Food Bank Challenge

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The London Food Bank has issued a challenge. The premise is that, by restricting your family food intake to “$30 for yourself and…$25 for each additional family member for all food [which] includes coffee, donuts and lunch money and not using any food which may have been previously purchased, you’ll find out if you could live on the kind of annual income that it’s clients typically have to. 01

Having accepted the challenge, London Free Press reporter Joe Matyas writes that “it was a learning experience.” 02 But was it the right one? And although the article may have helped Sun Media to sell a few newspapers, did it really convey much insight into the plight of too many people?

One week is hardly enough time to gain much of an appreciation for the kinds of choices that have to be made on such a low income. And simply concentrating on diet terribly minimizes the problem of having to make equally and often impossibly difficult choices with respect to things like shelter, clothing, assistive devices, personal hygiene, transportation, recreation and entertainment (food for the soul), continuing education, counselling, legal representation, etc.

Like politicians who spend a few hours on the street to experience homelessness, or a day in a wheelchair at City Hall to experience being disabled (correction… one kind of physical disability), this strikes me as being a whole lot more about posturing than acquiring any meaningful understanding.

Sources:
01. London Food Bank: Take the Food Bank Challenge
02. 2008/03/10 – LFP: Food bank issues shop-on-a-budget challenge

Other Links:
AlterNet: Food Bills Getting You Down?

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One Response to “Food Bank Challenge”

  1. Hazelnut Says:

    I spent a year on “welfare” when I was at teacher’s college with a one year old daughter. That was back before the major cuts and we managed quite well. I know I couldn’t do it now on the meager amount doled out for 2 people.
    I agree, a one-week challenge is more of a novelty than a real-life experience. They should try it for a year, then write about it.

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