More than 60 people came out to mark a “day for the Eradication of Poverty’ at Cornwall City Hall on Friday, October 17. Participants included some of Cornwall’s city council members, low-income families, children, a variety of service providers and supporters, the Cornwall Poverty Working Group members and many newcomers from the local ESL program.

It was an emotional event. Several poems in English and French were read by two women giving accounts of their own experiences living in poverty. A newcomer to Canada from Afghanistan gave a speech. Another one of our low-income single mothers read a piece about the history and inspiration behind October 17, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Copies of the 25 in 5 Declaration were handed out. A white flag was raised and a large white cloth band was wrapped around those who were assembled to symbolize community support to make Poverty History.

Citizens in the community were encouraged to wear black and white. Many schools and especially the Upper Canada District School Board of SD&G took part in recognizing the day in their schools, which includes 30,000 students and 5,000 staff. One school specifically (Rose des Vents) organized a food and clothing drive for one of our local food banks.

Reported in the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder; “The notion that poverty is simply a problem of people not wanting to work is ‘old news’,” said Mehroon Kassam of the Cornwall Social Development Council, “the reality of the situation is people are working but they can’t make ends meet.”

Submitted by Michelle Gratton, Cornwall Social Development Council