Donna Lee Criss is on a 31-day challenge to buy nothing but fuel. It’s an effort to use what’s already in her home.TAMARA CUNNINGHAM/News Bulletin

Nanaimo resident plans to buy nothing during ‘apocalypse month’

Donna Lee Criss plans to use what’s already in her home during month-long challenge

A Nanaimo resident has put away her purse in a 31-day challenge to buy nothing but fuel.

Donna Lee Criss plans to get creative with what’s in her cupboard during “apocalypse month” this January, a personal challenge where she can trade and accept goodwill from friends but will no longer buy things like food and clothing.

The idea behind the name is to think about what would happen if people couldn’t go to the store and buy. Criss was inspired by a friend whose family of six undertook the initiative in November and thought if they could do it, so could she.

Criss didn’t stock up in advance of the challenge kickoff Jan. 1 and plans to make use of what she already has in the house, like jars of preserves and dehydrated food. Since the start of the month she’s also traded homemade gloves for honey and has cooked up soup with vegetables she’s dug from Nanaimo Community Gardens, where she volunteers.

The only thing she’ll open her wallet for is fuel, pointing out she takes part in activities during the week she can’t walk to.

“I’m sure I’ll save some money, but I am not doing it for that. I am doing it to use up what I’ve got,” said Criss, who also said it’ll free up time spent going to the grocery store.

By the third day, she was already feeling deprived and challenged.

“I’ve already been tempted,” she said last week, laughing. “It’s the third. I don’t know how I’m going to do it for a month.”

Her runners were worn and she started to think January was a good time to shop before reminding herself she can’t buy anything, and she wanted to stop by the store to get something she felt like eating. There’s also the meals.

“That will be my biggest challenge is to create meals with what I’ve got,” she said. “I am going to the back of the freezer, the back of the cupboards, I am rummaging there today and thinking gee, I am going to have to get creative here.”

Angelique Nash-Thurmeier tried a similar challenge last year after hearing about apocalypse month, but her focus was only on not buying food. Interesting about the concept, she said, is to realize our reliance on convenience of being able to go and get something whenever we want.

She admits she had some cheats, including buying fries a few times, but calls the challenge a good experience for anyone.

“You learn a different way of being, it kind of gets you out of a particular kind of grind,” she said, later adding that people learn things about themselves and others they wouldn’t expect. “By the end of it though, like seriously, I was like I really want cucumber and lemon.”



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