Reality: A lot of families in the South Cariboo live in poverty.
According to statistics, one in four children in the South Cariboo lives in poverty.
This should strike an emotional and soul-searching response from each and every one of us.
Poverty is a huge problem and we cannot look at it like it’s a numbers game – “ah, one in four ain’t so bad.”
No, it is very bad!
Poverty at any level is unacceptable in our community.
The children we are talking about could belong to one or more of our neighbours.
It means one in four children we see walking down the street, or in a classroom or some other gathering place is going hungry every day of his or her life.
When 25 per cent of our community’s children say they are starving, it’s not because breakfast, lunch or dinner is an hour later than usual.
No, it means they’re going to bed hungry and they’re waking up hungry.
It’s a terrible existence for these children.
They suffer in silence.
These children dare not to complain because it will cause emotional pain for mom and/or dad – or worse.
For many of them, the only hot meal they will eat during the day will be the one that is prepared at their schools.
School parent advisory committee members and social service agencies know poverty can, and likely does, cause developmental issues for 25 per cent of our community’s children.
Poverty takes a terrible toll on our community because it can cause childhood developmental problems early on.
Down the road, it can wreck havoc in terms of health-care costs, crime rates and an unbroken chain of families living in poverty.
So, it is an issue we, as individuals and as a community, have to start working now, so we can break that chain of poverty.
Perhaps the groundwork for a solution began when CFEC executive director Lisa De Paoli and South Cariboo Food Security Committee vice-chair Rita Giesbrecht met with the South Cariboo Joint Committee on June 13.
They asked the local politicians to take a resolution to the Union of British Columbia asking the provincial government to develop a poverty-reduction plan.
B.C. is the only province in Canada that doesn’t have such a plan.
Having a provincial poverty-reduction plan would set the foundation for the fight against children going to bed and waking up hungry.
Developing a plan would increase awareness, open up public dialogue, and in the end, provide funding so local communities can break the cycle of family poverty.
We need to have public meetings to discuss these issues.
We need to tell our local politicians to support a resolution for a provincial plan
No one should have to suffer the psychological and physical damage caused by poverty.