Here is a Thanksgiving message to you from Yvonne Kelly, Chair, York Region Do the Math Working Group, and Program Coordinator, YORK REGION FOOD NETWORK in Ontario, Canada:

Do the Math Challenge Event:    October 4th-8th

This week in communities across Ontario, community members, leaders and high profile individuals are standing in solidarity with individuals on social assistance, by limiting themselves to a food bank diet for one week.  This is the latest stage in the provincial Put Food in the Budget Campaign for an immediate increase of $100 a month for every adult in Ontario receiving social assistance so that they can afford more healthy food.

The Challenge Event in York Region is being hosted by the York Region Do the Math Working Group which consists of numerous organizations, faith groups, community members, individuals with lived experience of poverty and anti-poverty activists.

Our brave Participants who have volunteered to Take The Challenge include:

Reverend Robin Wardlaw and his wife Rita More, Trinity United Church

Debora Kelly, Editor in Chief, York Region Media Group

Michael and Christine Way Skinner and their five children, St. John Chrysostom Church

Rabbi Martin Steinhouse and his wife Rachel, Am Echad Congregation

To learn more about the Challenge Event please visit our York Region Do the Math Facebook Page found at  York Region Do the Math or  log in to Facebook and Search for the York Region Do the Math Group.  We encourage your comments and feedback. Visit the Discussion, Photos and Events Section for more information on the York Region Challenge and to follow the journeys of our challengers as they are sharing those on Facebook, their own blogs and on twitter. You can also visit www.putfoodinthebudget.ca to find out more about the Provincial Do the Math Challenge and the Provincial Challenge Team.

Many of you have already taken the Do the Math Survey which can be found at www.putfoodinthebudget.ca . By doing so you have a chance to declare what you think it costs for an individual to live for one month on social assistance, and compare it to the actual amount that they are eligible for. If you haven’t yet completed the survey, we urge you to do so.

As we approach this Thanksgiving Weekend, we consider this to be the optimum time to raise consciousness about the dire consequences so many of our neighbours find themselves in. Poverty, and hunger in particular, is part of an ongoing way of life for an increasing number of people in York Region, as we discovered throughout the Social Audit Process in the spring of this year.  At the heart of it always, is inadequate income and as a result, lack of access to healthy foods.  We ask that each of you will think about this as you head into this weekend to celebrate a time of sharing, which focuses on food and family.  While many will give to the food banks at this time of year as a way of addressing the issue of hunger in York Region, we implore you to recognize that short term emergency measures will never adequately address poverty – otherwise that would have happened by now.  In actuality, the problem has grown since food banks became the standard response in Ontario in the ‘80s and individuals on social assistance today in 2010 are receiving less real income than they did in 1995.

Thank you in advance for your time, for checking out our website, and for taking the Do the Math Survey.  We hope that we can count on your support for the $100/month Healthy Food Supplement and would be happy to answer any of your questions or to discuss this further.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.

Yvonne Kelly

Chair, York Region Do the Math Working Group

Yvonne Kelly,  Program Coordinator

YORK REGION FOOD NETWORK

(905) 967-0428 EXT. 205

yvonnek@yrfn.ca

www.yrfn.ca

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