October 23, 2014 3:30 pm
Updated: October 23, 2014 8:21 pm

Bif Naked finishes welfare challenge and is calling for change


VANCOUVER – After eating for a week on $3 a day, Bif Naked is finished the welfare food challenge and the singer is calling for change after her brush with poverty.

She documented some of her journey on her Facebook page and posted photos of what she was able to make and eat for one day.

About 100 people across B.C. took part in the third annual welfare challenge, organized by Raise the Rates, which is a coalition of community groups that help support the homeless.

In B.C. a single person receives $610 a month. Once money is deducted for living expenses and rent, there is $21 a week left for food.

Why $21 for a Week’s food

Total welfare$610
Rent (realistic rent for an SRO)*$450
Room damage deposit$20
Book of 10 bus tickets (to look for work)$21
Cell phone (to look for work)$25
Personal hygiene/laundry$10
Total of all non-food expenditures$526
What’s left for food $84

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A lot of the participants said this past week they have had to be very creative in preparing and shopping for their food, but they noticed differences such as lower energy levels and less concentration.

“I lived mostly on pasta, beans, potatoes, and cabbage and it will be a long time before I eat those four things again,” said Irene Lanzinger from the BC Federation of Labour.

UBC student Samantha Truong said one day she had a paper due for a class and she couldn’t focus because she was so hungry.

Now Bif Naked wants to make sure the conversation doesn’t end today.

“I think the bigger picture here is how to keep the dialogue going,” said Bif Naked. “And how to make good use of the attention that Raise the Rates has managed to generate.”

“How do we keep that dialogue going and how do we actively do something further?”

Participants are urging everyone to contact their MLA to keep the conversation going and bring awareness to the fact that the current welfare rates are not suitable.


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