The Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks supports Raise the Rates’ Annual Welfare Food Challenge, November 1-7, 2017
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: $19.
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 $19 dollars (Why $19? 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 $710 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?
Follow the Vancouver Neighbourhood Food Networks in the 2017 Challenge:
Ian Marcuse, Grandview Woodland Food Connection
I work as the community food developer for the Grandview Woodland Food Connection, a Neighbourhood Food Network based out of Britannia Community Centre and where I have worked for the past 10 years. I am also a 30 year resident of Grandview Woodland with deep roots in the community.
I bring to my work a passion for community building and engagement, environmental activism, and commitment to building a more just world. In my position I strive to learn how best to respond to community food needs through an inclusive and dignified community development approach, that also includes understanding the systemic conditions that result in poverty and food insecurity.
Food access programming alone will not solve food security, therefore events such as the Welfare Food Challenge are important in raising public awareness of the conditions of poverty and systems change needed.
Follow Ian on the Welfare Food Challenge from November 1-7, 2017: gwfoodconnection.com
Elise Barber, Renfrew-Collingwood Food Institute
I am a queer white woman from a middle class background. I have never experienced food insecurity, and I spend my days working with many folks who do.
I’m driven to do this challenge because our current welfare rates are appallingly inadequate. We’re long overdue for a substantial increase in rates, and a comprehensive poverty reduction plan.
I am facing this next week knowing this is not a challenge that can be won. I hope my experience can serve as an experiential tool for building awareness within myself and my community – generating dialogue, curiosity and action.
Follow Elise on the Welfare Food Challenge from November 1-7, 2017 : elisewelfarefoodchallenge.wordpress.com