On November 19th-22nd, 2012, members of the Stratford community attempted to live on $5/day for three days, or by purchasing a food hamper from the House of Blessing. $5/day is an estimate made by the Stop Community Food Centre in Toronto about how much an individual receiving Ontario Works has left for all their other expenses after paying rent. The Do the Math Challenge will help people gain a deeper understanding of the inadequacy of Social Assistance rates in Ontario, and what it’s like to have to live on an extremely limited food budget.

Here in Stratford, the food banks are experiencing an increase in people accessing “emergency food”. Between January and August 2012, the House of Blessing has provided food for 3,817 people. That’s 718 more than the previous year in the same time period. In Stratford, Ontario Works currently supports 658 adults and 422 children.

People taking the Do the Math Challenge will be communicating their experiences through blog posts, videos, and photos. On Thursday, November 22, 2012 at 6pm, participants and the community at large will be invited to a Town Hall meeting where they can share a meal, talk about their experiences, and link the challenge to larger systematic issues. We hope that this challenge will start to bring poverty home in a new way, and will lead to new understanding, greater compassion, and ultimately, social change.

Read more about the challenge in the Beacon Herald: Surviving on $5 a day.

Follow the campaign on Facebook.

Click here to email Randy Pettapiece and request that the provincial government adopt a transparent process for setting rates, that is tied to the cost of living.


Thanks to all the participants in the Do the Math Challenge! Click on the photo to read their bio!