Food banks need help year-round

Don't just think about the foodbank in Port Alberni during the holidays, one reader says.

To the Editor,

Please, remember to make regular food bank donations throughout the year and let’s put a dent in poverty, wherever we can, this year.

Please, make it a New Year resolution and mark the following “cheque-issue dates” on your new 2012 calendars: March 21, May 23, and July 25 as well as Dec. 19—as I’m assuming history will repeat and Dec.19’s funds will have to stretch until Jan.25, 2013 just as this year’s Dec. 21 funds must stretch until Jan. 25, 2012.

These dates are when your local food bank is likely to see an upsurge in their already burgeoning clientele, as they begin five-week rather than the usual four-week periods, when recipients of government financial assistance must stretch whatever (if anything) is left over after paying rent etc., for an extra seven days.

Even with only four weeks between cheques most clients are already on short-rations seven to 10 days before next cheque-issue. So that extra week is harsh, especially when they hit during the winter. It sets clients up for health problems because they barely have time to recover from one debilitating five-week period before they’re facing another. (Welfare will rebut that it provides an annual $35 Christmas bonus, for which I’m sure clients are grateful.)

No matter who you are, you can help. Give food. Give money. Give time.

And urge your local MLA to end legislated poverty in British Columbia, once and for all.  No matter what their political stripes, they’ve all known welfare funding inequities have been going on for decades.

Liz Stonard,

Port Alberni