Thursday, November 23, 2017

Bread Not Stones


If a child asks for bread, who among us would give that child a stone?"
                                                Matthew 7:9 

Our Canadian Thanksgiving is long past but millions of Americans have been on the move the past couple of days so that they can be with family today and over this long holiday weekend. Thanksgiving is a bigger deal in the States with a greater emphasis in some families to be together for this meal than Christmas dinner. There are guides out there on how not to end up in brawls over the political tensions in the country at the moment. And the gross consumer excesses of Black Friday have now crept into Thanksgiving Thursday with encouragement for homo consumerus to eat early and then get down to the shopping mall to binge buy. In the United States the welcome and generosity of Aboriginal people extended to European newcomers is a foundational aspect of Thanksgiving. The newcomers would have starved without this hospitality.

Maybe today is a good time to mention a program which the United Church of Canada has initiated and which is now endorsed by governments at various levels. It is called Bread Not Stones and it's goal is to raise awareness about child poverty in Canada. It's estimated that 1.3 million Canadian children are poor, and we know that Quinte region has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the province of Ontario. 

 In 1989 the Canadian parliament adopted a goal to eradicate child poverty by the year 2,000, and we aren't even close nearly two decades beyond the turn of the millennium. Aboriginal children are disproportionately represented in these figures, and issues of adequate food, shelter, and education are a national shame. Affordable housing and a living wage have been in the news a lot lately, and these issues certainly affect child poverty.

Bread Not Stones is not a fundraiser. It is the attempt of one Christian body to keep this often hidden issue before the nation, and decision-makers in government.

Have you heard about Bread Not Stones? Does the statistic above shock you? Is it possible to eliminate child poverty?


God of all children,

we come before you bewildered by the fact of child poverty.

We come in frustration and shame that students are hungry,

that homeless children sleep in cars and church basements

because we don’t provide meals at school or build enough affordable housing.

Strengthen us to honour and care for the children in our communities.

Help us to place the best interests of children first.

In the name of your child, Jesus. Amen.

(Carolyn Pogue)


Judy said...

I believe it is possible to make sure all people have adequate food and housing - by ensuring that the very rich pay their appropriate share of taxes, and by allocating budgets so that the poor, the disenfranchised, and the disabled are protected.

roger said...

That's a sad reality that obviously has not been seriously dealt with over the years. It's easy to forget about such a large number who live in poverty in this province, when I drive to my office in Toronto each day. It seems like every other car is a BMW or Audi in the area near my office - and for fun, while stopped at a busy intersection, I counted up the luxury cars in my view and it WAS every other car!

Of course, that's just Toronto and is clearly not representative of the province - but it sure makes you think there's a lot more wealthy people out there than those who are struggling.