A Walk In Other's Shoes - Poverty Challenge - Family

This challenge is asking families to attempt to stay within a social assistance budget for five days. Ontario Works benefits provide a maximum basic needs for a couple with any amount of children is $458.00; this sets the challenge budget at $75.00 per family, or $15 per day. A single parent would receive $344.00 per month, therefore, their challenge budget will be $60.00 or $12.00 per day.

The budget includes all food and drink, entertainment, some personal supplies and transportation costs. Each family will be given challenge cards which will reveal additional challenges to be completed before the end of each day. As the family completes the challenge, they will blog about their experience.

Boucher Family

Boucher Family

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Nearing the End

Yes we are almost done the poverty challenge. It has been a good experience for our family. We are really proud of the kids for not playing video games or computer. We have watched some Olympics but the kids never watched their own shows and reminded each other not to play the electronics or watch T.V. It has also been interesting to discover what was hard for us and what was not too hard. I actually found the grocery shopping on the food budget not too bad. In fact, when Gerry told a friend what our meal plan was for the week he said "isn't that what you normally eat". The part of grocery shopping that made my brain tired was actually thinking meals through so we could have good food on the budget. Normally, with this same meal plan I would not have to think "will I have enough margarine for biscuits or enough milk and eggs to bake?" If I ran out I would just drive my van to the store and get some more. I managed not to run out of any food and had about $10 left over but really had to think things through. What I could not have afforded on this budget was junk food, ice cream (the kids really like ice cream), quick lunch add ons and juice. But hey, better for our waist lines. But really, never having a treat can be discouraging and I know the kids would like to have some of the same foods that their friends get. The other items this budget would not have afforded are what I call interesting foods-nuts, cheeses, veggies like orange and yellow peppers and fruit like pineapple, grapefruit and kiwi. I remember when Gerry and I first got married and our food budget was like the poverty challenge budget. I would get so tired of eating the same old healthy food. I never even looked at a pineapple and would stand in front of the green peppers for the longest time wondering if I could afford one that week. Wow we have come a long way, I will put a block of cheese and a green pepper in my shopping cart without a thought. This week was a great reminder on how things used to be, how blessed we are right now and how many people still live with this degree of poverty or even much less. What we found tiring was walking everywhere. Yesterday Owen was sick and the walk home from school was not fun. If we were not on this challenge I would have picked him up with the van. That would not have been a choice for people who could not afford a vehicle or gas for it. I would also find poverty isolating. I am involved in the community as a Scout leader, Red Cross volunteer and in church activities. I just would not have been able to do any of this without wheels or Internet communication. How lonely. Tomorrow the challenge wraps up by lunch. Gerry and I had to borrow a car so we can get there as we are both working tomorrow in different directions. So, Gerry put his walking boots one more time and hoofed it to a friends house to pick it up. at least we have a friend willing to do this for us. Not everyone would. Tomorrow morning I will crunch the numbers for this week in my final blog. P.S.- didn't have time to buy our icecream treat today, maybe tomorrow. And my coffee two coffee filters are still in great shape!! Will use again tomorrow morning.

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