OTTAWA, Oct. 16, 2013 /CNW/ - On October 17, the International Day for
the Eradication of Poverty, food bank volunteers will walk away from
their lunch lines to serve up food for thought on street corners in
major cities across the country. They are asking everyday Canadians to
re-consider food charity as the solution to hunger and are calling for
a federal plan to address poverty.
Impromptu lunch lines will be popping up from Whitehorse to Halifax from
noon until 1 p.m.—including sites at Parliament Hill in Ottawa and at
Bay and King Street in Toronto's financial district. But instead of
handing out free lunch, volunteers are brown bagging a call to action
for the Prime Minister. They want him to take a proactive approach to
eradicating poverty and hunger for the 882,000 people who resort to
food banks each month and millions of others struggling to get by. Chew
on This! volunteers are joining the thousands who have endorsed Dignity for All: The Campaign for a Poverty Free Canada.
Ottawa Chew on This! participant Karen Secord is the Coordinator of the
Parkdale Food Centre, one of the most innovative food banks in the
Ottawa area. She agrees that Canada can do more.
"Poverty is the reason why people are hungry. It is why they eat poor
quality food in a country that is rich in good food. It is a drain on
health care and education resources," says Secord. "No one wants to be
poor. As a caring society we can do so much better."
Food banks were launched in the early 1980s as a temporary solution to
hunger but were never meant as a permanent measure.
"Hunger in Canada is now clearly more than a food issue: it's about the
general cost of living in light of insufficient incomes and social
supports," says Leilani Farha, Executive Director of Canada Without
Poverty. "We're never going to solve hunger and poverty in Canada
through charitable acts like food donations - we need federal
leadership and an action plan."
A national poverty action plan is the main recommendation in "Poverty
Trends Highlights: Canada 2013," a report by Citizens for Public
"The statistics show that when the federal government makes it a
priority, poverty can be reduced," says Executive Director Joe Gunn.
"We need a comprehensive poverty plan. The House of Commons has called
for one, the Senate has called for one, and the United Nations has
called for one, but we haven't seen any action."
Dignity for All: the campaign for a poverty-free Canada, headed by Canada Without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice, is a
multi-year, non-partisan campaign supported by over 10,000 individuals
and 600 local and national organizations calling for a comprehensive
federal plan to eliminate poverty.
Image with caption: "Food Bank Volunteers Fed Up with Government Inaction (CNW Group/NATIONAL UNION OF PUBLIC AND GENERAL EMPLOYEES)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131016_C4478_PHOTO_EN_32118.jpg
SOURCE: NATIONAL UNION OF PUBLIC AND GENERAL EMPLOYEES
For further information:
Megan Yarema, Canada Without Poverty
Simon Lewchuk, Citizens for Public Justice