Welfare Food Challenge taken on by B.C. family of six
'We want to convince the government to give more money to people on welfare'
A B.C. family with four young children is living off a welfare-level food budget to highlight the challenges faced by those living in poverty.
"This week, we're in the bulk section of the store," said Vancouver resident Elizabeth Nider as she reviewed her family's groceries.
The Niders are used to eating fresh salmon for dinner. But this week, they've taken on the Welfare Food Challenge, an initiative organized by poverty advocates Raise the Rates. The challenge is to live off of only $21 for food, per person, for six days.
- Homeless people's life expectancy half of average in B.C.
- B.C. has highest child poverty rate in Canada: report
- Adequate food not an option on social assistance
The activity is meant to highlight how difficult it is for those on welfare to buy food, and to pressure the province to raise welfare rates from their current $610 per month — an amount meant to cover expenses including rent, food, and transportation.
The group says 170,000 people live in poverty in B.C., facing challenges every day of the year.
It's a message Elizabeth Nider and her eight-year-old son, Yosef, agree with.
"We want to convince the government to give more money to people on welfare," said Yosef Nider.
Elizabeth Nider also says the challenge serves to educate her children about those who are less fortunate than they are.
"I wanted to expose my kids to the fact that many people are using welfare, and it could even be people that we know," said Elizabeth Nider.
B.C. celebrity Bif Naked took on the challenge for the second year in a row, as did B.C. NDP MP Jenny Kwan, who says she wants to make poverty reduction a federal issue.
"We need a national strategy to end poverty," said Kwan. "In a country as rich as ours, we can do this."
<a href="https://twitter.com/darcynews">@darcynews</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/suziezed">@suziezed</a> My grocery list! Couldn't get everything for $21, alas, will ration and divide by seven days. <a href="https://t.co/5LLZW4ak4G">pic.twitter.com/5LLZW4ak4G</a>—@bifnaked
<a href="https://twitter.com/bifnaked">@bifnaked</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MelanieMark">@melaniemark</a> & 100 others doing the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WelfareFoodChallenge?src=hash">#WelfareFoodChallenge</a>. $21 not a lot of food <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RaisetheRates?src=hash">#RaisetheRates</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/vanpoli?src=hash">#vanpoli</a> <a href="https://t.co/QDxvBkQOIy">pic.twitter.com/QDxvBkQOIy</a>—@JennyKwanBC
With files from Dan Burritt