Bif Naked to live on $3 a day for B.C. welfare challenge
Darcy Wintonyk, CTV Vancouver
Published Thursday, October 16, 2014 2:04PM PDT
Three dollars at a grocery store can’t buy you a lot: maybe a loaf of bread or, if you’re lucky, a box of cereal if it’s on sale.
Now imagine if that $3 was your entire food budget for the day.
That will be the reality for Canadian recording artist Bif Naked after accepting the challenge of living on the “welfare diet” for the next week.
It comes ahead of Raise the Rates’ Third Annual Food Challenge, intended to highlight the inadequacies of welfare rates in B.C.
The “diet” only allows for a food budget of $21 for the entire week.
The organization arrives at the total by assuming a $610 welfare cheque, minus $450 rent, $46 for bus tickets and a cellphone and a small amount going to personal hygiene items and other expenses.
“I’m sure we can all agree it’s not enough to live on,” the singer-songwriter told reporters Thursday.
“I don’t get to utilize the food banks, I don’t get to utilize anything I might have in my pantry already.”
A table behind the artist held the food she’d just bought for $17 – most of her weekly budget: a bunch of bananas, five zucchinis, two heads of iceberg lettuce, a large bag of spinach, two cans of chickpeas, a clamshell package of tomatoes and a small bag of rice.
A strict vegan, she says she’ll use the spinach and bananas to make smoothies, but she’ll have to ration the fruit to make it last the entire week.
“For dinner I’ll have rice, but many SROs don’t provide a hotplate or a kitchen for someone, so maybe if you took that rice away it might be a little more accurate,” she said.
The singer says she knows what it’s like to be on social assistance. Before she hit it big, she herself was on welfare.
Bif Naked says she’ll post updates about her diet on her Facebook page.
The B.C. Ministry of Social Development said in June 2011, 183,814 people in B.C. lived on welfare. That works out to roughly 1 in 25 people in the province.
Thursday also marks World Food Day, which aims to increase the awareness of world hunger and poverty.
Have your say: Could you live on the B.C. welfare rate?