LETTERS: ‘Compassion and charity are personal choices’

Jan. 19: Food sharing programs address economic inequality in Alberni Valley, says letter writer

To the Editor,

This is in response to the letter from Theresa St. Jacques, published Dec. 22.  The writer wondered if individuals are taking advantage of generous people in this community.

Compassion and charity are personal choices.   Fortunately, here in Port Alberni, many people understand the grim results of a stagnant economy.    The AV Vital Signs report states that 30 percent of our children live in poverty, 10 percent higher than the rest of B.C.

Many volunteers here provide breakfast and lunch to school children, because they know that without proper nutrition, hungry kids face learning challenges in the classroom, and therefore, their education is compromised, affecting their future prospects.

The food sharing programs in Port Alberni provide nutrition to our neighbours struggling with medical problems, family breakdown, loss of employment, addiction, inadequate housing, and other issues that are a result of our weak local economy.

These programs are helping to address the economic inequality in our community.

I don’t know what the writer is referring to by ‘civic lessons’ for people receiving community charity.

She may not know that employable income assistance recipients work with employment counsellors who are skilled in identifying barriers that recipients may have, and recommending life skills workshops and training programs for them.

The focus is supportive, never punitive.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I agree. A community is, ideally, a group of residents who care about social justice and a desire to help their fellow citizens achieve their potential.

Blaming people for their poverty is not a solution. Instead, question why three levels of government have done so little to advocate for this community’s economic recovery.

Rosalind Chapman,

Port Alberni

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Too much ‘free’ going on

To the Editor,

Re: Who’s keeping track of generosity?, Letters, Dec. 22.

I agree with Theresa St. Jacques, her opinions she shared on keeping track of generosity.

There is way too much free going on, and taking food home from school has gone too far.

R. Whipp,

Port Alberni