Just before Christmas, the Kamloops and District Labour Council (KDLC) has doubled it’s delivery of canned salmon to area food banks from previous years thanks to an even bigger commitment by the affiliates.
In total, 144 cases of salmon will be delivered to food banks in Kamloops, Merritt, Chase, Barriere and Clearwater.
Once again the KDLC has participated in the Protein for People program, a B.C. non-profit society initiated in 2006 and led by labour organizations. By sourcing quality protein from unionized food producers and purchasing in volume, the society is able to maximize purchasing power to feed tens of thousands of people.
Due to the high cost of protein based foods, food banks spend most of their financial donations on protein and regularly experience shortages of this key nutrient.
“With so many children living in poverty in our province, one in five to be exact, we wanted to help ensure their immediate needs for developmental nourishment is addressed,” says KDLC President Barb Nederpel.
“We desperately need our government to take action to address the root causes of poverty, not just apply woefully inadequate bandaids.” says Nederpel. “For the last 13 years, B.C. has continued to have one of the highest poverty rates in the country. And still, it is the only province without a poverty reduction plan.”
In 2014, nearly 100,000 British Columbians accessed food banks, the highest number in B.C. history.
Many of them are from families where at least one parent is working a full time job.
B.C. has the biggest income gap in the country, when over the last 10 years, the household income of the top one per cent has grown 36 per cent, while median income has stagnated for the rest of the population.
“People are falling further behind when their income does not keep up with the cost of living. Anti-poverty legislation has been introduced four years in a row intended to reverse this trend, but the BC Liberals refuse to debate it,” says Nederpel.
“Instead of photo ops, let’s see some legislative action by our MLAs to eliminate the pressure on food banks and improve the lives of British Columbians.”
KDLC executive member and organizer for the Protein for People donation, Mogens Jorgensen, thanks the affiliates for their added support this year.
“We put the challenge to union locals at a KDLC meeting to double the donation and the response was overwhelming. It’s heartwarming to be part of an organization so committed to a strong community.”