 2013. Raise the Rates thanks the people across BC who took the Challenge, living for a week on only the food they could purchase with $26 dollars, the money a single able-bodied person on welfare has for food – every week. The people who took the Challenge were all hungry, many lost weight, suffered from a lack of nutrients, felt tired, stressed and irritable, and not as able to focus as usual. All of this after just one week of eating a welfare diet. Imagine the long-term impacts of this diet on people. People of all ages took the Challenge across the province, on Vancouver Island, in Prince George the Kootenays and greater Vancouver. Some blogged and put their bios here. Others have quietly taken the Challenge with no publicity talking to family and friends. Thanks to all of you.
The 3rd Annual Welfare Food Challenge was even more challenging as participants only had $21 to spend on food for the week due to the rise in rents to at least $450 for an SRO, which is well above the $375 shelter rate provided. The Challenge ran from Thursday October 16, World Food Day, to Wednesday October the 22. Over 100 people, of all ages and backgrounds, took the Challenge from across BC. Participants stressed the difficulties of living on $21 for food, even for one week. They pointed to the many benefits, socially and economically, of raising welfare and tackling poverty in BC. Thanks to all who took the Challenge. You can see how they did on the 2014 blog and participants’ personal blogs.
Check out this year’s blog to see how participants are doing!