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‘Poverty needs to be taken seriously’

WELLAND — Amidst the sea of election signs on front lawns, there’s one different sign that stands out.

It doesn’t ask residents to support a certain candidate during the ongoing provincial election. Rather it asks people to vote for something else.

It’s a vote for a poverty free Ontario.

On Thursday, a number of locations across the province, including Welland’s St. Kevin Roman Catholic Church and Port Colborne’s Bridges Community Health Centre, launched a button and sign blitz encouraging all political parties and electoral candidates to make a commitment to ending poverty in the province in this decade.

Let’s Vote for a Poverty Free Ontario is an initiative between the Social Planning Network of Ontario, Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition and Poverty Free Ontario as a nonpartisan initiative to ask politicians to commit to a debate on poverty.

“Poverty is integrated into everything in life,” said Rev. Jim Mulligan, a member of the Holy Cross Fathers at St. Kevin Church.

“When kids aren’t well it can be fixed to poverty. When people are sick and go to the hospital, it can be related to poverty. Food bank visits are up because of poverty. Poverty needs to be taken seriously.”

Mary Anne Feagan, a community health worker for Bridges Community Health Centre, said she hoped people receiving the signs will display them to show support. Feagan believes candidates should consider putting poverty on the agenda during the election.

“There is a coloration between poverty and health,” Feagan said. “We just ask in a non-partisan way for this consideration.”

By EDDIE CHAU/Tribune Staff


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