For Immediate Release: Friday October 1st 2010 – Media Call: 289-221-0928
Introducing – Put Food In the Budget Campaign in Ontario, Canada – DO THE MATH CHALLENGE! October 4- 8, 2010
A collaborative team of concerned York Regioners made up of individuals and representatives of concerned social agencies is putting phase two of the Ontario-wide ‘Put Food in The Budget campaign’s “Do The Math” plan into action, called the “Do The Math Challenge”.
Do The Math – In phase one MPP’s and others across Ontario and York Region were asked by local “Do The Math” teams to fill out a math survey form with blanks in the locations where costs associated with living were listed ie: rent – to reach a monthly total. The exercise highlights the difficulty individuals have surviving on social assistance. The hope was that by doing the exercise, politicians (and others) could see the immediate need to support a $100 healthy food supplement for every adult on social assistance. By using this streamlined method of raising rates, it avoids waiting for the lengthy full review / re-vamp process – something the Ontario government currently is “planning” to do. The wait expected, is simply too long for some desperate for more assistance now before it’s too late, and before too many lose their health, homes and dignity.
“Do The Math Challenge”- Phase two – involves profile persons willing to live the experience of a low budget diet for 5 days – including food-bank rations – and write and speak about their experiences. Participants may also be asked to “shadow” someone with lived experience or attend a ‘community” meal. Participants are asked to consider supporting the $100 healthy food supplement afterward. “Do The Math Challenge” week will commence October 4-8, 2010 with local participants also agreeing to comment on October 17th- at Fairy Lake Park, Newmarket, as part of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty activities. York Region Media Group’s Era / Banner Editor in Chief, Debora Kelly will “shadow” Kristine Carbis, a key community organizer and single mom. Faith groups as well are represented with interfaith group members Michael and Christine Way Skinner and their children Alicia, Beth Oliver, Anna and Patrick to attempt as a family, and as well Rabbi Martin and wife Rachel Steinhouse have volunteered and Rev. Robin Wardlaw.
Participants pick up their “food hampers” – a typical food-bank ration – Monday, October 4th at 11 am at 510 Penrose St., Newmarket, given an orientation, and asked to sign a participation pledge before being sent off. Each will be provided with a food voucher – good for $10 per individual – and be allowed access to an additional 4 items (such as flour, coffee) from their home pantries. Blogs may be posted online and as well journals of their experience recorded for future posting. As York Region “ Do The Math’ group Coordinator and York Region Food Network Representative, Yvonne Kelly hopes the exercise pays off with more support for those affected so they can eat healthily.
“The challenges people have on low income to access just the basics like food are not easy. Impossible choices we call it.”