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 20 years. 1 in 5 children in BC are living in poverty – that’s 172,550 — larger than the entire population of Coquitlam. 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!
In December 2019, the Poverty Free Action Team visited Minister Shane Simpson’s office to share this message. Deliver a “gift” to your MLA and share this message too!
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 your MLA
Please take a few seconds to Email your MLA (and other provincial political leaders) to ask them to commit to establishing an accountable, bold and comprehensive Poverty Reduction Plan for BC. Check out other opportunities for action at ABCplan.ca.
The Poverty Free Action Team created a calendar with an action you can take take every day to take action against poverty in our province. Starting on Christmas Day, print it out and check the box each day or follow the hashtag #RethinkGiving for the latest updates!
3. New Year’s Re
The Poverty Free Action Team put a twist on some traditional New Year’s Resolutions to help #RethinkGiving. Put up a New Year’s Revolutions poster in your community. Make your New Year’s Resolution count: focus on advocating for an accountable, bold and comprehensive poverty reduction plan and share it on social media with the hashtag #RethinkGiving.
4. 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!
- Justice not Charity lesson plan for teachers.
5. Resources to learn more
- First Call BC’s Child Poverty Report Card
- Food Banks Canada’s Hunger Count 2019 Report
- Op-ed “Donating isn’t a long term solution for poverty and hunger,” published by the Georgia Straight on Jan. 9, 2014.
- Video about Thinking Upstream
6. 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!