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Food Source: Province should change course on social assistance reforms

in Poverty Reduction/Provincial by
Within Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, and Northumberland County 13.5% of households are food insecure.

Kawartha Lakes Food Source is calling for several changes to the Province’s social assistance reforms — including retaining the current definition of ‘disability’ in Ontario.

In April 2019, Feed Ontario released a report forecasting the impact of the Government of Ontario’s proposed reforms to social assistance and put forth three key recommendations for change — recommendations Food Source is in full agreement with, as outlined in a recent press release.

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Western boots and a big heart help define this Kicking Cowgirl

in Around Town/Business/Community/Poverty Reduction by
Western boots and a big heart help define this Kicking Cowgirl
Kimberly Dawn, of the award-winning Kicking Cowgirl Designs western boutique in Bobcaygeon.

It’s a long way from Modesto, California to Bobcaygeon – particularly with stops in Toronto, Nairobi, Kenya, and Gulu, Uganda – but for the owner of the award-winning Kicking Cowgirl Designs western boutique, the journey has been a summation of her skills, passions, and vocation.

Kimberly Dawn had come to the family cottage in Buckhorn since her youth, but made a permanent move to the Kawarthas four years ago. Prior to that she called Toronto home, operating her western boutique from a storefront in a section of her parents’ silk screening shop. Similar to the present store in Bobcaygeon, her 416 location sold western wear ranging from boots, to belts, to hats, to clothing, but the entire business originated from screened t-shirts she sold as a fund-raiser years earlier.

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United Way unveils large scale community garden project

in Around Town/Community/Poverty Reduction by
United Way unveils large scale community garden project
The garden is built on 30,000 sq. ft. of land on Crayola’s property. Photo: Mallory Cramp-Waldinsperger.

United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes had the chance to celebrate the grand unveiling of Edwin Binney’s Community Garden alongside a group of approximately 65 supporters, Saturday. Oftentimes, an unveiling signifies the completion of a project, and the end of a period of growth. For our community, however, this event represents a new future.

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Kawartha Lakes Food Source introduces new platform for food rescue in Lindsay

in Community/Poverty Reduction by
A new initiative in Lindsay will address the avoidable crisis of food waste at the local level, with a dual mission of hunger relief and environmental protection.

“The Kawartha Lakes Food Source recognizes that we need to change the way food is valued throughout production, processing, distribution, retail, and at home,” says Heather Kirby, general manager of Kawartha Lakes Food Source.

“Food waste accounts for nearly 60 per cent of the industry’s environmental footprint, and most of it is completely avoidable.”

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City loses $620,000 for licensed childcare in PC cuts; more kids for less staff expected

in Community/Municipal/Poverty Reduction/Provincial by
More than $620,000 in funding has been lost to the City of Kawartha Lakes for licensed childcare spaces due to cuts from the provincial PC government.

Within that pot, nearly $258,000 was for general allocation funding. This money is used for child care fee subsidies for low-income families and general operating costs.

The remaining amount, more than $360,000 is being eliminated through cost sharing changes. In what was once a 100 per cent boost from the Province, it is now a forced 80-20 cost-sharing agreement between Province and Municipality. This includes reductions in the administration allowances (from 10 per cent down to 5 per cent).

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Dinner program ensures healthy, affordable meals at Boys and Girls Club

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Dinner program ensures healthy, affordable meals for kids: Boys and Girls Clubs
Kids enjoying their dinner at the Boys and Girls Club in Lindsay. Photo: Roderick Benns.
Thursday is a hectic day of the week for Candice Toms, a Lindsay mother of two. That’s why, like so many other parents, she relies on the Boys and Girls Clubs of Kawartha Lakes’ dinner program to give her a hand.

For only $5 she knows that her daughter, Amelia, will get a fantastic, nutritious dinner that night. Toms works 9 am to 5 pm each day at her business, Everyday Specialties Inc., a promotional product manufacturer in Lindsay. But Amelia has swimming on Thursday nights, so there’s no time to be cooking dinner and then have time to make that swim practice.

“They can’t eat at McDonald’s for that price,” she tells the Advocate. “And at the club it’s a healthy dinner – it’s just fantastic.”

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Bobcaygeon doctor strikes with other community members against PC cuts

in Health/Poverty Reduction by
When Ontarians from all walks of life took part in a ‘general strike’ to oppose cuts made by the PC government under Premier Doug Ford recently, Dr. Steve Oldridge of the Bobcaygeon Medical Centre was among them.

The physician is a champion for rural health care and the Ontario Basic Income Pilot program quashed by Ford’s government.

“With the rising gap between minimum wage and the living wage, you have a situation where people can’t afford to eat,” Oldridge says. “Poverty is the greatest determinant of health.”

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Food bank use swells after cancellation of basic income; donations needed

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Food bank use swells after cancellation of basic income; donations urgently needed
Nearly 300 additional people reached out to Kawartha Lakes Food Source for help in the past month, just as the PC government’s premature cancellation of the Ontario Basic Income Pilot had taken effect.

According to General Manager Heather Kirby, of Kawartha Lakes Food Source, there were 1,164 people seeking help this past month across Kawartha Lakes, including Lindsay – a rise of 267 new people. Of note is that 404 are children.

“I’ve seen a 100-plus jump in the past,” says Kirby, “but never this many people all of a sudden.”

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Unfinished business: Time for a national Pharmacare system

in Health/Poverty Reduction by
Unfinished business: Time for a national Pharmacare system
The World Health Organization declared that “all nations should ensure universal access to necessary medicine.
More than 15,000 people in Kawartha Lakes do not have adequate prescription drug coverage. Far too many of our fellow citizens with a needed prescription can’t afford to get the medicine, or they ration the prescription in ill-advised ways. Not filling a prescription (or rationing incorrectly) due to the price of medications is something experts call “cost-related non-adherence (CRNA).” That’s a fancy way of describing people who can’t afford to take their drugs properly, if it at all. And the number of people who are forced to do this is staggering, because of the lack of a national Pharmacare system.

A 2015 survey found that “24 per cent of Ontarians reported that they or a member of their household did not take their medications as prescribed, or missed medications, due to cost.” Given that, according to the CMAJO, “drugs for mental health conditions were the most commonly reported drug class for cost-related non-adherence.” It’s clear that prescription drug cost is a major problem, not just nationally, but locally.

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Taking care of each other: Collective wealth into well-being

in Health/Poverty Reduction by
Taking care of each other: Collective wealth into well-being
I always feel a little anxious sitting in the dentist chair, but fortunately I usually only need a cleaning. One thing I never worried about was paying for our family’s dental visits. Prescription drug coverage, dental care and other health care options were part of a benefits package my family received through my spouse’s unionized workplace. Why would I not wish that peace of mind for everyone?

Taking care of our bodies is a human need, but we have yet to make a commitment to a comprehensive health care system for everyone regardless of work status or income. Dental care and prescription drug coverage is both essential and expensive. Many people however, do not receive benefits through their workplace and cannot afford private insurance. Others remain on social assistance rather than take a low wage job without benefits.

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