Community Poverty Strategy Working Group

Report from Trustee Bekkering at November school board meeting – supplied on request of to post on website

November, 2012 Report
Community Poverty Strategy Working Group
The first thing I’d like to acknowledge in this report is the initiative taken on Nov 20th( International Day of the Child) by the PGDTA to bring a higher profile to the issue of child poverty  in Prince George and the province and to Ted Clarke for his coverage of the issue in the Citizen. Thank you to both.
It’s been important for our group to recognize what an enormous issue poverty is! We know there is no quick strategy. And our best practice so far has been to develop collaborative relationships with some of the educators at UNBC.
One of the economics classes has been working on research and compiling data on determining a “living wage” for the North. They will be sharing their findings with us in the new year. Dr. Fiona McPhail has given us an “in-person” and a summary copy of her work  on Approaches to Poverty. The Dietitians of Prince George have shared an in depth study on the cost of eating in BC. A sample: the cost of a month’s supply of nutritious food, for a family of 4, living in Northern BC is $876. It’s not surprising that so many of our children come to school hungry! $16.05 will purchase 4 L.milk; 1loaf of bread; 5 apples; and 10 lbs  potatoes. For a small, remote more northern community, that jumps to $34.85.
Our number one advocate group continues to be the Union of BC Municipalities. They initiated the first 6 pilots and continue to push the gov’t for more communities to be brought on in the future. They have secured a continued commitment from the new minister of children & families, Stephanie Cadieux. As I have said, the strategy to deal with poverty is a process, and the more collaboration our group has with the key players in our city, the more comprehensive our plan will be.
I’m excited about the approach we are taking and I sense an energy and optimism in the group that was not there at the beginning.
I will report to you in January!
Respectfully submitted, Betty Bekkering

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