Monica Morrison, left, and Tammy Rogers of the Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

All Red Deerians invited to help fight poverty at May 22 meeting

An action plan needs input from businesses, schools, individuals, says poverty reduction group

The whole community needs to pull together if our collective goal is to draw Red Deerians out of poverty.

Organizers are hoping business people, educators, agency workers and interested individuals, including those with personal experience in poverty, turn up at the Golden Circle on May 22 to discuss how they can become part of a solution.

While many people have complained about signs of impoverishment in our city, Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance member Monica Morrison believes it’s possible to take collective action to make a positive change.

“Poverty has many different faces,” she added — and many aren’t as readily visible as the panhandlers in the street.

Members of her group want to turn a public discussion of the problem into a doable action plan.

Poverty seems insurmountable if only its economic side is considered, admitted Tammy Rogers, another member of the poverty reduction alliance.

The group commissioned the Poverty Needs and Opportunities Report, which was written after much public input and research into what other communities were doing. The consultant, Bassa Social Innovations, concluded that poverty is not just about dollars.

“It’s about a lack of opportunities and also about a lack of social connection,” Rogers added.

The document identifies poverty as a social problem, as much as an economic one: “Canadians are very independent, but we need to be more interdependent,” explained Rogers.

For instance, a single mother without affordable child care while she works or improves her education, can become stuck in a cycle of poverty.

Morrison believes it’s possible to have productive discussions and apply the kind of things that are working in other cities to Red Deer.

“When people come and hear the research, and see where they can fit in, they will see this is an opportunity to be part of the solution.”

There are two May 22 meeting times to choose from — either from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. or from 7 to 9 p.m. at 4620 47A Ave. For more information, call 403-343-6074.

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