Through my work with the Fife House Homeless Outreach Program I worked every day with people who did not have enough food to eat. The vast majority of my clients were on social assistance and only receive enough money to spend $6.65/day on food ($46.55/week). Actually many have to survive on less because they have additional expenses like moving costs or challenges that inhibit their ability to budget.
I try as much as possible to eat healthy and I struggled to make a meal plan that would still be relatively healthy. I realized that I no longer had the luxury to just think about food as pleasure. I had to think about what would fuel me through the day and keep me healthy. I did not want to eat too much processed food and so I spent a lot of time on Sunday cooking meals for the week. I couldn’t help but think about the people who cannot do this. For example, I often worked with clients who had limited or no access to a kitchen. Also, people who are homeless and move into housing often do not have things like pots and pans and it can take a lot of time to accumulate those items.
My participation in the Thrive $6.65 Challenge has negatively impacted my social life. Before I decided to participate I had made dinner plans with an old friend. I had to cancel because I could not afford to pay for dinner. A friend wanted to come over to spend time with me on Sunday and I told her that she was welcome but I could not afford to feed her and she would have to bring her own food. It made me think that a lot of people would be embarrassed to say that to their friends. I was invited out for drinks on Saturday night but if I go I will have to drink water all night. If I go people will probably ask me all night why I am not drinking. A lot of people would not go. No wonder why people living in poverty end up isolated and experience depression.
In an ideal world the government would address this problem by raising social assistance rates. Until that happens our only option is to find ways to alleviate the problem. The Thrive $6.65 Challenge is hoping to raise $1500 to provide a free monthly meal to people in a Fife House residence. I hope that you will consider donating http://goo.gl/JKWYXD.