EDITORIAL: Reducing poverty and loneliness

EDITORIAL: Reducing poverty and loneliness

A meeting is being held Friday in Williams Lake seeking local input on the province’s poverty reduction strategy

This week our community is being invited to share our thoughts on ways to reduce poverty in B.C.

A team representing the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction will be at the Gibraltar Room on Friday, Feb. 2 from 2 to 5 p.m. hoping to gain some local insight from us.

Williams Lake, like every community, has people living below the poverty line who struggle.

The food banks and soup kitchens run by the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul and the Women’s Contact Society are proof the need exists, while they also demonstrate how generous our community is.

Shane Simpson, B.C.’s minister of social development, said isolation is a big thing that impacts poor people, who often cannot even “afford to buy a cup of coffee.”

When you think about it, beyond being poor, many of these people are very lonely and according to ancient and recent studies, loneliness can be detrimental.

Even the British government has created a Ministry of Loneliness because it is realizing there are social problems caused by loneliness.

It is easy to get caught up in our work, families and lives that’s for sure, but even taking the time to talk with strangers can be rewarding. Without knowing it you may ease someone’s loneliness.

Several decades ago, proponents of a soup kitchen in Toronto encouraged business people to come by for lunch too. They charged them $3.50 to cover costs, while at the same time made life less segregated for the people that were marginalized.

The Rogers Hometown Hockey festival earlier this month was an example of us getting together as a community and perhaps a hint of what’s possible if we did it more often. It was inclusive and fun.

Come out and share your ideas on poverty or hear what others have to say. It would be pretty neat to become a community known for its poverty reduction.

Williams Lake Tribune