There are no winners in the poverty challenge-just ordinary people who are willing to step into another pair of shoes for a short and uncomfortable walk. Those people help deepen our understanding of how poverty impacts our neighbours. It is a small action, but in the end, small consistent actions are the only actions that truly change the world

Friday, February 15, 2019

And we're not done....

At midnight, our challengers completed their commitment but we are not done.  There is no one who has completed the  Walk In Other's Shoes challenge who has not been shaken up by the experience (and grateful that it was not their real lives).  Several mentioned how humbled they were felt. Others noted the pressure that oozed into their five days and permeated all of their activities.  Some were grateful for things as simple as not facing a new challenge as envelopes were opened-a totally neutral event that was counted as bonus by the participant who was already dreading the day's tasks.  An expected $5.00 find was exhilarating.  Through the downs and some ups, the participants shared their learnings and awareness expanded for all of us. Thank you to our volunteers who made this challenge a reality for the rest of us.
This does not end here.  It will shape our perceptions and our activities as we move forward.  As more and more of the general public become aware of the real impact of poverty on our neighbours, the more motivated our society will become to make real change in how we live together. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Midpoint Ponderings

By yesterday, most of our challengers recognized that food was not all they had to worry about. Some went back to recalculate the inclusion of hygiene products and other sundry costs. That was an eye-opener.
Today, I am suggesting that there is another dimension to poverty-time.  It takes time to survive on a low-income.  Time to walk when cars are not an option.  Time to hand wash laundry when there is no money to cab over to the laundromat and pay for services.  Time to mix up that bread from scratch.  All of our challengers are employed (except for our busy retiree) full time.  It hasn't been said yet, but undertaking the challenge and finding the time to blog twice a day is exhausting when you are trying to fit in work responsibilities. In addition, one challenger is still trying to navigate into the blog.  Given that the Ontario Works application is an on-line application and our challenger is an intelligent woman, I wonder how many give up on obtaining benefits because of tech barriers?

Monday, February 11, 2019

The End of Day 2

There's been a few glitches in posting that should resolve soon. In the meantime, grab a peek at what our challengers have dealt with so far.  Sockless Mr. Flynn must be happy that we are not experiencing the temperatures of last week! Ms. Mutch is struggling with laundry. To help her out, I checked out the cost of doing laundry at the laundromat.  The large washing machine is $15 a cycle ($7 for the medium size) and the dryer is $2 a spin (I am told that usually 4 spin cycles are required).

The grocery purchases look healthy but where are the hygiene products? Washing hands, dishes, using toilet paper are all pretty necessary...Oddly, although everyone worries most about being hungry, the food is only part of the poverty picture.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

And It Begins....

How was your wake-up this morning? As I emptied my coffee cup and refilled again without a thought, I remembered our participants and wondered about their waking thoughts today. Some have already shopped, some will be planning their purchases and some will be thinking, "why did I agree to this?!!!" 
You agreed to walk in other's shoes and your experience will help those of us who are following your blogs to understand the impact of poverty on our neighbours.  Thank you!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Getting Ready

While our participants are preparing mentally for the launch of this year's poverty challenge, we were scurrying around trying to get the blog ready for action.  My challenge has always been technology which is why I am concerned about the trend towards online access to public services (I know that there are more like me out there).  A colleague's son reined me in, fixed my mistakes and provided patient advice on going forward.  It reminded me that poverty is about more than money.  When we lack supportive relationships, we are impaired in our ability to meet challenges.  The teachings are coming in even before we start!