A Walk in Other’s Shoes is returning to this year’s Week of Action Against Poverty. This challenge is being undertaken by individuals in the community who have interests within the health field. Participants have been asked to attempt to stay within a social assistance benefits’ budget. A single person on Ontario Works would receive $337 monthly for all of their personal needs and $384 for all of their shelter costs. Because participants cannot replicate the housing conditions realistically, shelter costs are not included within this challenge. For the five day challenge, participants will have $11 daily to cover all food and drink, entertainment, some personal supplies and transportation costs. Each day, every participant will be given a challenge card which will reveal an unexpected challenge to be completed before the end of the day.

A Walk in Other’s Shoes is not a competitive challenge. It is a challenge that raises awareness of the hurdles that people living on social assistance face daily. As we within our community develop our own understanding, we can begin to reduce the barriers that they encounter and ultimately increase opportunities for increased prosperity for all. The challenge takes place February 10th-14th, 2018.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

day 1 challenge completed

I generally follow a Paleo diet, avoiding wheat and dairy, a personal choice, so making food choices on a limited budget has been challenging. Today I have consumed 3 hard boiled eggs, an apple, long grain rice, frozen vegetables and lean ground chicken burger which I purchased frozen. I drank only water. When I cooked my food, I cooked enough to avoid having to turn my stove on tomorrow to save on hydro costs. I have decided to only wash my dishes at the end of the day to save water costs as well as use less dish soap. I hate a mess, so I stored my dirty dishes in my oven just in case company were to stop in, lol.
I have found myself numerous times today going to grab for my cell phone to text my friends, then reminded myself, I wouldn't have this cell phone with unlimited texting plan if I was trying to survive on the $55 for 5 days, hence I put it down.
My challenge card for today was, as I indicated in my first post, to find somewhere out of the cold to go from 6-8. I decided I was going to walk to McDonalds and order myself a coffee, as they have a deal on right now, any size coffee for $1, and unlimited refills. My husband doesn't like me walking around after dark by myself, so he tagged along. I didn't allow him to purchase my coffee, and he chose to order himself a meal which he paid for. I was afraid that perhaps there would be an issue staying there for such a lengthy amount of time, purchasing only coffee, but to my surprise, they didn't care. I noticed there was a gentleman clearly down on his luck, asleep at a small table. He didn't have any food in front of him. He slept for 45minutes then finally woke up. Several employees passed him while he slept and did not disturb him or make any comments. After 10 more minutes, watching him just sitting looking out the window, my husband purchased him a coffee, his smile was radiating. We chose to move to another spot, where 4 people could sit, and offered him to sit with us, he accepted. He admitted he hadn't eaten today. My husband purchased him a meal, we exchanged names, and made conversation, and enjoyed watching the winter Olympics together. He thanked us when we left, but its me who feels thankful, thankful that I don't have to outside when its -33 right now.
High five goes out to McDonalds!

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