In Canada, 3.2 million people live in low income, including 634,000 children. It’s a fact that is difficult to swallow in an affluent country such as ours. Furthermore, reports state that in London, Ontario, one of every five children born today will live in poverty. (The Child and Youth Network 2009 Report)
Located in London’s largest low-income community, The Salvation Army Westminster Park is taking action to end poverty and break down barriers that put children, youth and families at risk.
“It is difficult for families facing significant challenges to get out of poverty,” says Lieutenant Tracy Savage, church pastor. “Also, how people see themselves affects their self-esteem. One of the meaningful ways we are able to support this community is by addressing the reality of hunger present among many of its members.”
Westminster Park Feeding Programs
• Community BBQs feed more than 300 people at a sitting. While addressing hunger needs relationships are built, and other services are offered. People see hope for a better future.
• The start of school means the beginning of The Salvation Army’s school lunch program. Every Wednesday volunteers gather in the church kitchen to make balanced, nutritious meals for the more than 50 high school students who come for lunch—a meal they can depend on. At the same time 25 brown-bag lunches are packed and delivered to two neighbouring elementary schools.
• Every Sunday morning more than 30 families from the community enjoy a hot breakfast, such as pancakes, in The Salvation Army’s multi-purpose room. Volunteers say serving those less fortunate is one of the most rewarding things they do.
The tragedy of poverty is widespread and demands action. The Salvation Army answers
the needs of those living in poverty everyday — serving 1.7 million Canadians each year.
It’s been stated that poverty is the root cause that puts dignity out of reach. The Salvation Army believes that human dignity is a fundamental right for all and that people’s lives change when they are treated with dignity.
Its recently launched Dignity Project, is educating the public about what it means to live in poverty—and what they can do to help.
“Where there is life, there is hope,” says Tracy. “Salvation Army programs are powerful, positive impacts in the communities we serve.”