Cowichan Valley scores first place…in child poverty

The report, put out by First Call BC, puts the Cowichan Valley in first place for children living in low-income families.

Can we talk about the children of the Cowichan Valley? We all know the saying that children are the future, but what future do many of the children living in this region face in 10 years? In 20 years?

The 2015 B.C. Child Poverty Report Card was released last month. The report, put out by child advocacy group First Call BC, puts the Cowichan Valley in first place for children living in low-income families.

First place.

This first place position is shared with Port Alberni, where in both regions 31 per cent of all children are living in low-income families. This is above the province-wide statistic of one in five children who live in poverty.

In early childhood poverty, ages 0-5, we score even worse. Again tied with Port Alberni, the Cowichan region has 37 per cent of its children, under the age of six, living in low-income households.

You can help make a difference in the lives of these children. These are the youngest, most vulnerable kids growing up right here in the Cowichan Valley. When United Way Cowichan reviews funding applications each year, there is always so much more need than funds available. There are many programs out there with the potential to make real change. To help change these staggering statistics.

How wonderful would it be for children leaving school on Fridays to take home a backpack filled with food, so they’re not going hungry over the weekend before coming back to school on Monday? This is just one of many additional programs that United Way could be funding, but we need to raise more money.

We know that every dollar invested in children and youth at a young age can have exponential benefits as they grow up. Hunger and poor nutrition have well-known effects on children’s growth and development. The more we can invest in children at a young age, the less that needs to be spent later in life. Poverty costs Canada as a whole between $72 and $84 billion annually.

United Way Cowichan wants to invest, and needs to invest, more into the children of the Cowichan Valley. Please help us reach our campaign goal of $250,000. Donate before Dec. 31 to take advantage of a Donation Tax Credit for 2015.

Donations can be made online: www.cowichanunitedway.com, over the phone (250-748-1312) or in-person at our office (1 Kenneth Place in Duncan – the lower level of city hall). If the door is locked, you can drop your envelope through the mail slot, as we will be collecting mail until the end of the year.