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

Friday, February 7, 2014

Today was an interesting day with the start of the poverty challenge. After the kick off Gerry went back to work and I (Ange) took the kids to the library. We love the library, its warm in winter, cool in summer. The library has awesome books, movies, computers, wii, crafts and the Best Start Hub is also located there. Another wonderful thing about the library is it is free. For our family the library truly is our entertainment and we spent 2 hours there. I got to use a computer there to check my e-mails and get some business done that way. I know the computers are used by many people in the community who do not have their own. The kids borrowed two movies to watch at home and we each picked favorite books. We find this a huge cost savings in the area of entertainment. From the library we walked to the grocery story to start shopping and spent $55 of our $75. I managed to buy many items but was most happy for the flour, sugar, oatmeal, eggs and margerine. I plan to bake muffins and cookies with this to add to lunches. I still suspect we will be hungry and the kids are finding this hard. I am sad that I couldn't afford coffee and coffee filters. :( The filters alone cost more than a bag of tea so tea it was. When we unpacked groceries at home Gerry said I needed to return the shampoo that I bought. He grew up with the Sunlight soap that came in a large bar and it was used for everything-laundry, body, hair, washing. He said there was no reason we couldn't use the liquid dish soap I bought for bathing and hair as well. Guess I will be walking back to the store. The kids have not enjoyed all the walking. We walked to school in the morning and I am very thankful for my van as I would not want my kids to walk down Airport Rd. on a regular basis in winter. I truly did not feel safe and know that there are many people and school kids who have to walk that road and have no other choice. Our other long walk was from down town to home in the Round Lake area with all our groceries. Kate made it just past the Neechee Friendship Center before she needed a ride on the sled our groceries were in. To tell you the truth, we stopped at Pro Auto Glass where Gerry works and caught a ride with him the rest of the way home. I was glad Gerry had the van at work as he normally walks. If you want to see your life flash before your eyes, walk down Railroad St. in winter. I was nervous the whole time that we would be hit. This is also an area of town that I know many people who have no vehicle walk often. Talk about "A Walk In Other's Shoes"!! Supper was fish sticks (only 2 each, Gerry said he would never survive off of that), potato wedges (potatoes on sale, woot,woot) and mixed veggies. Evening snack was popcorn which was a staple when I grew up. I think the boys are most worried about being hungry and they really seem to have hollow legs. I can't even imagine how helpless a mom feels seeing her kids hungry on a regular basis. I know in my home the pre-supper hunger today put kids in a cranky mood. I am sure many behavioural and learning difficulties in school are directly related to kids being hungry. Oh, before I forget, the daily challenge. Our challenge was, "It is Feb. 14 and it is dress red day. The whole family needs to find something red to wear that did not come from their closet." We bought a sheet of red poster paper for $1 and plan to make head bands with hearts all around it. Owen and Kate said they would even wear them to school when they have Dress Red day on the real Feb. 14. I am really worried about my remaining $20. I don't know if it will be enough to make it the week and I think I will need more food but the next few days will tell....

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