To the Editor,
I was sorry to hear, on this morning’s news, that the Lake Country food bank in Kelowna is so stretched for facilities— overflowing into outside storage containers.
It begs questions Canadian citizens ought to be asking the elected/hired officials who manage peoples’ hard-earned tax-dollars, such as the most obvious: why, where there is so much wealth, do food banks even exist?
But more importantly, who are the people who increasingly—with their children in tow—need to access food banks? What’s their story?
They’re not all “down ‘n’ outers”. I know of former health-care professionals, living on government disability equivalent (on a 40/hour work-week) to less than $6.50/hour. Even if they are able to work a little, as government allows, they’re still restricted to bringing in a total of about $11.25/hour. Still not a “livable wage” by today’s cost of living standards, especially in B.C.
So since government refuses to mandate a livable minimum wage of $15/hour and (as Senator Hugh Segal has suggested) a “guaranteed annual income” so nobody lives below the poverty line, the least government could do is support municipal food banks.
Better fed people cost health-care and the judicial system less because they are able to make better choices when their brains are well-nourished and they aren’t overstressed, in survival mode, wondering where their next meal is going to come from.
Governments that fail to grasp this are part of the problem.