Learning to live on three dollars a day

Cranbrook woman takes on Welfare Food Challenge to raise awareness for income assistance rates

Imagine having a grocery budget of only $21 per week.

That’s $3 a day.

A local Cranbrook woman recently completed the Welfare Food Challenge, a public awareness campaign that is looking to increase income assistance rates for low income people and families.

Darcy Victor spent the week of Oct. 16-22 living out the food challenge, budgeting only $21 over seven days for her grocery budget.

Needless to say, there were obvious challenges that come with such a tight budget, Victor said.

“Basically once the rent and the bills and everything are paid for someone, an able bodied person living on income assistance, that is all that is left per week to purchase food,” said Victor.

The main challenge is trying to stretch the grocery budget to cover the week with healthy meal options, which was extremely difficult, added Victor.

“The first challenge is looking at the prices in the store,” she said. “To actually have to physically sit there and look at the prices—and finding small quantities of food—was challenging. You can’t just buy a cup or two of rice at Safeway or Superstore.”

As part of the challenge, she wasn’t allowed to use any resources from the Food Bank, but she managed to purchase food in small quantities from the Salvation Army.

“I got $8.50 worth of food from there, and included a cup of brown sugar, two cups of oatmeal, four cups of rice, two cups of brown beans and kidney beans,” Victor said.

It wasn’t long until her diet, which was suffering due to the budgetary constraints of the challenge, started to impact her physical and mental well-being.

“Throughout the challenge, the first couple of days, I experienced headaches, my stomach was constantly growling and my mind shifted after the second day to actually focussing on lunch—I didn’t have money for snacks so actually making my lunch till suppertime,” Victor said.

The fifth day was the best because she was able to make a soup that included some vegetables, she said.

It was a challenge that hit pretty close to home for Victor, as she works in the social services field with youth probation and as a low-income family consultant.

“I really could relate,” Victor said. “I only had to do it for a week, but it really put me in a place of understanding when families and people I work with talk to me about how they are thinking about food.

“Where are they going to get that next meal? How are they going to feed their children — that type of thing.”

The campaign, a province wide initiative, is headed by Raise the Rates—a coalition of community groups and organizations concerned with the level of poverty and homelessness in B.C.

There will be a food drive on Monday at the Community Connections building beside the Memorial Arena (the old Bingo Hall) from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Food items dropped off will be donated locally to low-income families.

Just Posted

Scholarships winners included Emma Andrews (CBT $2000), Declan Armstrong (Kimberley Teachers Association $2000), Darah Clarke (COTR $2000), Ryan Renaud (COTR Entrance Scholarship $8500), Chaes Flegal (Kimberley Elks Club $2000) and Georgia Polomski-McKinnon (CBT $2000).
Selkirk grad scholarship winners

The following Selkirk Secondary students won scholarships at graduation this past weekend:… Continue reading

With high temperatures forecasted for the week and into the next, Interior Health is offering some tips on how to keep yourself safe from heat-related illness. (Pixabay)
Interior Health offers safety tips as temperatures soar

‘Too much heat can be harmful to your health’

Kurt Swanson’s dog Kona takes a break from the heat on the Summer Solstice near Cranbrook, B.C. (Kurt Swanson photo)
Very warm temperatures forecast across the Kootenays this weekend

Nelson, Castlegar forecast to hit 39, Cranbrook 37

The race route takes riders over the summit of Gray Creek Pass from Kootenay Laketo Kimberley. Bohdan Doval file.
Bike race from Merritt to Fernie will be coming over Gray Creek Pass on June 28

Tom Lymbery of the Gray Creek Store says that a 1000 kilometre… Continue reading

Kimberley Search and Rescue were able to quickly respond to a call for service and transport an injured mountain biker to East Kootenay Regional Hospital over the weekend. Kimberley SAR file photo.
Kimberley Search and Rescue respond to injured mountain biker on Bootleg Mountain

Kimberley Search and Rescue responded to a call for service this past… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Point Roberts is part of the mainland United States but not physically connected to it, to reach the community by land one must pass through Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Closed Canadian border leaves Point Roberts’ only grocery store on verge of closure

‘We’re Americans but we’re not attached to America. It’s so easy to forget we’re here,’ says owner Ali Hayton of Point Roberts, Wash.

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Most Read