Since I've been in this Social Work program, I've had to think a lot of poverty and food and the impacts of this on every day life and how people deal with the lack of money to buy good food, and it's an issue that keeps coming up in discussions of poverty and community action that needs to take place. I even wrote a paper last year for a community development course that used a community development model to highlight areas where poverty persisted in my community and how to resolve them. In my reasoning, the issue of food banks and access to good food is one that keeps coming to the top of my mind, as food bank usage continues to rise, even though the economy is apparently pulling out of it's slump.
There are a few local organizations that we discussed in a class whose focus is on food and the need to increase the amount of money that people on social assistance are given to go towards necessities such as food. Challenges such as the "Food Budget Challenge" and Do the Math Challenges which challenges participants to live on $20 a week, the average amount that many people on social assistance have to spend on food. Personally, I don't even know how this is possible and think that the suggestion of immediately increasing the amount of money that people on social assistance get for food by $100 may provide some temporary relief for those on social assistance, but the solution to the problem entirely is not forthcoming. More and more people, people who have jobs even, and by token of our economic system should thus be earning enough to feed themselves are using food banks, are falling on hard times and poverty due to the fluctuations and whim of the economy, and a solution does not really present itself readily that works within this current system that we live in that actually leads to radical change. This site also highlights the difficulty of choices when you have limited resources, and how easily you can lose everything based on making the "wrong' choice of paying bills or buying food or medicine. It's actually bit like a realistic online game of the Game of Life.
I guess I also have a few of the tenets of the Occupy Wall Street movement on my mind, especially since the movement's protests here in Guelph are just up the street from my apartment (I can hear the drums of some of the protesters even). A handful of Occupy Guelph protesters are out camping in tents in the downtown square, to protest the way that profit and the bottom line currently prevails over the needs and realities of real people.
Their chosen slogan "Life over Profit" is pretty much in line with my thoughts on how food and the real life needs of people has ceased to be the bottom line for governments, especially when it comes to making needed changes to social programs and making them quickly and comprehensively enough so that people are helped when they need help.
At any rate, I think we need to think a bit more about what's important, and how to make sure that everyone gets the necessities that they need, especially the greatest necessity of all, food.