Child poverty is a year-round issue
Campaign 2000, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting child poverty, released a report last week that ranked child poverty by federal riding.
In our riding of Stormont, Dundas and South Glengarry, the child poverty rate is 19.9 percent, that means that nearly one-in-five children live in poverty right here in Cornwall and the United Counties.
While that number is not the highest in Canada, it is still higher than most ridings and is evidence of the importance of supporting organizations like the Agapè Centre, St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Salvation Army.
Those organizations receive a tremendous amount of focus during the Christmas season every year, as they should, but let’s not forget about them during the summer months as well.
The Agapè Centre for example, typically runs some of their biggest fundraisers during the summer. Last year they held their very successful One-bag Challenge and this year, they are currently holding a food drive in partnership with Wine Rack Cornwall.
The reason for this is that during the school year, students from low-income families can often take advantage of school meal programs. During the summer, these programs aren’t there which means the family needs to find those meals somewhere else. Many families find their meals at the Agapè Centre. Around 100 to 160 people use the Agapè Centre soup kitchen every day and their food bank serves around 125 families.
In addition to helping out these great causes when we can, another thing we can do as citizens is ensure that our government, at every level, is working to solve problems like child poverty.
I don’t mind paying taxes as long as they are spent wisely, and used to solve problems that I can’t solve on my own, like solving child poverty.
No child wants to live in poverty and there are strategies that can be employed to help fight child poverty even at the municipal level of government.
Providing access to affordable child daycare, school lunch programs, summer food programs, and jobs for parents that can provide a living wage are just some ideas that could be imple- mented to help ease child poverty.
Are you surprised by the level of child poverty in our area? Do you have ideas on what we could do as a community to address this issue? Send us a Letter to the Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org