Food is at the heart of family and community

After almost giving up on the first day, I finished the Welfare Food Challenge yesterday. For people on welfare, the challenge continues. And it’s not just about hunger. Through my week on welfare, I learned firsthand that $26 is simply not enough to eat a healthy diet but I also came to realize how much food matters beyond the issue of hunger. Food is at the heart of family and community.

I couldn’t do this without a full kitchen

I needed a change from rice and beans so I decided to use my dried chickpeas. After soaking them and boiling them for hours, I kept half for lunch and dinner tomorrow and made the other half into hummus. Although it’s not really hummus without tahini, oil, salt, and lemon juice – it’s just glop!

Surrounded by good food (I can’t have)

Same thing for dinner again tonight: rice, beans and broccoli. At least it goes down easier with the added apple sauce but the boredom is getting to me. Especially because I have to watch my kids eating (and wasting) so much good food.

It’s not fast food

I just ate lentils and a potato. Again! It didn’t take long to heat up today but yesterday it took a couple of hours to make the lentil stew. Chopping up the ingredients and simmering everything long enough to soften up the lentils takes time. I have the luxury that I can work at home if necessary so that’s what I had to do to keep an eye on the stew.

Already feeling the effects of the Welfare Diet

It’s only day two and I’m already having a harder time concentrating at work. I just had to take some pain-killers for a caffeine withdrawal headache before it turned into a migraine. I’m susceptible to those and they can knock me out for at least 24 hours so I had to nip it in the bud early. It’s probably against the rules of the challenge.

Shopping for groceries

Yesterday, I spent $25.77 on groceries and this is all I’ve got for the whole week: Lentils Chickpeas Rice Pinto beans 2 loaves of bread Dozen eggs

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.

Participant bio – Trish Garner

Name: Trish Garner Live: Mount Pleasant, Vancouver About myself: I’m the Community Organizer for the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition and a concerned parent of three children under 5. Why doing the Welfare Food Challenge: I’m taking the Welfare Food Challenge to raise awareness about the completely inadequate welfare rates people are expected to live on in British Columbia – $610 a month is simply not enough – and to urge the government to raise the rates! I’m also doing it because as a parent I can’t believe we allow children to go hungry on welfare in this… Read More