Last night, we didn't get even close to filling the hall, our lowest number in a long time. This was especially strange since is was the day before "cheque day" (the last Wednesday of each month) when people on social assistance receive their monthly allowance. Most folks are pretty well flat broke for a few days before cheque day.
The meal isn't exclusively for low income people -- we welcome everyone, regardless of their background, income or age -- but there are many who depend on their monthly social assistance cheque or pension cheque, and our weekly meals, to get them through the month.
Imagine if your only income consisted of a single cheque once a month. For many, the cheque is for $235 and this has to cover all their expenses (except lodging): food, clothing, transportation, phone, etc etc. If you have a place to rent, you get an additional $375 per month. Try finding something in Richmond for $375. You can read more about the social assistance rates here: Social assistance rates. A Surrey MLA, Jagrup Brar, has taken the challenge of living for one month (this past month of January) on the social assistance rates. His blog is here: MLA Welfare Challenge
It's a pleasure and privilege to be part of the St Alban Community Meal team, to be able to offer great food each week to whoever comes to our door. For many, it's the most nourishing and tastiest meal they've had in a while. And for those on social assistance, it's become a real lifeline.