Monday, September 24, 2007

Speaking Out Against Poverty!

WHAT A GREAT ARTICLE!!! It's about TIME someone speaks out about the disgusting state that the social assistance recipients are in. It is horrible to know that you will not pay the bills in full on time, and not be able to go to the grocery store and just put "whatever" into the carts without adding up totals before you get to the check out. Hopefully, with this election, SOMETHING will change..........

From: The Welland Tribune

Speaking out about poverty

"For the record, we are not social assistance losers." With those words, Corinne O'Hara drew an explosive and supportive round of applause from a market square crowd of some 300 people attending yesterday's kNOw Poverty rally.
"We did not make a career choice to be poor or to collect social assistance," O'Hara said. "Nobody chooses to be hungry or struggle to provide the basic necessities of life for themselves and their children."
For a woman with bipolar disorder once afraid to leave her own home, O'Hara was very forthcoming in telling young and old that the plight of the poor has for too long been overlooked, and that it's time for change.
"Poverty means never having enough money to make it to the end of the month," she said.
"Whether this is to buy groceries or to deal with emergencies, it doesn't matter. The money isn't there for either," O'Hara added.
"Poverty means sleepless nights and anxiety attacks, wondering how you can ever continue to cope.
"It means being exhausted trying to juggle paying bills, buying food and making sure both you and your family have the necessities of life."
O'Hara said it also means living with a stigma attached to social assistance recipients or poor people.
"Children of poor people are still singled out and treated with contempt," she said.
"Poverty means having to deal with the embarrassment of going to the teacher and asking for more time to pay for a school agenda or school photos or something else your child needs, such as new gym shoes or items for school projects.
"Poverty means hearing yourself say over and over to your children, 'I'm sorry, but we can't afford that right now. Maybe later,' knowing that you are lying to them because later never comes."
RenLacourse, who scrapes by to afford medication for diabetes, let alone daily meals, said, "You have to be a survivor in this world."
A back injury forced him out of work. Once collecting $666 a month in disability support, that figure today has dropped to $520.
Linda Parker, also on disability support, too, knows what it's like to be poor.
"I'm lucky if I have $30 left to buy my personal stuff," she said of her monthly allowance.
Once a health-care aide and foster parent, Kim Mino told of how "I sit in fear not knowing where our next meal will come from."
She, too, spoke of the stigma she carries.
"I have been put down, frowned upon, ignored because I am a single mom."
"People are suffering and change must be done," said Nancy Hagar, who also relies on food banks and other means of support to live day to day.
Yesterday's parade of speakers demonstrated courage, a courage buoyed by the support of their neighbours, said Hope Centre executive director Sylvia Berkhout.
"I think the more support they get, the more they're taken seriously," she said.
"They (the poor) are the ones who need to be educating us."
Still, she said, there are some so afraid to speak out, fearing reprisal or being cut off of their government support, that they remain in the shadows.
"I've been blessed, but I've seen a lot of welfare, a lot of poverty," said Bianca Bruni, among demonstrators gathered at market square.
"Everyone should have the same quality of life opportunities."
Bruni was among dozens of people who wrote up questions for provincial election candidates in the Welland riding taking part in debate specifically focused on poverty. It's set for Wednesday night at Notre Dame College School.
"We want poverty to be at the top of their political agenda," said teacher and kNOw Poverty founding member Paul Turner.
The next step, he said, will be for his organization to sit down with the winner of the Oct. 10 vote and talk strategy.
"We have a huge struggle ahead of us."


Bohemian Mom said...

This is an excellent post and I cannot stress how bang-on every point is.
Single mom talking's a joke that we call it "Queen for a Day", but that's the sad truth. Pay rent, phone bill, hydro, buy some food, make sure your kid has clothes and you're broke again...all in ONE DAY.
Forget the luxuries of cable TV, internet service or a car, or a DENTIST...which other people take for granted.

And anyone who leaves a ..."Get A Job Then" comment is only speaking from ignorance and a naivity. I have made a CAREER out of searching for a decent job. I have taken horrible, self-esteem eroding jobs to make ends meet, and have gotten nowhere. It's difficult to haul yourself around town, using a third rate transit system, when you haven't eaten properly (because what you can afford goes to your child).
Something else our government should consider...creating employment opportunities.
Very, VERY good post!

Bohemian Mom said... again.
This post really strikes a cord with me.
Just wanted to add that I am excitedly awaiting the delivery of my new couch. Bought for $10. at a yard sale on Saturday....yay!!!
Pathetic, huh?
The couch I have now is falling apart, has soup cans for legs and cost me $20. three years ago.
And that's a fact, Jack.
I have to go now and borrow toilet paper from the neighbour because I wrecklessy threw my money away on a $10 couch.
Good times.

Marie said...

Welcome to the blog world! We deserve to have people like you in our community who bring the real issues up front for us to see. I agree with all that you said here because I was a single mom for about 8 years, and it's one of the most challenging things I've done. It's difficult to ask for the assistance you need in the first place, but it's worse to have someone treat your child differently because you are poor or can't afford the same as others.

again, welcome! I look forward to visiting you in the future! BTW, you have an awesome friend with Bohemian Mom...

daisies said...

this is a wonderful post! i am often dismayed at shocked at how many people are misinformed on poverty and homelessness issues ...

its nice to meet you :)