About 60 people attended a lunch sponsored by the Meal Providers Network of Kingston and hosted by the Salvation Army. Participants included the Mayor and three city councillors and the Hon. John Gerretsen, MPP for Kingston and the Islands.

The lunch included a public forum and panel discussion on:

  • How can Kingston’s most vulnerable citizens escape food insecurity?
  • What steps can we take to address hunger now and in the future?”

Presentations focused on the increasing demand that is placing more and more pressure on Kingston’s meal providers. Bonita McCourt, Salvation Army Community Services, and Gord Hunter, ED Martha’s Table, told of increased demand on hot meal services, recounting poignant stories of individual people who have started to come in recent months.

Jamie Swift, Justice & Peace Office, Sisters of Providence Speakers, talked of the MISWAA report‘s warning about the pressures to be faced by cities should a recession arrive and underlined the urgency of the poverty reduction strategy and the 25 in 5 campaign, especially the need for decent affordable housing and early education and learning programs for all children and families.

MPP John Gerretsen indicated, “I hear you loud and clear. One of the most important roles for government is to make sure that the neediest are looked after and cared for.” Speaking of the Province’s poverty reduction strategy, he said that the budget would take it into account the poverty reduction strategy and, with respect to a recession possibly affecting that commitment commented, “I sure hope not.”

Kingston, Frontenac, Leeds and Addington Public Health helped to organize the event. It was announced that the public health unit’s report Can These People Afford to Eat Well? will be released soon.

Information for this report submitted by Jamie Swift, Justice & Peace Office, Sisters of Providence