All people in Canada should live with dignity. One in six Canadians struggle to make ends meet: to pay rent, feed their families, and address basic needs. 

On October 17, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Moderator Richard Bott will be on Parliament Hill with apples and a message for the Prime Minister: We need a stronger, fully funded strategy to end poverty in Canada.

October 17 is Dignity for All’s day of public action for the Chew on This! campaign. Across Canada, volunteers will hand out Chew on This! bags to passersby. The bags contain apples and a postcard addressed to the Prime Minister about food insecurity and the need for a national anti-poverty plan. The Moderator is part of an ecumenical delegation organized by United Church partner Citizens for Public Justice. The delegation also includes General Secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches Peter Noteboom, Rev Canon Laurette Glasgow of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Pastor Jim Dekker of the Christian Reformed Church of North America.

If you are in the Ottawa area, consider joining the Moderator at “Chew on the Hill,” 12 noon on Parliament Hill! If you would like to participate in “Chew on the Hill,” e-mail darlene [at] cpj.ca (Darlene O’Leary) of Citizens for Public Justice. For information on local Chew on This! events and other ways to get involved, visit the Take Action.

After participating in “Chew on the Hill,” the Moderator’s day will be capped off with a visit to Centretown United Church in Ottawa, home of Centre 507—a United Church community ministry that serves as an adult drop-in centre, safe haven, and stepping stone, welcoming 80–165 people per day. 

The federal government released Canada’s most recent national anti-poverty strategy, Opportunity for All, in August 2018. Although the United Church welcomed it as movement in the right direction, this strategy ultimately falls short of creating an avenue for the full eradication of poverty. Specifically, the plan fails to recognize the centrality of working directly with Indigenous Peoples on a nation-to-nation basis and respecting their right to self-determination as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is essential that Indigenous Peoples participate in naming poverty (including, for example, the loss of language, land, and resources) and in identifying paths toward its elimination. 

The Moderator’s visit to Ottawa strives to uplift the voices of United Church people across the country who deliver critical services and support for those living in poverty. This includes local congregations involved in food banks and “out of the cold” programs, United Church community ministries, United Church Women who advocated for measures to end child poverty, and others who have lifted up the centrality of Indigenous rights and reconciliation arising from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

For more information see Ending Poverty.

Sara StrattonReconciliation and Indigenous Justice Animator1-800-268-3781 ext. 2742SStratton [at] united-church.ca

Jordan SullivanMinistry Partnership Animator/Program Assist416-231-7680 ext. 4151
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4151
jsullivan [at] united-church.ca
Christie NeufeldtProgram Coordinator Public Witness416-231-7680 ext. 4078
1-800-268-3781 ext. 4078
cneufeldt [at] united-church.ca