United Church Women have been very busy this past year, working to keep the issue of child poverty in Canada front and centre among all levels of government. Their Bread not Stones website at www.endchildpoverty.ca, has received stories and news from UCW groups and churches across Canada about their efforts to end child poverty in their areas. Linda Woods shares news about their activities.

The London-Middlesex UCW have met with more than 30 politicians and others, have spoken to groups, committees, workshops, and annual meetings to give input on means of ending poverty in our city and in our country. Last August we attended GC42 in Corner Brook to spread the Bread not Stones message and leading up to the 2015 federal election we distributed 1,000 letters to the three major party leaders. 

Most recently we met with London and Sarnia Mayors, Matt Brown and Mike Bradley to ask questions about their efforts to end poverty in their cities and to ascertain what their most pressing issues are regarding poverty. In London the number one issue is lack of affordable housing and in Sarnia its addictions and lack of a treatment centre.

We spoke to London City Council to raise awareness of the Bread not Stones message with all councillors and to present each with a Doll of Hope. The doll is a compelling reminder that there are approximately 10,000 children living in poverty in London. We thanked them for their commitment to support the recommendations of the London Mayor's Advisory Panel on Poverty and the panel's goal to end poverty in London in one generation.

There is a real push among London’s faith and community groups to align and speak as one voice in our efforts to end poverty in our city. In June we attended a meeting of the Multi-Faith Social Action Coalition to meet with Dr. Chris Mackie, Co-Chair of the Mayor's Advisory Panel on Poverty and Medical Officer of Health for London and Middlesex. The goal was to ask him how faith groups can best help in the implementation of the panel's recommendations. We also presented him with a Doll of Hope, as well as dolls for each of the 7 Mayor's Advisory Panel members. 

I attended additional meetings in June to give input on the formation of the implementation body which will implement the 112 recommendations of the Mayor's Advisory Panel on Poverty. We're really making valuable connections within the city now.

The resource Bread Not Stones has tools to encourage and enable communities of faith to pray, learn, and act toward eradicating child poverty in their local regions.

For more information see Ending Poverty.

-Linda Woods, Co-chair of the London and Middlesex UCW’s Bread not Stones Project.