Poverty all around us

Kudos to the BCTF, and more specifically Columneetza teacher Shannon Rerie and the CCTA Social Justice Committee, for bringing the issue of poverty to the forefront this week.  You can see more information in the Social Justice Committee’s challenge below to all staff in School District No. 27.

When my wife and I recently spent eighteen months in Rwanda with our four children, one of our goals was to enlighten ourselves and our children as to how most of the world lives.  While we did indeed live in a developing country for that period of time, we were still extremely fortunate to live in a secure apartment that had running water and many amenities that we are accustomed to in much of Canada.  We have been home now for almost two years, and it is easy to quickly forget how fortunate we are.

It is also easy to forget that many in Canada live in poverty every day.  We do not need to travel out of our own communities, never mind out of the country, to come in contact with families who are struggling to meet everyday needs.

Consider taking up the Poverty Challenge this week.  If you do nothing else, consider making a donation of $26 or 26 food items to the food bank nearest you:  


100 Mile House Food Bank Society

199 Seventh Street

100 Mile House, BC


The Salvation Army Food Bank

272 Borland Street

Williams Lake, BC


Memo from the Cariboo Chilcotin Teachers Association Social Justice Committee

The BCTF theme for the month of November is “Poverty”- awareness of poverty in our classrooms and communities, and awareness of what individuals can do politically to ensure that poverty is reduced in our province.

 B.C. has had the highest rate of poverty in all of Canada for the past eight years. We witness this in our classrooms everyday, where children and families living in poverty need more supports and help to improve their lives. The 2011 Child Poverty Report Card for B.C. (First Call) estimates that there are 90,000 children living in poverty who are school-aged (5+). First Call will put out the 2012 Child Poverty Report Card this November. Please check it out with your staff members- it is an invaluable resource for poverty statistics in B.C.

 The CCTA Social Justice Committee would like to put forward a challenge to all Teachers and District Staff:

 A single person living on welfare has $26 per week to spend on food after paying rent, bills, transportation, etc. Wow- not a lot, you say? Absolutely! What would it be like to eat for a week on only $26? What kinds of food could you afford at the grocery store? Which stores have the lowest prices for the food you need?

 Challenge: Could you eat for a week on $26? – Keep in mind you would not have food stocked up, so you can count condiments but nothing else currently in your cupboards or freezer.

 We are challenging individuals, small groups or whole staffs to take the challenge!!

 The week of November 19th-23rd complete the challenge…keep a diary of thoughts, ideas, feelings, etc. Submit this diary to the SJ Committee at shannon.rerie@sd27.bc.ca (Shannon Rerie – CCTA Social Justice Contact). This is completely voluntary. I would like to submit an article to the Williams Lake Tribune based on this project and the experiences teachers’ had- no names will be revealed.

 At the conclusion of the week, please feel free to donate $26 or 26 food items to a food bank of your choice.

Keep in mind that many of the children and families we teach on a daily basis are battling the stigma and reality of poverty. They are not to blame, and deserve our respect and understanding.

CCTA Social Justice Committee

I invite feedback and comments to any of my blog entries.  As the administrator of the blog, I approve all comments before they hit the public domain.  While I do not mind comments that disagree with my point of view, I will not post comments that I deem to be inappropriate, those which are personal attacks, or those which refer to specific personnel.  I also will not post comments from anonymous or nicknamed sources.  While one of my goals for this blog is open a dialogue, it needs to be a safe environment for everyone involved.  Thanks for considering this before making a comment. – Mark

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