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Chew on This

The Nelson Food Cupboard hosted “Chew on This…”, a challenge to community leaders to eat like Food Cupboard customers for one week, in mid-October, 2014, coinciding with Homelessness Action Week and World Food Day. The event was designed to help raise awareness around what it is like to have to rely on food banks and other social agencies for food because of the inadequacies of current provincial allowances for social assistance, disability and minimum wage.

Step 1 is DO THE MATH….

Start by taking this survey, even if the community challenge is in the past:

What would you need to make ends meet if your situation changed and you had to rely on social assistance? How much would you need for rent and groceries? Is a telephone or internet connection a necessary expense? What about a cup of coffee or having a friend over for dinner? Do the Math and compare your results to what single people on social assistance receive each month.

This survey has been developed by The Stop in Toronto, and we have provided the comparable BC figures below.  Do the “Do the Math” survey at

Step 2  The Community Leader Challenge

Twenty one community leaders were challenged to eat for one week on only what they received from food banks and Our Daily Bread soup kitchen to develop a greater understanding of what it is like to eat when one lives in poverty.  A kick-off luncheon was held on October 16 at Our Daily Bread at which Food Cupboard customers shared their experiences of living in poverty and how that affected what they eat.  Throughout the week, local media followed how the participants were doing.

Step 3  Wrap Up and Community Awareness Celebration

On October 23rd, participants and the public were invited to the wrap up event to share dinner and stories. The evening began with a delicious local harvest dinner celebrating simple but nutritious cooking – the kind we hope our customers enjoy with ingredients from the Food Cupboard – and then several participants spoke about their experience and its challenges. It was an amazing evening listening to their stories. We all learned we can help to reduce poverty simply by getting to know our less fortunate neighbours and seeing them as real people, each with an individual story.

BC Income Indicators:

Compare your monthly budget to the real-life earnings of low-income people in this province:

BC Income Assistance Rate for a Single Person $610
BC Disability Assistance Rate for a Single Person (PWD) $906
Minimum Wage $10.25 $1537 (37½ hr x 4)
Average advertised rate for a 1 bedroom rental in Nelson $772
Average advertised rate for a 2 bedroom rental in Nelson $1033