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 daily 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.

Griffiths Family

Griffiths Family

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Challenge is coming to an end

Tomorrow is the last day of the challenge and I feel like I have barely touched the surface of challenges I would face if on OW for a period of time, the kids are anticipating getting their electronics back but I am proud of them at sticking it out.  Anaiya said she's getting tired of rice but could keep it up if she had soy sauce.  I went out and got some pudding that was on sale before swimming as a snack for the kiddos and have a total of $7 left after travel.  I wore my glasses all week and only wore eyeliner so I guess that $7 would have paid for that.  I got my free coffees today too and was given a Tim Horton's coffee at swimming...I really miss coffee and think I would just spend the money next time.

The kids school have been amazing this week with getting the word out, I haven't been able to get there but the information sheet went around to all of the classrooms and Anaiya had a chance to present it to a few of the classrooms.  One of the children asked her about the days challenge and she kinda fibbed and said it was taking something off of the budget, the reality is that it was Lice.  Lice is such a taboo thing and she was embarrassed to talk about it.  SMB has sent out information to parents about raising awareness of poverty this week and are doing a fundraiser for the Fellowship this Friday along with a wear red day.  I am happy the school has gone out of their way to help children understand the challenges people face every day and hope that it helps them look at people in this situation with more compassion.

Another thing I'd like to say before the challenge is over, I filled out the health units food cost calculator which is based on the nutritious food basket 2013 results.  Our monthly food cost is estimated to be $737.44 which would be $121.65 over 5 days...more than double the OW PNA amount.  Now one thing I didn't look into until now is that OW and ODSB recently went through a bit of a rate restructure when it comes to the amount for children.  What they did was separate the childrens portion out into the OCB (Ontario Child Benefit) which is now $101 per child, they increased adult portions but not equally. On OW Single adults received an additional $20 per month which is a $14 top up plus a 3% increase.  Single parents and couples got a 1% increase which is not even a significant dollar amount to mention in their report.   The reason I mentioned this is I would qualify to receive the additional $101 per child per month which would equal $33.32 more to my budget for 5 days which still doesn't bring me close to the food baskets estimated amount.

I am grateful for the opportunity to do this challenge with my family and hope that we have helped our community in some way understand what is out there.  I hope to see you at the Health Unit's city view location tomorrow at noon to finish the challenge and cant wait to hear the other families experience and read the their blog when I get Wifi back.

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