Kenora residents have been challenged to walk in other’s shoes. Making Kenora Home has kicked off it’s poverty challenge, which focuses on how poverty impacts physical and mental health.
Eight participants, who all work in health-related fields, have volunteered to live on $55.00 for five days. The amount, which is equal to the Ontario Works Basic Needs benefit for a single person, is to cover all food and drink, entertainment, personal supplies and transportation costs. Each participant will also be given a daily challenge card that will reveal and additional challenge to complete by the end of that day. As the event unfolds, participants will blog about their personal experiences.
One of the participants, Stephanie Charles, detailed her thoughts as she starts to prepare for the challenge.
“I thought it would be eye-opening to participate. I expect it to be challenging and I expect to gain insight into what people in poverty have to face on a day-to-day basis, and how that can impact a person’s health and mental health. I feel like it will be very hard and not very uplifting. I think that I will have a better insight into people’s resiliency. I’m sure I’ll come out better for it,” she said.
Making Kenora Home Executive Committee Member, Nan Normand, spoke about the reason behind the challenge.
“Nobody wins the poverty challenge. It’s not about proving who can budget better than anyone else. It’s about bringing attention and getting people to think about things that you don’t often think about. We’re going to see how creative they are. When you have to live like that day-after-day, month-after-month, year-after-year, you’re debilitated. You don’t have the strength to get creative with your budget or your lifestyle. At that point, you’re just existing,” she said.
Participants of this year’s challenge are:
- Heather Andy
- Anita Cameron
- Stephanie Charles
- Raena Ducharme
- Deb Normand-Jonassen
- Kate Ronnebeck
- Erik Skiby
- Lorna Smith