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

Friday, February 7, 2014

Challenge kickoff and Grocery Shopping with kids

The Poverty Challenge started today and it was a busy day for the kids and I, we were up early and off to the TV station to discuss the challenge.  We then went to the City hall to kick the challenge off and I was so happy when I read our first card because the kids were getting hungry and acting up and I was worried about bringing them shopping especially on a small budget.  The challenge read ‘Free lunch at school today. Buy something great without using your budget $, so of course where do the kids want to go…Mc donalds, I didn’t get anything but the $11.00 I spent really made me think.  $11 dollars almost equals whole days meals, entertainment, laundry and cleaning rations as well as any other personal needs we would need for the entire family.  I know this is something that would nearly be impossible for people on Ontario Works and I made sure the kids were aware of it.

Grocery shopping went well, I spent $40 of my budget already today and have gotten $8 dollars worth of personal needs and $31 of Groceries which will last the 5 days.  I was given a moose roast from a local hunter who had an excess amount this year and my chicken cost is so low because I’ve decided to use the frozen chicken I had from last week.  There were chicken thighs on sale 30% off and I bought 2 bags that came to just under $4.00 each. I separated the drums, removed all of the fat and froze them.  The chicken was enough for 6 weeks for the 3 of us.  I had a list and an idea of what I wanted to make but figured that I would shop by the sale as well so I ended up getting 3 large red peppers 50% off, rice crackers for $1 each bag which I separated into serving sizes for the kids.  I also split the cost of the Rice and Lentils by the 4 weeks it will take to use them.  When I was buying the personal needs items I didn’t even shop brand at all, It was cheapest and to get us through.  I am so used to buying things that I believe are ‘good’ and take the price into consideration but it is not usually the determining factor.

The rules are that I deduct $1.00 to pay my friend to drive us so I have just around $20 remaining which I hope is enough to get us through the week.

I’ve cooked, cut, bagged and containered meals for the next 5 days, I just have to do the moose roast throughout Sunday.  I am sure the groceries will make it to the end of the challenge.  I did not take the cost of the containers into the budget but I believe that OW have allowances for housing needs when they start into the program but I will have to do my research.

I know it is impossible to replicate what our communities’ families on OW go through every day, I hope my families experience can help create some awareness.

What does tomorrows challenge card bring…

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