BC is one of the most generous provinces in Canada in terms of how much we give to charity. We give our time and money because we care about those less fortunate than ourselves.
And yet, BC has had one of the highest poverty rates in Canada for the last 15 years. 1 in 5 children in BC are living in poverty – that’s 167,810, enough to fill Disneyland four times. It’s clearly time for a different approach.
Food banks are necessary to address the immediate needs of people living with hunger and malnutrition. However, these services can only provide short-term relief for the downstream symptoms of poverty and we need long-term solutions that go upstream to fix its root causes. That’s why this holiday season we ask you to #rethinkgiving and go beyond charity; let’s think about achieving justice!
Here’s how you can get involved in the campaign!
Poverty is a heavy issue. Giving to charity is the community stepping up and now we need to ask the government to share the weight with us.
BC is now the last province in Canada to commit to having a poverty reduction plan. Everywhere else, it was community pressure that convinced their government to take action so your voice will make a difference!
1. Email our Leaders
Please take a few seconds to Email the Premier (and other provincial political leaders) to ask them to commit to establish a comprehensive Poverty Reduction Plan for BC.
2. Share the Weight Toolkit
You can use our resources to launch the Share the Weight activity at your school, workplace, church or with any other group. Our full toolkit includes:
- Share the Weight: An upstream alternative (or supplement) to your Food Bank Drive activity plan.
- #rethinkgiving poster, which you can put up around your community!
- Thank you card and postcard for food bank donors and students families.
- Justice not Charity lesson plan for teachers.
3. Resources to learn more
- 5 things you should know about poverty in BC fact sheet and BC Poverty Reduction Coalition poster
- First Call BC’s Child Poverty Report Card
- Food Banks Canada’s Hunger Count 2015 Report
- Op-ed “BC’s Finance Committee recommends poverty reduction plan – again!” published by the Vancouver Sun on Nov. 20, 2015
- Op-ed “Donating isn’t a long term solution for poverty and hunger,” published by the Georgia Straight on Jan. 9, 2014.
- Op-ed “BC needs a poverty-reduction plan: Evidence of the extent of poverty cannot be ignored,” published by the Vancouver Sun on Nov. 27, 2014
You can also watch and share these two great videos:
Think Upstream animation from thinkupstream.net:
Powerful reminder of the impact of poverty on child learning from Anna Chudnovsky, Vancouver elementary school teacher:
4. Join the Poverty Free Action Team
Action Team members organized this #rethinkgiving campaign, and the group is open to everyone concerned about poverty in BC who wants to do something about it! The Action Team meets once a month, and offers the opportunity to learn about the Poverty Reduction Coalition’s work, connect with like-minded folks, and access resources to gain (or develop) experience in community organizing. This is your chance to help address poverty in BC at its roots. Everyone welcome!