Saturday Dec 3, 2016


Pov News

'Justice not Charity' says Crowd

Have 'food banks become a national institution'?

By Lama Mugabo, courtesy of Jean Swanson, Activist


elfare keeps us on a hunger binge.

Standing in line for an hour and a half is not fun. I get judged," said Carmen Paterson, one of about 40 low income people who marched from Carnegie Centre to the CBC Plaza today to call for Justice, not Charity today.


Today is the 30th year that the CBC has raised money for the Food Bank, "This is not something to celebrate," said Lama Mugabo who helped Raise the Rates organize the event. "It's troubling that food banks have become a national institution"

Joanne Shaw said that she had "felt the shame" of having to use food banks and being on welfare. "A cheque would last a week and then I'd have to go three weeks with no money. With no food you become preoccupied with it.


Compassion doesn't buy food," said Shaw. Shaw said it wasn't right to have to stand in line in the cold at a food bank just for a basic human right. "If they raised the welfare rates it would help a lot of people."

"It's really really crucial that these rates get raised," said Phoenix Winter who chaired the Poor People's Radio part of the event. Current welfare rates are $610 a month for a single person for everything.

Gunargie O'Sullivan said its crucial to raise the rates to help children. "If you have a child and that child has a birthday, it throws your whole budget off. Do you celebrate the birthday or pay the hydro?" she asked

People should vote for the government that "listens to the people, not the rich," added Mugabo. Finishing off the event, Raise the Rates volunteer Jean Swanson said that charity can be poor bashing if the giver feels better than the person who is receiving. Charity also creates the impression that needs are being met when they aren't, she said. For example, the $600,000 that the CBC raised last year during their food bank day would provide about $3 to each person on welfare in BC. "People need thousands more dollars a year," said Swanson, "not a mere $3."



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