The poignant, poignant pain of eating on $225 a month

Apparently OSAP allows $7.50 a day, or roughly $225 a month, for a student food allowance. The Star is reporting on the extreme hardship this produces, and four intrepid students, risking starvation and perhaps even the odd foray into their own kitchens, are blogging their attempt to comply with this limit for three agonizing weeks.

One of these students felt the need to supplement this:

To cut costs, Crane will seek one of the $25 emergency grocery vouchers Brock’s student union offers cash-strapped students; this year it has upped the number of vouchers to 105 from 75 last year because of the recession.

so she now (lucky thing) has the slightly lesser horror of feeding herself on $250 a month instead of $225.

Right about now every single person living on welfare is rolling their eyes so hard they may be able to see out the backs of their heads.

I think back to fourth year, when K. and I each allocated $75 a month to groceries — $105.27 in current dollars — and we ate very well. Lots of seasonal fruit and veggies, yogurt, a little meat, lots of home-made muffins… and yes, pasta and rice but certainly not the “cheap carbo-loading” mentioned in the article as necessary. We often, as I recall, had money left over at the end of the month (with which we bought wine).

I might also look at our current grocery spending. On average I spend about $100 a week on groceries for the three of us, so that’s $400 for the month. Every two weeks a $55 box of organic milk, eggs and veggies is delivered; another $110. And we probably spend about another $100 on wine — Well, to be generous let’s call it $150 to cover off the odd bottle of fizzy and/or a decent LBV. $400 + $110 + $150 = $660 a month.

OSAP would allow $7.50 x 30 x 3 = $675.

To be clear, I’m not denying the challenges inherent in trying to live on the utterly inadequate amount OSAP provides if it’s your only source of income, and I won’t for a second defend a student loan system that saddles young graduates with absurdly large debts. But moaning about a $7.50-a-day food allowance isn’t going to garner much sympathy from me — or, I suspect, from the many students who are stuck feeding themselves on much, much less. ($1 a day: that’s hard.)

Come on kids: drop the entitlement and get cooking.