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article imagePut Food in the Budget coalition rally Thursday at Queen's Park

By KJ Mullins     Mar 7, 2011 in World
Toronto - On Thursday thousands of citizens are expected to gather at Queen's Park in Toronto to stand up for the poorest of the poor. The goal is to give those who are on social assistance get a $100 per month Healthy Food Supplement.
The rally at Queen's Park is being supported by more than 80 Anglican parishes, representing over 30,000 church members in the GTA and nearby region. They recently passed a motion to support the government proposal. Anglican Bishop Linda Nicholls will be front and center at 10 a.m. Thursday.
"We don't accept the argument that Ontario can't afford to help the poor," says Bishop Linda Nicholls in a press release. "That's a morally bankrupt position. We live in a wealthy society. This is a modest proposal, costing less than one percent of the annual provincial budget, which will have the added benefit of boosting spending at local businesses. We urge our government to do the right thing, and put food in the budget for our most vulnerable citizens."
Supporters plan to show with props what foods people could add to their kitchen tables with the proposed $100 a month. That added benefit would help those in Ontario who are struggling to survive on welfare. Single people who receive social assistance only are given $592 a month to pay for all of their bills. Mike Balkwill, coordinator for Put Food in the Budget said that "it is impossible to eat, let alone afford healthy food, on that income." That sentiment has been echoed by Finance Minister Dwight Duncan.
The Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC) reported last year in their Social Audits that single adults are poorer than seven years ago. Many on assistance have to turn to food banks in order to have a roof over their head and still be able to have something to eat. The 2010 Who's Hungry Report from the Daily Bread found that in 2009 there was an increase of 15 per cent at food banks. There were 1,187,000 visits from clients to Greater Toronto Area food banks. Most who come to food banks live on a monthly budget of $1,000. Seventy-three percent of those pay market rent.
The report from that people who use food banks borrow from their friends and family and have had to use a credit card in order to feed themselves or their families. Surprisingly the highest number of people turning to a food bank is a citizen of Canada. Almost half have gone without food for a day almost every month.
"Social assistance rates have been nearly flatlined in Ontario for close to two decades," says Anglican Archbishop Colin Johnson. "It has become impossible for a person on social assistance to afford both shelter and adequate food, and many are living with shocking levels of hunger and malnutrition. People need to be able to buy decent food."
Representative of the three major political parties have been invited to the rally.
More about Food, Social assistance, Put Food in the Budget coalition, Food banks
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