“We’re all at risk of experiencing poverty if specific conditions in our lives change suddenly.”
Could you be next?
People often ask us why anyone in a rich country like Canada ever lives in poverty. The answer to that question can be very simple – or it can be very complex. The simple answer is that we’re all at risk of experiencing poverty – even briefly – if specific conditions in our lives change suddenly.
Here’s a quick quiz to determine if you could experience poverty:
- Could you lose your job?
- Could you be injured?
- Could your family structure change?
- Could your mental health change?
- Could your industry face challenges?
If you said yes to any of the above questions, you could be at risk of living in poverty at some point in your future!
Show Kids You Care leads a national network of meal programs for kids living in poverty and other difficult situations in Canada. The programs are run by teachers, community workers, parents and other volunteers who get up each morning to bring and serve nutritious breakfast, lunch and even after school snacks to hungry kids.
We raise money from compassionate Canadians and companies and help fund the cost of food and equipment needed to store and serve these meals. We also work to educate the public about child hunger issues and the need for a national meal program. Currently we partner with more than 700 programs across Canada feeding almost 150,000 children each and every week. Our goal is to increase that to 250,000 kids.
Poverty and Hunger
Child poverty is high in Canada. An estimated 1.1 million kids in Canada live in poverty and suffer from hunger. Almost 40% of those who use food banks are children and youth. And you may be shocked to learn that Canada is the only G8 country without a fully national, school-based feeding program!
Where there’s poverty there’s hunger. Malnourished kids’ brains struggle to perform basic memorization skills. They struggle to identify letters which affects their reading. Hungry kids avoid group activities because they can’t keep up. So they are alone and ashamed. With empty stomachs they often doze and so fall even further behind. Being “different” they are often picked on. Out of their pain some become aggressive with others. All this has the potential to undermine their social and even economic well being for a lifetime.
It’s estimated that where schools have a breakfast feeding program teachers gain an additional 30 minutes a day in effective teaching time. Schools with meal programs have better attendance, improved test scores and fewer dropouts. Good nutrition leads to better academic performance.
Are School Food Programs A good choice for children?
Social innovation in food policy: National school food program needed
A recent UNICEF report ranked Canada 37th out of 41 high-income countries around access to nutritious food for children, below the United States and just over Bulgaria, Malta, Turkey and Mexico. As a country trying to position itself as a world leader, whose government is focused on children and families, this is unacceptable and presents us with a clear imperative to improve. Discover more.
Why it matters
Canada remains one of the few industrialized countries without a national school food program. Canada’s current patchwork of school food programming reaches only a small percentage of our over five million students. Discover more.
Why Canada could benefit from a national school food program
Food Secure Canada is lobbying Ottawa to consider a cohesive school program as part of a national food policy. Discover more.
Feeding our future: Why school nutrition programs matter
As we celebrate Thanksgiving in this land of plenty, many Canadian children are going to school hungry. Here’s how school nutrition programs help. Discover More.