Six priorities for Share
Filling hungry bellies is one of the top priorities of respondents to a survey dealing with child poverty and Share Family and Community Services is looking at ways to make it happen.
Share CEO Martin Wyant released the survey results Wednesday with the hope of starting a conversation on next steps and one of his pitches it to encourage people to donate to one of the top six priorities identified in the survey.
Wyant is also asking people to consider giving time and energy or other ideas to reduce child poverty.
"Our commitment when we started, and my suggestion now, is that we gather together to focus our attention on solutions that can help us move forward on the top six priorities, so that we can stay true to our focus and build momentum," Wyant stated in a press release.
The top six priorities identified by the survey are:
• providing breakfast and lunch programs for students who need them;
• encouraging developments that offer affordable housing, recreation, childcare and social services;
• improving the financial literacy of children and parents;
• increasing the number of no-cost/low-cost recreation opportunities for vulnerable children and families;
• providing more after-school support for vulnerable children;
• and emphasizing practical learning opportunities in schools.
Share is also encouraging people to further refine the list of priorities by responding to another survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/PYTC5HJ.
In an earlier interview with The Tri-City News, Wyant said Share's child poverty efforts follow on the heels of a community forum last spring to talk about the issue after noticing that food bank use had climbed 59% since 2006/’07 and was showing no signs of abating.
As well, results from a recent poverty survey found B.C. with the second worst poverty rates in Canada based on Statistics Canada's low-income cutoff figures. The number of poor children in B.C., according to First Call, is 119,000, about the same as the total populations of New Westminster, Esquimalt, Cranbrook and Williams Lake combined.
But the report did note that B.C. experienced modest improvements, with the rate dropping from 16.3% in 2009 to 14.3% in 2010.