EDITORIAL: Roll up your sleeves and help Share
It’s hard to fathom that pockets of poverty exist in the relatively affluent neighbourhoods of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody.
But the startling increase in food bank use over the past several years suggests something is taking place beyond the surface in this community of comfortable homes, busy shopping centres and well-stocked grocery stores.
The most obvious conclusion is that after paying for housing at some of the highest rental rates and house prices in the country, many people can’t afford to pay for food and, thus, find themselves at a local food bank once or twice a month.
Share Family and Community Services has seen the number of people who rely on food banks grow by 55% between 2006 and 2010, with those numbers climbing today to about 59%, according to its CEO Martin Wyant.
Fortunately, the community has always managed to meet this demand, and thanks to many businesses, individuals, groups and schools that donate food and money, there always seems to be just enough food on the shelves to fill those hampers.
But is that enough to address the needs of poverty in the region? While it’s true many will argue about the nature of poverty, its causes and its exact definition, we do know that there are children in these families who may be struggling because of forces not of their making.
Should we let those children struggle forever or can something be done to increase their chances of success?
Share has decided that something should be done and rather than pointing fingers of blame, the social service agency is trying to come up with some priorities and rally the community to help.
This roll-up-your-sleeves approach is sensible. With the right approach and the right project, the community can be inspired to take action and establish a legacy that goes beyond feeding people one day at a time.