The Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks rallied support behind Raise the Rates’ 5th Annual Welfare Food Challenge, which began on October 16th, 2016, World Food Day.
Raise the Rates is a coalition of community groups and organizations concerned with the level of poverty and homelessness in British Columbia.
The Welfare Food Challenge takes place over one week. Participants commit to eating only what can be purchased with the money a welfare recipient receives: $18.
Due to the rising cost of rent, even for single room occupancy (SRO) in the Downtown Eastside participants will be expected to live on only the food they can purchase with $18 dollars (Why $18? for calculation). This calculation is based on the expectation that welfare recipients will have to pay rent and damage deposit, cell phone (necessary to look for work and contact the welfare office) and personal hygiene. We have dropped buying bus tickets, which is what many people on welfare often do, so that there is some money left for food. They either walk or hope for the goodwill of bus drivers – which is usually the case, but they do risk a $173 fine. Out of $610 there is very little money left for food. Full details at: https://welfarefoodchallenge.org/2016challenge/
To date, over 600 people have taken the Challenge, and this year the goal was to draw even more attention to the inadequacy of welfare rates, particularly with an election in the coming year. Raise the Rates is working hard to make poverty an election issue in 2017.
How you can help?
Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks participated in the Challenge. Read their stories below.
Ian Marcuse, Grandview Woodland Food Connection
Chantille and Sebastian, Gordon Neighbourhood House
Laura Gair, South Vancouver Neighbouhood Food Network
Rory Sutherland, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood House
Whittam Family, Grandview Woodland Food Connection