A Walk in Other's Shoes: Poverty Challenge 2018
A Walk in Other’s Shoes is returning to this year’s Week of Action Against Poverty. This challenge is being undertaken by individuals in the community who have interests within the health field. Participants have been asked to attempt to stay within a social assistance benefits’ budget. A single person on Ontario Works would receive $337 monthly for all of their personal needs and $384 for all of their shelter costs. Because participants cannot replicate the housing conditions realistically, shelter costs are not included within this challenge. For the five day challenge, participants will have $11 daily to cover all food and drink, entertainment, some personal supplies and transportation costs. Each day, every participant will be given a challenge card which will reveal an unexpected challenge to be completed before the end of the day.
A Walk in Other’s Shoes is not a competitive challenge. It is a challenge that raises awareness of the hurdles that people living on social assistance face daily. As we within our community develop our own understanding, we can begin to reduce the barriers that they encounter and ultimately increase opportunities for increased prosperity for all. The challenge takes place February 10th-14th, 2018.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Final thoughts ...
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Fast forward to Day 5
I said I'd let you know how things went with the dinner on Saturday. The dinner itself was a spectacular success, if I say so myself. Appetizers included two kinds of corn chips (thin, and blue) with guacamole and mango salsa. The main was an incredibly nutrient-dense chili, served over brown rice. Dessert was a rough apple pastry topped with vanilla mousse. My guests all seemed to enjoy their meals, and while everyone left with a full stomach there was a good amount left over - which was a wonderful thing, since my trip to the grocery store was an epic fail.
I went intending to purchase just what I needed for the dinner party and live on what was left for the balance of the challenge. I thought that stretching my grocery dollar was one of the skills I had retained from the old days. Turns out, not so much. Not only do I not track the mounting total very accurately, but I have a habit of throwing in random items that aren't on the list but might enhance what I'm planning, or come in handy some other time. Like the half-price toilet paper screaming at me the minute I walked in the door. Who can say no to that deal? We all need it, right?
So when I got the check-out I was disappointed - but not overly surprised - to have spent my entire allowance essentially on the one meal. The good news is that there was enough chili left over to feed me - and another member of my household - for the remainder of the challenge. Lunch at work, and dinner at home.
Thankfully yesterday's challenge wasn't really a challenge - my favourite (and rich!) auntie offered to take me out to lunch, so I had a pass from the budget. Talk about a gift - the leftover chili was getting a bit low, so that allowed me to stretch it into today.
I'll admit I'm a bit tired of the stuff at this point, but I've been covering all the food groups. My recipe includes a whole bunch of veg, a ton of fibre, lots of complete protein, and not a whole lot of carbs (which I typically try to avoid).
Final score? Budgeting 0, nutrition 10. Also, exercise 10. I've been faithfully doing my podcast yoga workouts every morning, and between that and my new diet I'm beginning to feel like I might be shaping up a bit. Bonus!
Saturday, February 10, 2018
I've started my day with a yoga class. No gym or studio membership required - I download podcasts for a subscription fee of $0.25 a day. On the face of it more affordable than going out to a class, but ...
When I was poor, I didn't have a computer. Or internet. It was a long time ago, and those things barely existed or were just in their infancies. Neither did the flip phone - never mind the smart phone. But I know I wouldn't have been able to afford any of them. Yet another of the many things I take for granted these days ...
My first challenge is ironic. "It is a special occasion. Plan an outing with friends. You need to pay for yourself." In fact, today I am scheduled to entertain a group of my friends in my home with a gourmet dinner. My original menu plan had centered around Beef Wellington. That is no longer on the table. It's the morning of, and I'm struggling to figure out how I'm going to do this within my $55 budget for the week. But I'm determined to see what is possible, and how my friends respond. I keep trying to remind myself that it's about the friendships and the time we spend together, rather than impressing them with the product or the presentation. I'll let you know how that goes.