Child poverty is a year-round is­sue

Seaway News - - Opinion - NICK SEE­BRUCH ni­cholas.see­

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 ni­cholas.see­

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