Red Deerians asked to Chew on This!

Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance raises poverty awareness

Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance hosted a noon-hour Chew On This! event on Monday to get Red Deerians thinking and talking about poverty.

Two hundred brown paper bags containing an apple and information were distributed to people on the street near Ross Street Patio to raise awareness about the realities for those living in poverty and food insecurity.

“We just want to bring awareness. Help people understand more about it so they feel more empowered to do something, as small or big as that can be,” said Harrison Blizzard, CAPRA Food Security Action Committee Chair during Red Deer’s first Chew On This! organized by CAPRA.

Red Deer was one of more than 30 communities across Canada where a total of 22,000 brown paper bags stamped “Chew On This!” were given out on Monday which is also International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

“A lot of people may feel they may never experience poverty. But a lot of people are one pay cheque away,” Blizzard said.

The fact is unemployment is up and more people are tightening their belts, he said.

“Most people know someone who has lost their job and seen the effects that can put on a family.”

According to CAPRA, Red Deer Food Bank helped 1,055 adults, 629 children and 331 families in September.

Blizzard said food is one of the first things to be cut out of people’s budgets during tough times and many Central Albertans don’t realize how many people have to make that difficult choice.

It was the fourth annual Chew On This! which is part of the Dignity for All campaign founded by Canada Without Poverty and Citizens for Public Justice and advocates for a national anti-poverty plan to address income security, housing and homelessness, food security, health care, jobs and employment, and early childhood education and care.

He said the Liberal government says they will develop a plan and Monday’s campaign was a way to encourage people to contact the government to offer their ideas and feedback.

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