New Democrat MLAs join the 5th annual Welfare Food Challenge

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canned-foodVANCOUVER— Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert and Vancouver-Mount Pleasant MLA Melanie Mark will take part in the 2016 Welfare Food Challenge to gain a better personal understanding of what legislators can do to help the most vulnerable in our society.

This is the fifth year of the challenge, in which British Columbians try to live on the $18 weekly food budget income assistance recipients are expected to survive on. The challenge runs for seven days beginning Sunday.

“Constituents have told me about how hard it is to live on $18 a week for food every week of the year, and asked me to spend one week in their shoes and help tell their story to the entire province,” said Chandra Herbert.

“The sad reality is that many people on the margins of our society aren’t being heard, so this event helps to raise the profile of these important issues so we can find real solutions, such as developing a comprehensive poverty reduction plan for British Columbia.”

Mark, who took part in the challenge in 2015, acknowledged that a week-long food challenge doesn’t fully reflect the hardship people on income assistance face, but it can offer a glimpse into the sometimes impossible choices people are forced to make.

“I know that John Horgan and my New Democrat colleagues care deeply about addressing inequality between the richest and most vulnerable people in our society, especially where inequality hurts children,” said Mark.

“By taking part in this challenge, and bringing our experiences back to the caucus table, we will deepen our resolve to fix the problems the Christy Clark government has exacerbated by its policies.”

The Welfare Food Challenge has attracted hundreds of participants – community, union, corporate and political leaders, as well as everyday citizens.

More information on the challenge is available at