Friday, Oct. 3, 2014

BC News

What's Left for Food?

Bif Naked to take Welfare Food Challenge

Released by Trish Garner, BC Poverty Reduction Coalition/ Photo Tamara Herman

 

Bif Naked (L to R), Bill Hopwood, Fraser Stewart, Victoria Bull at a press conference Thursday.

 

oday, Thursday, October 2 Bif Naked announced the 3rd Annual Welfare Food Challenge organized by Raise the Rates. The Challenge will run from Thursday October 16, World Food Day, to Wednesday October the 22. In this week, people in BC will be eating a ‘welfare diet’ only spending $21 for a week’s food.

 

After paying for shelter, bus pass, basic phone and some basic hygiene, a single person on welfare of $610 a month has only $21 a week left for food. This is less than half the amount of money that the Dietitians of Canada recommend a person should spend for a basic healthy diet.


Bif Naked explained why she is taking the challenge, "I feel it is part of my responsibility, as a citizen and a human, to address, and bring awareness to the fact that more people in BC are living below the poverty line than anywhere else in the country.


“I really do believe strongly in raising welfare rates. I was on welfare until I got a job.  I know exactly what it is like. $3 a day for food, let that marinate.”


She encouraged other people across BC to join her taking the challenge, “The Welfare Food Challenge is important because the only way our community can truly understand the reality of poverty, is to walk in the shoes of those who are living and experiencing it, even if only for a few days. I encourage everyone to try to eat on this for one week. It will be an enlightening and integral revelation for many BC families, and it may serve as a real catalyst for change."


Fraser Stewart said, “Living on basic welfare is practically impossible, health is an issue. The government knows this, but hasn’t raised welfare in nearly 8 years.” Victoria Bull, who is raising her grand daughter on welfare, pointed out that, “Living on welfare is not a choice. Things just happen. Families are struggling to meet basic needs.” 


Bill Hopwood, Raise the Rates Organizer, stated that “Welfare has not been raised for over 7 years so has fallen in real value by $75. The government only allows $375 a month for rent and rents have soared, with the cost of even a single room occupancy now being around $450, so people go without food to pay for inadequate housing.”


Raise the Rents invites people across BC to join the Welfare Food Challenge with Bif Naked and others to publicize the need for a raise in welfare as part of a plan to end poverty in BC.

 

 

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