Need to band together against child poverty
Re: Too many Cowichan children struggling
I read this article this past Wednesday with some sadness. It is not that I was unaware of the ugly statistic that our Valley has the highest child poverty rate in B.C. but rather that this shameful message needs to keep playing out time and time again — our Valley children are in need of help — our Valley children are going hungry and are powerless to do something about it and as noted by this article, hunger, poor nutrition and poverty have multiple impacts, today and in the future.
In my own view, I believe that the days of this falling on one or two or more non profits, clubs or churches doing the very best they can with often limited resources to come up individually with the solution to this problem are long gone. We desperately need a food redistribution centre such as the Food Security Coalition is suggesting so that everyone currently helping children to receive nutritious food can collectively benefit from the food that grocery stores dispose of or is gleaned from farms or home gardens with surplus and we need the collective energy, time, resources and financial aid of everyone from local government to school district to business to club and non profit alike to make it happen.
We also need an umbrella group, a coalition of sorts, of all such groups involved to create a buying group that food that cannot be grown or sourced here and purchased reasonably can be bought in bulk at wholesale prices, helping out the budget of each charity, church or club that spends increasing funds to feed our children. If it does not exist already, we need a community resource guide to give to families that lists all of the caring sources here in the Valley where they can obtain the food aid they need, especially in the summers when the amazing school breakfast, lunch and backpack programs are not operating. The family need increases substantially at that time but the funds to cover it simply do not.For these children, the seemingly endless summer days can be a source of great stress.
And lastly, we need to communicate and work together so as to avoid applying for the same grants to address similar needs.
We are a Valley rich in resourceful, bright, industrious and generous, caring people — we can do this — Victoria and others already have. We can ask, listen, learn and apply, and while we need to be judicious, we don’t need to invest huge dollar amounts or hours of study if others are willing to share their knowledge with us. With time, talent and the will and commitment of many, we can find a way — we must find a way.