For some children living in Powell River, the 1860s story of Oliver Twist going to bed hungry isn’t far from their own truth. Things haven’t changed a great deal for kids around the world where poverty is concerned. In fact at home in BC, the rate of child poverty is growing, and has now climbed above the national average.
Powell River Voices is concerned about these provincial statistics; obviously Powell River is not exempt. “Somehow child poverty seems to be off the radar,” said PR Voices spokesperson Murray Dobbin. “It’s never the focus of adult conversation. But things are getting worse and worse for children. How is it that we’ve allowed this to happen?”
Years after the House of Commons passed a resolution to eliminate child poverty in Canada the rate in BC climbed from 15.5 per cent in 1989 to 20.6 per cent in 2012. Translated into day to day terms: One in four children lives in poverty in Powell River. One in four children goes to school without adequate clothing or school supplies in our school district. One in four children goes without extra curricular activities, or services, that other children take for granted in our community. One in four children lives below the radar somewhere in your neighbourhood.
On Tuesday, March 1st, starting at 7:00 pm, Powell River Voices will host a public conversation on the issue of child poverty at the United Church Hall with guests:
- Adrienne Montani – Provincial Coordinator, First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition;
- Lyn Adamson – Executive Director, Powell River Employment Program Society; and
- Russell Brewer – Powell River City Councillor
Residents are invited to join the panelists and resource people in discussions on housing, food security, youth services, provincial downloading and more, to begin a campaign to challenge child poverty. Admission by donation. For more information, prvoices.org.