Week of Action Against Poverty 2011

This year the City officially declared the Week of Action. Unfortunately we didn’t realize that we had to submit the approved declaration to the newspaper and pay for publication so the declaration didn’t run. Total donations had an estimated value of $12,000. With the blog hits, the participation rose to 7,000 (47% of local population).

The keynote activity, Walk in Our Shoes, received over 5000 blog hits, produced much media attention and resulted in a booklet of experiences that will be released to the public.

The business community stepped up their participation this year. Twelve businesses distributed the red ribbons made by People First. These distributors were joined by 2 social service agencies (Pinecrest, KACL) and 2 justice services (Court House, LAO/NCLC). The Cornerstone held events daily during the week. Keystone Lock & Safe committed $5000 in goods and services to the first Kenora build for Habitat. The Fellowship Centre was the second largest recipient of reported activities (120 prs of socks, 78 winter wear sets, 3 meals catering . Other participants included KACL, NWHU, TD Bank, Challenge Club, NDP, Nechee Centre, Court House, TOPS and the Kenora Women’s Action Network. Four private citizens and their families took specific actions that benefited their favourite charities (Fellowship, Triple Play, Minto Family Resource Centre) or individuals (restaurant meal coupons distribution to street people). In another strategy, one organization (KACL) organized a joint winterwear drive with other local agencies (LOWDH, KPCFS).

As has become customary, the Kenora Ministerial Association, opened the week with their “Prayers from the Pulpit” project. Community congregations raised poverty issues through sermon, and prayers. Other presentations were made to Calvary Pentecostal Church Bible Study Group and Notre Dame’s St. Vincent Du Paul Society.

Schools (Valleyview, Pope John Paul and St. Louis) made donations to the emergency Shelter through a variety of sale (houses, cupcakes) and awareness raising (housing needs art project) activities. Following last year’s Act Global, Act Local concert strategy, Valleyview sold minature houses in their project, Houses for Haiti and split the fundraising between the emergency shelter and Haiti. Confederation College student council also staged donation bins, pajama days and snack fundraisers to benefit the Fellowship and Salvation Army. KPCS-Youth in Care again prepared and donated a lunch to the Fellowship Centre.

Advocating to our political leaders and community members was undertaken by four local groups. The Four Directions Aboriginal Toastmasters Group featured three separate presentations on the impact of poverty locally. The Kenora Seniors Coalition put their telephone tree to action focusing on medical issues felt by low-income citizens and the NWHU presented on Food Security Awareness to City Council. KACL spoke publicly on the inadequacies of disability pensions. The City confirmed their commitment to advocate for affordable housing at OGRA and Kenora District Services Board joined the Ontario Works staff in collecting donations for Jubilee Church of God’s work with the impoverished.

“Dreaming of Home”, the fourth edition of Homeless in Kenora by Making Kenora Home was released at HoJo’s. Shirley Hanslip contributed her musical stylings and poetry to the book launch. The venue was decorated with themed art depictions of dream homes by students from Pope John Paul II. Their posters were later featured at the Area Legal Aid and Northwest Community Legal Clinic offices. Although attendance of the event was small, the booklet has already been “sold out” of its initial run. Kenora Patricia Child & Family Services provided editors and publishing for the first 75 copies.

Music filtered through the community. Act Global Act Local (part 2) featured 16 different performances at two locations (Haps, Cornerstone) held simultaneously on the Friday evening. Over $2,000 was raised to benefit the Fellowship Centre. The final fundraising dinner scheduled by the Cornerstone was cancelled due to weather. Other musical fundraisers included Jam Nite and the Recycled Teenagers at the Cornerstone.

Beyond facilitating the Week of Action, book launch and Walk in Our Shoes project, Making Kenora Home held their traditional pancake brunch (Fellowship Centre) and participated in the charity button drive (Winterfest) to benefit the Kenora build.

Media coverage was excellent. Local media ( Daily Miner & News, Enterprise, CJBN, Shaw, CJRL and CBC Northwest) also contributed to awareness raising through interviews, commentary and news releases. Points North did a themed show as well as reporting on events. Shaw’s Good Morning Kenora did 3 interviews as well as encouraging participation during their shows. The local newspapers carried 21 articles and photos of poverty week events.

Two hundred and twenty five (225) donned red for “Wear Red Day”. Participants included St. Marguerite Bourgeoys, Ontario Works, LAO/NWCLC and Community Support Services. The Kenora Metis Warmth and Wellness Group held a week long Knit-A-Thon that produced 44 fresh units of winter wear for the emergency shelter. Another 34 units were added from their stock and distributed to those in need. Each unit contained mitts, hats and scarves. The NWCLC/LAO and NWHU held fundraising luncheons for local food banks. The Kenora Women’s Action Network sold soup at the Cornerstone to raise monies for crisis food vouchers ($200).

  February 13-19, 2011

Community Caring and Sharing