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Mihevc family’s last day on the Do the Math “diet”

April 15, 2010

Today’s breakfast was the last breakfast that we had following the exercise. We had practically no food left, except for a bit of oatmeal (enough for one person), and coffee for Rosalee and me. We thought of making flatbread again but felt that enough was enough (especially since the peanut butter ran out), and that we were close enough to lunch time, when we were breaking the diet.

The feeling in the home was frankly one of jubilation. We are so happy for two reasons: first, we made it to the end abiding by the rules of the exercise. We were hungry throughout the week but persisted. My daughters were proud that they made it, and we were proud of them for their determination and ability to stick with it. Secondly, we were happy because we could almost taste the fruit and vegetables that we planning to eat for lunch. Rosalee bought a lot of fruit yesterday and the girls stuffed their bags with it today. I’ve lost 6 lbs, which is a good thing.

At breakfast we talked about how sweet it was for us to enjoy the break, knowing though that for many this exercise is their life and they cannot get off the treadmill. 

There is a lot of thinking going on in my household on food, our family, who eats and doesn’t in our world, and social injustice. Our family will never look at the folk going into the drop-in for a meal the same again. This was a powerful exercise for us as a family, and frankly I am grateful that my daughters were a part of the challenge. It was a great learning experience for them, sensitizing them to the wider world and its inequalities. I for one want my children to be sensitized to pain of others in Toronto and not just its blessings.

There are a whole host of insights and thoughts I have around doing this on a broader scale. There is nothing like the experience of hunger, of walking in other’s shoes, even for a short time, to clarify and discipline the mind around what is important in our city. I want to work with others to broaden the experience for other families. I do believe that when middle class families like ours take up the challenge, that it will help to build the political and social momentum necessary to better our governments’ and society’s response.

Lastly, we are grateful to The Stop for opening our eyes, and more importantly for being there. Community organizations that work for and with the poor in our community, that advocate on their behalf are heroes in this story. How they do it every day and not burn out or get mega-angry at governments and the pace of societal change is remarkable.

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