Dr. David McKeown and members of Toronto’s board of health want the province to increase social assistance rates to include a “nutrition allowance” to help the poor pay for healthy meals.
Dr. Mckeown points out that a basic food basket for a family of four costs $538.43 a month.
Contrast this with the amount given to MPs to cover four days a week of food expense.
This means MPs in Ottawa four days a week during the time the House of Commons sits can get more than $17,000 a year in the form of meal money to use to pay their mortgages. And it is absolutely, unquestionably and inarguably wrong.*
*Garth Turner:The meals-for-mortgages scam
Imagine how a family of four scraping by on $1,668.35 could live, never mind eat, with an extra 1416.66 a month coming in.
The story goes to say;
The board report states that individuals in low-income households are more likely to report poor health and “multiple chronic conditions” such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
While these conditions are sometimes preexisting and contributory to being on assistance or in low wage employment situations, they can also be caused and exacerbated by poor nutrition.
Certainly children’s behaviour and ability to learn is affected by nutrition as covered here in the article
Frank Liu, principal at Alexander Stirling Public School in northeast Toronto, said a school snack program launched in 2004 had a huge impact on student attendance.
Before the program started, about 5 per cent of students were on time for school. Now about 70 per are on time he said.
The program runs four days a week and provides two food groups, such as milk and veggies.
“With the snack program the turnaround has been dramatic, and very influential on their academic learning,” Liu told the health board.
and in a previous blog post
As I’ve mentioned before, I cannot fathom how we as a society can see providing one of the fundamental necessities of life as optional.