British Columbia’s record for dealing with child poverty is terrible. That once again became obvious earlier this week when the First Call BC report card was issued.
Using 90 provincial organizations and 25 communities in its study, First Call BC is once again shining a spotlight on the fact this province trails the rest of Canada when it comes to dealing with child poverty. For eight years BC was the worst. This year we only trail Manitoba.
The large majority of the recorded 119,000 children living in poverty reside in Metro Vancouver (about 80,000), but this is not just a big city issue.
Though not by design, in today’s paper you can read a few stories about poverty issues right in our own rural backyard.
As it has over the last few years, the local Salvation Army is dealing with empty shelves. The local branch was forced to turn people looking for food items away earlier this week. Many of those people were the working poor who had children to support.
There are two stories directly related to kids who don’t have enough to eat. The story about the Trafalgar leadership class thanking the Real Canadian Wholesale Club for a sizable donation to a breakfast program gives one hope. But the fact 20 to 30 kids rely on a free breakfast at the middle school to help them muster the energy to learn is distressing.
You can also read about Our Daily Bread marking 10 years in the community and how the program continues to struggle to stay alive. It’s hard to imagine what those who rely on its nutritious meals would do without it.
Child poverty is not a Lower Mainland issue. One hungry kid in our community or any other is too many. First Call BC is requesting the Liberal government appoint a minister responsible for child poverty. We completely agree and hope it happens soon.