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Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance is rebooting

Organization wants to rebuild an become a louder advocacy voice

Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance is on a rebuilding mission.

The organization focused on ensuring central Albertans have food security has been dormant for a couple of years, largely because of the pandemic.

However, it hopes to change that and return as an even stronger advocacy voice in the region.

“I think it’s a chance to start anew and build something even better,” said Elise Leong-Sit, who is the chair of the alliance’s (CAPRA) food security action committee.

A Zoom discussion was to take place on Thursday afternoon, which was expected to draw representatives from not-for-profit groups, food banks, food rescue agencies, municipalities, Family and Community Support Services and others who are passionate about ensuring all have enough to eat.

Leong-Sit sees Thursday’s meeting as an opportunity to map out a general direction to pursue going into next year.

“I hope that we will be able to meet regularly over 2022 to put some plans into action. But to start, I just want to hear everyone’s voices and generate some buy-in and ownership among community members for this kind of work.

“We are welcoming anybody and everybody who is passionate about food in central Alberta.”

CAPRA is focused, not just on Red Deer, but the entire region, she said.

“People are welcome to join at any time,” she said. “So, if someone misses the first meeting but is interested in joining in January or March or next summer, the door is never closed.

“We’d love to hear everyone’s voice in the community.”

The reality is that access to enough healthy food has become only more challenging as food costs continue to rise.

“Over the last many years, the net cost of food has increased. What we call household food insecurity is one of the many symptoms of poverty, unfortunately.

“What I’d like to see is more advocacy at the upstream level to reduce the real causes of poverty. But in the meantime, if we can at least address this symptom it’s one step at a time to build a more equitable future for everybody.

“Even individuals who work full-time, many of them don’t have enough money to buy proper food for a family of four after they’ve paid other mandatory costs like rent and transportation expenses.

“Certainly there is a need for some kind of collective action to really address the root causes of these sorts of issues.”

A follow-up Zoom meeting has already been set up for next year on Jan. 19, to establish a list of priorities.

For more information on CAPRA go to www.capovertyreduction.ca.

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