Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hunger in Stratford

Recommended food basket Typical food basket

Last night’s Do the Math – Stratford Town Hall Meeting (part of the Put Food in the Budget Campaign) was  a real eye-opener. 

We heard from three of the people who took part in the Do the Math Challenge, either living on a food budget of $5 a day or eating only what is contained in a typical food basket.

Steve Stacey took the $5 a day challenge.  He ate mostly potatoes.  He said that he had been hungry before, but this was the first time he’d ever had to go hungry.  He had to work on an empty stomach, which made it impossible to give his best.  The hunger made him grumpy, impatient and irritable.

Kerry McManus took the food basket challenge.  The worst part for her was having a friend for dinner and worrying about running out of food.  It’s so hard to share when you don’t have enough.

Ali Matthews also took the food basket challenge.  She was shocked by how much processed food was in it.  It’s of such poor nutritional quality and we’re saying to the people who need help “This is what you can have.”

Eye-opening as the challenge was, the participants are now back to eating as they normally do.  People who rely on public assistance have to live the challenge every single day.

Or as one MPP said when refusing to participate “This is not a challenge – this is impossible.”

Please check out Put Food in the Budget.  Our neighbours deserve so much better than they’re getting right now.  We need to get involved.  As Mike Balkwill, who led last night’s session explained, “Public opinion is not powerful unless it’s organized.”

It’s time to get organized.


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