Bill Tremblay

Bill Tremblay, Journalist/photographer at the Orangeville Banner

Bill Tremblay, Journalist/photographer at the Orangeville Banner

Occupation: Journalist/photographer
Favorite food: Jerk Chicken
Guiltiest food pleasure: Pulled pork poutine
Family size: 1
Estimate of how much you and your family spend on food per week: About $100 to $150
Why you are participating in this project: I believe the severity of poverty in Dufferin County is often overlooked and I hope this project will help change that. Children account for 37 per cent of clients at the Orangeville Food Bank and I find that statistic disturbing.
Why this issue is important to you: With more and more people relying on job that pay minimum wage, our government – and employers – have to realize $11 an hour is not a realistic income.

Day 1

What are you missing the most?
Convenience
What are your challenges with cooking?
Usually a night-time town council meeting will equal a great dinner. It’s an excuse to go out and eat at one of Orangeville’s many restaurants.
That usual excuse doesn’t hold true tonight. I’ve just returned from a week long vacation to find an email explaining a budget meeting is scheduled for 7 pm. In anticipation of the Do The Math Challenge I had dinner set – a box of macaroni and cheese waiting for me at home. However, living an hour drive from my office means I cannot head home for dinner.  Although I had properly rationed the supplies provided by the food bank, working late isn’t a variable I accounted for.
Your thoughts on taking the challenge vs. the reality for people facing economic hardship and limited access to food.
A limited supply of food limits a person’s freedom. I can’t simply have dinner at a normal time tonight without violating the rules of the challenge. An unexpected late night at work, which happens often and usually isn’t a big deal, is creating a problem.
Did you learn anything new? Other comments?
Tuna tastes horrible without vinegar.

nofoodmeeting
Day 2

What are you missing the most?
Protein
What are your challenges with cooking?
I’m not really experiencing any challenges with cooking. The food provided is enough to prepare three decent meals per day. However, there is a noticeable lack of variety. Ingredients I would normally add are no longer at hand.
The food bank provisions definitely does not include the ingredients for any elaborate meals . I can’t cook anything I would serve to guests, even if the ingredients were plentiful enough to share.
Your thoughts on taking the challenge vs. the reality for people facing economic hardship and limited access to food.
This diet would not be sustainable for an extended period of time. Sure I can hack it for three days, but having to rely on the food provided more than once a month would be difficult. Everything is canned, boxed or preserved. Something as simple as lettuce on a sandwich isn’t a reality.
The number one thing you want to share with family and friends.
I’ve had several offers of a free lunch or dinner when I mention the challenge. It’s nice to think that friends make this offer, even when the challenge is temporary and voluntary.

Day 3

What are you missing the most?
My afternoon can of Pepsi
What are your challenges with cooking?
I’m having more challenges with eating than cooking. Avoiding food that is readily available to me is really pushing my ability to resist temptation (see photo below from last night’s Do The Math Town Hall meeting). If the town hall meeting didn’t revolve around this challenge, I probably would have dived right into that spread, with little hesitation.
I never though I would be able to compare a fruit and veggie tray to addiction. As an avid smoker (I know it’s a disgusting habit) seeing the spread of food was like being offered a cigarette three days after quitting. It’s not that I’m hungry, far from it. This is more of a craving for vitamins or protein or minerals. I’m not sure exactly what, but something is missing.
Your thoughts on taking the challenge vs. the reality for people facing economic hardship and limited access to food.
I’m somewhat ashamed to consider this a challenge. I’m ashamed I find my self-imposed three-day diet difficult when it is the norm for so many people.
The food I was provided through the challenge would be a jaw-dropping smorgasbord in some areas of the world, yet I have the nerve to complain that my macaroni and cheese lacks flavour.
A few months back when the Orangeville Police Service announced a donation to the local food bank, I asked Chief Wayne Kalinski if there is a correlation between hunger and crime. He didn’t have statistics on hand to back the possible connection.
Now on day three, I think I’m able to answer my own question. I think I would eventually steal food if this was a prolonged diet. If I had children to feed, I wouldn’t hesitate at all. What’s really troubling is that if I were caught, I would likely be better off.
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services spokesman Brent Ross told the Toronto Sun in 2013 “The ministry provides healthy balanced meals to all of its inmates in accordance with the Canada Food Guide.”
Why doesn’t the province ensure the same dietary standard is provided to all residents? Even those not convicted of a crime.
The number one thing you want to share with family and friends.
Don’t throw away food. I’m guilty of it. I’m sure many are. But right now I regret tossing a few bruised bananas last week.
Did you learn anything new? Other comments?
Every month, 1 million Canadians will visit a food bank.
Food Spread from Do The Math Town Hall Meeting

Food Spread from Do The Math Town Hall Meeting