A Walk in Other’s Shoes is returning to this year’s Week of Action Against Poverty. This challenge is being undertaken by individuals in the community who have interests within the health field. Participants have been asked to attempt to stay within a social assistance benefits’ budget. A single person on Ontario Works would receive $337 monthly for all of their personal needs and $384 for all of their shelter costs. Because participants cannot replicate the housing conditions realistically, shelter costs are not included within this challenge. For the five day challenge, participants will have $11 daily to cover all food and drink, entertainment, some personal supplies and transportation costs. Each day, every participant will be given a challenge card which will reveal an unexpected challenge to be completed before the end of the day.

A Walk in Other’s Shoes is not a competitive challenge. It is a challenge that raises awareness of the hurdles that people living on social assistance face daily. As we within our community develop our own understanding, we can begin to reduce the barriers that they encounter and ultimately increase opportunities for increased prosperity for all. The challenge takes place February 10th-14th, 2018.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Parties & Pondering

Day 1 was a day of parties.  A day of new challenges.  How do I get there? How do I get home?  How much earlier do I need to leave?  What if I didn’t have the winter clothing I needed to walk?  What if I had to bring my son?  What’s the temperature?  What’s the windchill?   What is the bus schedule?  What if I wasn’t physically able to walk this far?

Two parties to attend in one day.  Not usually a challenge.  Usually this would just be fun.  Not usually something I would even have to think about.  “Think” … I can’t even begin to describe how much thinking I’ve done over the past day … exhausting … and I keep thinking how much more exhausting it would be if this was permanent, if I didn’t get to go back to normal life in 4 more days.  Back to the parties …

Party #1: 90th Birthday Party.  Happy Birthday “Nana Pat”!  I would usually have driven to and from the party without thinking twice, but today I walked.  I had to leave earlier, I got home later and got multiple odd looks from my wonderful family who were not actually judging my party attire (snow pants, giant parka, toque, walking boots) but were curious as to why I chose to walk.  Lots of conversation about the Challenge today.

Party #2: Boot Camp Party.  I really like boot camp, I really like the people I workout with, I would really like to go to this party, but this one posed a new challenge … it was a long way from our house … 9 km to be exact.  What are my options?  Drive?  Nope.  Wouldn’t have a car in this life.  A taxi?  Nope.  Too expensive.  The bus?  Check out the bus schedule here.  Nope.  Doesn’t run late enough / often enough / etc etc etc (side note - I feel an entire blog post could be dedicated to this one!).  Walk?  I guess this will have to do.  So I bundled up and walked 9 km one way to the party.  9 km gave me 1.5 hours of thinking time … thinking about how exhausting this would be if it was my reality, thinking about how lucky I am to have the warm clothes to make this walk bearable, thinking about how lucky I am to be physically able to do this walk, so much thinking.

Budget update: At the end of the night I paid $2.50 to a friend for a ride home.  Leaving me with $23.33 for the next 4 days.

Nutrition & Physical Activity update:
Fruit & Veggie servings today = 3 (lower than any Registered Dietitian would recommend, but reality today)
Extra Walking (walking as a result of the challenge) = 13 km

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