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Trick or Eat

Sunday, October 28, 2012

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Written by Peter Miller

On Wednesday October 31, at 4:30 pm student volunteers will be gathering in the University Centre to get ready to Trick or Eat. Dressed up in Halloween costumes, students and community members will be going to set routes throughout Guelph asking for non-perishable food items for the local food bank.

Anthony Ngai, the Meal Exchange Coordinator provided the cannon.ca with some history about Trick or Eat.

When asked about the history of Trick or Eat, Ngai responded, “Trick or Eat at Guelph started 15 years ago when Meal Exchange was only a CSA service on campus and not yet a national organization. Trick or Eat was started because the coordinator noticed the Guelph Food Bank's struggles throughout the year trying to get donations, with winter approaching fast.”

There have been over 1000 participants from Guelph in Meal Exchange in recent years. Last year the Guelph Students had the most participation in the country, raising over $60 000 worth of food with approximately 1300 participants.  

For Ngai, “This year [Meal Exchange] is aiming for 1500 participants, and it is very important to us as the Guelph Food Bank is struggling once again.”  

Close to 900 000 Canadians are assisted by food banks each month. According to Meal Exchange, there is an estimated 18 781 hungry in Guelph, and over 400 000 Ontarians use food banks every month.

Ngai Believes that governments could do more to support local food banks, but also need to “look at a grander solution to reduc[e] food insecurity and increas[e] standard of living.”

Students and community members can look at the recent Ontario Provinicial budget to see that the government is not doing enough.

People on Ontario works are living on an income that is 60% lower than in 1995. The Harris Progressive Conservatives cut Ontario Works income by 40% in the 90’s. Recent governments like the Liberal Government today, have continued the trend.

There are cuts to Welfare (Ontario Works), and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) in this year’s Provincial budget. Recipients of the funding from the programs will only get a 1 percent increase in funding. Inflation is rising much higher, with food prices growing, making the 1 percent increase actually a cut for people on Ontario Works and ODSP.

The Community Start-Up Benefit (CSUMB) is set to be cut by the Provincial Government in January of 2013. CSUMB gives individuals on OW and ODSP up to $800 every two years and families up to $1,500 every two years to maintain their housing. The money goes to citizens that are facing eviction, in danger of having their utilities cut off, fleeing domestic violence, moving from shelters or unsafe housing, or unable to replace bedbug-infested furniture or broken appliances.

More than 16,000 people use the benefit every month, and there is a great need for the benefit for people on OW and ODSP in Ontario. The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) says that many people will go homeless if the cut goes through.

Cuts to ODSP and OW are occurring as the Ontario Government is trying to pay off its deficit. Meanwhile, large corporations are paying less. Ontario corporate tax rates have lowered from 14 percent in 2010 to 11 percent today. In 2010 the amount of corporate tax cuts amounted to 2.4 billion dollars. The Ontario Government is forcing those below the poverty line to help pay for a deficit that they did not create, while rich corporations that have the ability to pay higher taxes, are not paying their fair share.

 

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