Dear Mayor/City Councillors,
Poverty and hunger are serious issues that effect thousands of citizens in our community. The need for food banks and soup kitchens has increased in recent years. This impact is being felt right here in Cornwall Ontario.
A report from the Association of Food Banks says: “Seventy nine per cent of food banks in Ontario reported an increase in the number of persons turning to them for support. Although many major centres have witnessed significant growth in demand, the greatest increases have been seen in mid-sized communities that have been hit hard by job losses. Food banks in communities including Orillia, Lindsay, Cornwall, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, St. Thomas, Stratford, Oshawa, and London have seen their figures spike between 12 and 41 per cent in the last twelve months. Beyond job losses and overall economic decline, the price of basics like food, energy, and water has risen substantially in the past year, further compounding the pressures that have forced more Ontarians to turn to food banks. Many of Ontario’s food banks are struggling to meet demand. One in five locations does not have enough food to meet the needs of those they serve. Communities have also surpassed the threshold by which neighbours provide enough food donations to support their local food bank.”
Over a thousand people use the Agapè Centre food bank and soup kitchen in Cornwall monthly, this is a significant number! That includes families with children, the working poor, senior citizens, and people with disabilities. Food poverty means a lack of access to essential and nutritious food. Charity can work when times are prosperous and enough people can afford to donate, but as more and more of our neighbours fall through the cracks, donations are simply not enough. Good policies as well as investments in social services are necessary to meet the needs of our community.
Alyssa Blais, executive director of the Agapè Centre, recently made a petition to City Council for funding. The SD&G Coalition for Social Justice fully encourages and supports any support the City of Cornwall can provide to the Agapè Centre. They are the largest hunger relief organization in our community, they fulfill an important role in our community, and as demands for their services have increased, it makes sense to support their grant proposal. Investing in social services during these challenging time. Please consider their request, it is an important social investment that will improve the overall quality of life.
Chair of the SD&G Coalition for Social Justice.