How much does a single person on social assistance in Ontario receive each month?*
What does a parent who earns minimum wage have to cover the costs of food, heat and rent for their entire family?
In a couple weeks, my family of three will be participating in Do the Math: an educational event exploring the discrepancy between the resources available to those receiving social assistance, and the “working poor”, and what is needed to live with health, dignity and safety in the City of Toronto. “Do the Math” was created byThe Stop Community Centre to highlight the failure of Ontario’s current social assistance rates to support healthy, dignified lives. Starting January 20th I will be on a diet – The Food Bank Diet!
The Food Bank Diet is an opportunity to attempt living off the contents of a typical food bank hamper. Along with some of our friends, my family has committed to following this “diet” for one week. I will be blogging and tweeting as the week goes on. Looking at our food list, I already suspect some issues due to my intense dislike of Kraft Dinner. And…I just found out that a mother can only expect to receive 10 diapers a month from a food bank! Read that again. 10 diapers amonth! Time to get creative…
I encourage everyone to fill out The Stop’s “Do the Math” survey. It takes approximately 6 minutes to complete and asks what you think it would cost YOU to live frugally, but with dignity and health. It is an educational tool and attempts to draw attention to the impossible choices faced by hundreds of thousands of people on social assistance in this province every day.
You can also check out Put Food in the Budget. PFIB is calling for the immediate introduction of a $100 monthly supplement to the basic needs allowance for all adults receiving social assistance due to the existence of widespread food insecurity and chronic illness related to poor nutrition.
Stay tuned for more as the project unfolds.
And please save any surplus diapers.
* maximum $604