We are having a rally November 15th to celebrate completion of Do the Math Challenges in 18 communities around Ontario and to lay the ground work for the next stages in the campaign.
Where: Wychwood Barns,
601 Christie Street, BARN #2, Toronto MAP
Time: 7 – 9 P.M.
MUSIC: Bill King and Stacey Bulmer
Wednesday October 6th, 2010
- Diana Stapleton Speaks at Press Conference
- “Poverty Hits Hard in City Core” Spectator covers Different Impacts of Poverty and Food Insecurity event yesterday in Hamilton
- Listen to Ottawa CBC morning show for interview with Ottawa Challenge Team Member
- Muskoka Challenge Team
- Woodstock Challenge Team
- Hamilton Challenge Team
- Spread the Word
1. Diana Stapleton: Chairperson of Weston Emergency Food Bank said at press conference: “I have supported the Liberal party in Ontario for most of my life, but if you cannot see your way to doing a better job helping the most vulnerable members of our community I will have to take my vote elsewhere.” Hear her speak here!
2. Poverty Hits Hard in City Core: Ines Rios, executive director of St. Joseph’s Immigrant Women’s Centre, said when she moved to Canada from Chile in her late 20s, “I thought this country will have justice because there are so many resources. I thought it was impossible that I would ever be poor or see poverty.” For full story see here.
3. Listen to Ottawa CBC morning show: If you are in the Ottawa area listen for Challenge Team members Sara Lyons and Holly Ralph on the CBC morning talk show – sometime between 6:00 and 8:30!
4. Muskoka Challenge Team
- laude Doubty, Mayor of Huntsville.
- Gord Adams, Chair of the District of Muskoka.
- Fran Coleman Councillor in Huntsville.
- Matt Driscoll reporter for local press.
- Beth Ward ED of YWCA.
- Susan Biehn Smith and Kim Scott are both members of PROMPT and work for HANDS, the family help network.
5. Woodstock Challenge team: includes Woodstock Sentinel-Review reporter Bruce Urquhart and his Day Two of Challenge report is here
6. Hamilton Challenge Team includes:
- Hussein Hamdani – Hamilton Spectator columnist.
- Dr. Yaser Haddar.
- Carol Wood – Chaplain, McMaster University.
- Gary Warner – Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, recipient of Order of Canada.
- Michael Patterson – Executive Officer, Diocese of Niagara Anglican Church of Canada.
- Terry Cooke – CEO, Hamilton Community Foundation.
7. Spread the Word: You can help us spread the word of the Do the Math Challenge by forwarding this email through your networks. Thank you!! Please forward this email among your networks. And follow The Challenge on Posterous and on Twitter.
Tuesday October 5th, 2010
- Nadia Edwards, Archbishop Colin Johnson and Fred Hahn Speak!
- Michael Prue asks Premier in Question Period if he will Do the Math Challenge
- Different Impacts of Poverty and Food Insecurity – Events This Week Around Ontario
- Disproportionate Impacts on Racialized Communities
- Rural Poverty
- Cornwall Challenge Team
- Spread the Word
2. Michael Prue asks Premier in Question Period if he will Do the Math Challenge: Premier McGuinty redirects a question to Minster Laurel Broten that she was “pleased to stand beside my Premier last week as we launched the campaign at Daily Bread Food Bank for their Thanksgiving food drive”. This government seems to prefer food banks as a permanent solution rather than adequate social assistance levels that “Put Food in the Budget.” For full text see here.
3. Events This Week Around Ontario: Different Impacts of Poverty and Food Insecurity
- Disproportionate Impacts on Racialized Communities: On Tuesday, October 5th, 2010 at 11:00 am the Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre will be hosting a “Do the Math Challenge” anti-poverty campaign, press conference focusing on the racialization of poverty in the Steel City Room at their location at 71 Rebecca Street, Hamilton.
- Rural Poverty: “Poverty and food security issues are often invisible or poorly understood in rural communities like ours. On October 8th, as a prelude to the Thanksgiving weekend, there will be a Community Round Table to look at what it costs to eat in Grey Bruce and what happens when there isn’t enough money to ‘put food in the budget’. Everyone is invited to attend and put the issues of poverty and food security on ‘on the table’ for discussion. It’s an opportunity to learn about the facts and work together on community strategies to improve food security and health in Grey Bruce.”
4. Cornwall Challenge Team: Monday morning the Cornwall Challenge was launched including St-Lawrence College Professor Jody Souka-Marleau, Upper Canada Leger Centre for Education and Training Executive Director Carmen Cousineau, DreamBuilder Studios Owner Mark Owen, City of Cornwall Mayor Bob Kilger and The Social Development Council’s Executive Director Michelle Gratton. You can see media coverage of their launch here. And follow their community blog here.
5. Spread the Word: You can help us spread the word of the Do the Math Challenge by forwarding this email through your networks. Thank you!! Please forward this email among your networks. And follow The Challenge on Posterous and on Twitter.
Daily Update – October 4th, 2010
The Do the Math ‘Challenge’ was announced at a press conference at Queen’s Park this morning. Every day this week we will send out a brief update on activities and news around the province. Please forward this email among your networks. And follow the Challenge on http://pfib.posterous.com/ and on Twitter @putfoodinbudget
- Press Conference Highlights
- Provincial Challenge Team – Follow them
- Kitchener-Waterloo Challenge highlights
- Sudbury Launch – Follow Sudbury Challenge Team
- Cambridge Announcement – Follow Cambridge Team
- Spread the Word
1. Press Conference Highlights: Anglican Archbishop Colin Johnson; Nadia Edwards from the Stop Community Food Centre and Bread and Bricks Davenport West Social Justice Group; Diana Stapleton from Weston Emergency Food Bank and Fred Hahn from CUPE Ontario all spoke in a clear and compelling way about the need for an immediate increase of $100 a month for every adult in Ontario on social assistance. You will be able to see video clips of their presentations on our website tomorrow.
3. Kitchener-Waterloo Challenge Team: began their Challenge on Thursday September 23 with an announcement at Waterloo Square and an endorsement from Mayor Brenda Halloran of the $100 a month increase. Their challenge concluded with a community meal on Friday October 1st attended by 50 people. Ashley, a student member of Challenge team said of her experience “It is not a challenge to live on such a small food budget – it is impossible”. See a video of her statement here. Front-page article in Kitchener-Record describes experience of Mike Farrell of 570 News Reporter here. You can read the blog of all the K-W Challenge Team members experience here.
4. Sudbury Challenge Team – Twenty four people in Sudbury are taking the challenge including Alice Haasdyk, a dietician at Sudbury Regional Hospital, Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer for the Sudbury & District Health Unit, Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas and CBC Radio Morning North host Markus Schwabe. You can read the blog of all the Sudbury Challenge Team members here.
5. Cambridge Challenge Team – The Challenge Team includes more than a dozen high-profile residents. It will help kick off poverty-free month in Cambridge. The month will put poverty issues on the front burner at events including the hamper challenge, all-candidates meetings hosted by the social planning council, presentations to Cambridge council and MPP Gerry Martiniuk, as well as events at the food bank. You can see the article in the Cambridge Times here and follow the Challenge team online here.
6. Spread the Word: You can help us spread the word of the Do the Math Challenge by forwarding this email through your networks. Thank you!!
The McGuinty government’s poverty-reduction strategy is not addressing the needs of hundreds of thousands of Ontario residents. In fact, the most recent Ontario budget heightens the food insecurity people on social assistance experience and undermines the well-being of our communities.
Food insecurity means everything from being hungry to not knowing where the next meal is coming from to being chronically malnourished due to poverty. The decision to cut the Special Diet Allowance threatens access to healthy food for tens of thousands of people. The Ontario budget also reduces the real income of people on social assistance because the 1 per cent increase in social assistance does not keep up with the rise in consumer prices.
Many organizations have justly been critical of the recent cut to the Special Diet Allowance, but we want to put it in the context of two things: the systemic impacts on health of food insecurity caused by poverty; and the common resolve of our organizations to work together with our patients, clients, neighbours and fellow Ontario residents to support their rights to a decent, livable income.
Sixteen provincial health and community service organizations have signed a joint statement of concern about the health impacts of food insecurity brought on by poverty. Every day, these organizations work with vulnerable Ontarians across the province. Through these relationships and the evidence gathered from our work we know that living on social assistance often means having to choose between paying the rent or feeding loved ones.
Urgent action is needed because:
- Social assistance rates are dangerously low; they lead to food insecurity and are clearly insufficient for human health and dignity.
- Food insecurity harms health and shortens life expectancy.
- The harm and poor health outcomes of food insecurity disproportionately impact groups of people already dealing with other forms of discrimination.
- Investment in healthy food for people on social assistance will result in cost savings to our health care system and ultimately will improve overall prosperity.
McGuinty’s promise of transforming the social assistance system into one that will allow people to live in health and dignity is sound health policy and consistent with our collective responsibility for human rights. Income is a root determinant of health status. The RNAO, in its report Creating Vibrant Communities says “Where one falls along the income gradient is literally a matter of life and death. There is overwhelming evidence from academic research and our own nursing practice that those who live in poverty and are socially excluded experience a greater burden of disease and die earlier than those who have better access to economic, social and political resources.”
The cancellation of the Special Diet Allowance and meagre increases in social assistance rates are setbacks on any promised path to transform social assistance.
If a person is hungry, it is harder to learn, to work, to avoid depression, to avoid chronic diseases such as diabetes and to “eat right.” Hundreds of thousands of Ontario residents need more healthy food now.
The organizations signing this joint statement call on the Ontario government to:
- Commit to revised social assistance rates based on actual local living costs, including housing and food through a process that includes meeting with stakeholder organizations to collaboratively determine the appropriate level of support to provide social assistance recipients in Ontario.
- Immediately implement as an interim step a healthy food supplement increase of $100 per month for every adult on social assistance.
- Maintain access to healthy food through a nutritional supplement program that retains at least the current Special Diet Allowance budget allocation of $250 million.
The organizations signing this joint statement also commit to work together with our patients, clients, neighbours and fellow Ontario residents in support of their equal rights to an income that provides a life of health and dignity.
Janet Gasparini is president, Social Planning Network of Ontario; Doris Grinspun is president, Registered Nurses Association of Ontario; Adrianna Tetley is executive director, Association of Ontario Health Centres.