Green Day @ CCCSA
Poverty exists in Calgary even though Canada has a relatively healthy economy. Poverty affects a lot of families, children, and seniors. When people lack money to meet their basic needs they are often forced to make difficult choices between things that most people take for granted. This can lead to compromising the amount or quality of food purchased which will impact health. Poverty also impacts families who are in transition, for example those having health issues, have lost their income, or those leaving abusive families. There are community resources such as food banks. However, some ethnic communities cannot utilize the food bank due to various reasons including not being familiar with the food, lack of transportation, or feeling shameful or fearful of losing face and the social stigma attached to it.
The Green Day @ CCCSA is an initiative to tackle food insecurity in the Chinese communities using an approach that minimizes stigma. The name ‘Green Day’ has a positive image of promoting healthy choices. Volunteers/staff will help to collect food from the food bank or get veggies and fruits from wholesales at a discounted rate. They will help to pack the food for families to be picked up once every week. Families/Individuals who are recipients can play a volunteer role in the program. As they are contributing their effort, they do not lose their dignity and also they do not have to access charitable resources to feed their families. All these help to reduce their psychological distress associated with food insecurity. Besides offering fruit and veggies, this program will teach some green concepts such as making fruit enzymes which can be used as fertilizer and cleaner to save on some of our household detergents or fertilizer expenses.
Who Will it Benefit?
Nancy was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, she is the only bread winner in her family as her husband has limited mobility and needs to receive AISH, a long term disability benefit. Nancy also has a daughter who in high school. Nancy was very worried about her finances when she was first diagnosed as she cannot work and had to rely on her meager savings. The $1,800 in the bank has to cover her rent, utilities and food. What Nancy can do is to cut down the food cost which is not ideal or her recovery and the development of her child. But because she has a small amount in the bank, she cannot apply for income support. The pressure she experienced is unbearable, Nancy even had thoughts of killing herself.
Green Day@CCCSA is the program that caters to people like Nancy who are in transition that requires extra help to deal with hardships in life. In the case of Nancy, she felt the support and has the dignity to walk through the journey of recovery. There are others who experience hardships due to different reasons. Not only do they need some tangible help, they also need someone who cares.
A contribution from Field Law means a lot to these vulnerable populations in our city who need the community to support them through their hardships. This is also a rewarding opportunity for staff and volunteers. While working at the Green Day program, volunteers are creating a caring relationship with others, helping these needy people to overcome challenges while offering a meaningful life experience that is full of love and hope.