We who live in paradise don't really get to see the face of child poverty in our community unless we volunteer at the food bank, work in a social assistance office, or cook breakfast for kids in one of our schools. Therefore, we might carry on our pleasant lives thinking child poverty doesn't exist. We would be wrong.
The Canadian Federation of University Women, Sunshine Coast, hopes to reveal the face of child poverty on the Coast in a symposium on March 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sechelt Nation Band Hall.
The morning will begin with a keynote speech by Michael Goldberg, research director at the Social Planning and Research Council of BC from 1987 to 2006, and a founding member of First Call: the BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition. Goldberg will provide an overview of the current situation in B.C. and on the Sunshine Coast.
Goldberg's address will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by Sandra Cunningham, executive director of the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation.
Included on the panel will be some front-line professionals and volunteers from the agencies who see the effects of poverty on a day-to-day basis.
Shelley Grainger from the Food Bank, Heather Gordon from Breakfast for Kids, and Meghan Molnar, nutritionist for the Sunshine Coast and the North Shore, will outline the increasing demand on their services.
Johanna Rzepa from Coastal Health will address pre and post-natal care, and Sarah Pond from the Sunshine Coast Early Childhood Development Planning Table will assess child care.
Deb Pepper from Habitat For Humanity will speak to the issue of affordable housing, and Michelle Morton from The Progress Plan will present results from the extensive survey her group has recently completed on issues facing women on the Coast.
The CFUW, Sunshine Coast, believes that any place in the province that claims to be paradise must eliminate child poverty.
Admission is free. Dona-tions to the Food Bank are accepted. For more information call 604-741-9846. Arrange for on-site child-minding at 604-740-0025.