I first read about the Welfare Food Challenge in an email about a month ago. During that time, I had been speaking to Abbotsford community members about the idea of coming together to draft a Poverty Reduction Strategy for the City to hopefully adopt as part of the economic development and social planning for Abbotsford. I wondered how I could possibly ascertain the strategies that would be most beneficial to our community if I couldn't even grasp the scale of immediate needs. Certainly we need a response rather than a reaction, but what about those who can't make it day to day? Am I assuming a person living on $18 a week in groceries is able to seek out job opportunities? How about assuming he or she is called for an interview, will that person have the presence of mind to put their best foot forward? Will he or she have a presentable outfit? Reliable and safe childcare for the interview date? How about efficient and safe transportation?
I digress. The point is I decided it was the right choice to take part in this Challenge in hopes that people out in there in the internet community will pause for a moment and simply consider the subject of welfare. Could we all get to a point where we could agree on its value and need? If so, what it would look like? How could it be a bridge for a gap rather than a valley that one cannot climb out of? I have to try to walk in the shoes of someone who has no choice but to live this life week after week. Then maybe in my simulated desperation I would better understand what sorts of bridges we need built in our own community. I state that jokingly, but truly there is no joke about the needs so many of our own community members face.
I'd like to point out that the blogs I write for the Welfare Food Challenge are my personal experiences. The opinions expressed are strictly my own and do not reflect those of Vibrant Abbotsford's supporters. I can state with integrity that I have no preconceived outcomes for this week. My intentions are good and not politically motivated in any way.