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.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Learning and Gratitude

I have learned a lot just reading the blogs and appreciate the honesty our participants have exhibited. Personally, I plan to recreate Anita's gourmet guests coming for supper menu, remember Erik's observation on organizing to be low-income, chuckle at Stephanie's over-draft, be inspired by Deb's determination to give her family their valentine's treats, be awed by Kate's 9 km walk in bitterly cold weather to keep social connections, wink at Heather's taste-a-bite strategy for adding flavour to her poverty budget, will use a tennis ball on the strained back muscle as demonstrated by Lorna and appreciated Raena's struggle with inviting guests into her home without being able to offer refreshments. Our participants dove deeper into the issues of poverty and shone light into the dark corners that we are not always aware of--feeling a “helplessness that borders on hopelessness”,  the need for social supports to survive, the cost of medication and lice treatment…We would like to thank all of our participants for what they have given us.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Final Day

Anyone volunteering to stay on their poverty budget longer? Just kidding!  Just 13 more hours to go...

Monday, February 12, 2018

It is cold out there! This adds a whole new dimension to our participants experience.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Gearing Up to Income Down

It's the day before the challenge begins. Participants are trying out their blog links and figuring out their weekend activities (and beyond). Already, thinking about how to manage is filling up their attention. If you are always thinking about survival, will you ever be able to spend time on exploring larger social and political issues?