Food bank users call for justice, not charity

About 80 low income people converged on the CBC on it annual food bank
day to say that they want governments to end the need for food banks by
raising welfare rates.

Organized by Raise the Rates, the group set up its tent on the CBC Plaza
and ran ‘Poor People’s Radio’ for an hour. The show was hosted by Lorna
Bird and Paul Taylor and gave people living in poverty an opportunity to
speak out.

Richard said, “I get discouraged when I go to the food bank; it is
downgrading and causes a loss of dignity. Right now we need food banks
because of poverty, but it has to change and welfare needs to be raised.”

Continue reading “Food bank users call for justice, not charity”


Poor People’s Radio

Out front of the Vancouver CBC Annual Food Bank fundraiser, Raise the Rates set up a Poor People’s Radio program after the public broadcaster’s security blocked low-income members of the public from entering their open-house.


This is the audio from the 44 minute broadcast of Poor People’s Radio. It features voices of community members currently living on social assistance who have had to rely on food banks because the welfare rates are so low.

Listen now.


Raise welfare rates so people don’t have to depend on charity

In 1982 the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society was established as a temporary social service. Now 30 years, later it has become a permanent institution to help feed many of the hungry people in BC.

At this time of year many organizations and media networks run appeals asking the public to help those in poverty with donations of money, food, and other presents. The people of BC do give generously at this time of year.

However, no matter how generous the public is, charity cannot eradicate poverty. The season of giving will end in a month or so but the poverty continues all year round. In addition, forcing people to rely on charity can be humiliating. It is impossible to eat a healthy diet on welfare. People deserve Justice rather than Charity.

After 30 years of Food Banks and nearly a decade of BC being one of the worst provinces in the Canada for poverty, isn’t it time to ask questions about why is there so much poverty.

Rather than the media simply raising support for charity, shouldn’t there be a provincial dialogue on the harm that poverty does to the people of BC, the waste of human lives and billions of dollars in costs?

BC needs the government to show 10% of the compassion of the public and take action to raise welfare and the other steps necessary to tackle poverty.

Raise the Rates is encouraging all the media to launch a dialogue on ‘What would be needed to make Food Banks unnecessary in BC by January 12, 2018?’

As a start of that dialogue Raise the Rates will be hosting a Poor People’s Radio between noon and 1 pm on Friday December 7, outside the CBC at 700 Hamilton Street, Vancouver.


Raise the Rates Launches Welfare Food Challenge

Today, Raise the Rates launched a new challenge, the Welfare Food Challenge. This is to live for a week on the food that a single, able-bodied person on welfare would have – spending only $26!

Of the $610 a month the BC government provides for a person on welfare, after paying for accommodation, bus tickets and cellphone (necessary to look for work), and basic hygiene only $109 remains for food – less than $26 for a week. There is nothing for clothes, haircuts, or any social life.

Fraser Stuart, Raise the Rates activist living on welfare, pointed out that,

“Living on welfare every week is a struggle, in fact it is impossible, it is damaging my health.”

Ted Bruce, Executive Director of Population Health with Vancouver Coastal Health, explained why he is taking the Challenge.

“This challenge is an important way to raise people’s awareness of the significant harmful that low income has on people’s health and the personal and societal costs of poverty. Poverty causes bad diet and stress which makes people sick and costs healthcare a tonne of money.” Continue reading “Raise the Rates Launches Welfare Food Challenge”