Re: “Skeptic,” Dec. 23, 2020.
How to answer such a letter from Ms. Marjorie Simpson?
I used to volunteer at the Agapè Centre’s food bank and was on its board of directors for a few years. People who come to a food bank are in need. Can you imagine how belittling it feels to ask for food, not have any food to feed your children?
Count yourself lucky you are in such an enviable position you’ve never had to ask.
People come to the food bank for several reasons. Yes, some clients are on welfare and maybe one or two take advantage, but many customers are very low-wage earners.
More often than not, they do not have jobs with benefits and have two jobs to make ends meet.
For example many personal care workers in long-term care homes or cashiers in large grocery stores often hold two jobs in two different workplaces, and without benefits.
A salary of $14 an hour, 35 hours a week grosses $490 a week. The lowest weekly grocery list for a family of four according to Dalhousie University is $200. Then add rent, clothing, medicine, etc. You can do the math.
Of course so many in Cornwall have recently lost their jobs due to COVID-19. The service industry has been particularly hard hit.
Restaurants and hotels who are mandated to operate at 50 per cent or 25 per cent capacity have had to lay off a lot of staff. There have been no large events since March, no weddings, funeral, banquets. No out of town visitors, festivals, theatre, or concerts.
This has had a profound effect on low-wage earners and it will take years to get over it.
To get a better perspective on poverty or living on the edge, I would recommend you volunteer to a food bank of your choice. You will learn how the clients are screened and how the agencies work together to assure fairness.
Food banks in Cornwall do not usually receive public money. They rely on grants from foundations and on donations from people like you and me and everyone else in our community.
Luckily people are very generous with their time and money and by some miracle there is usually just enough to feed the needy.
You call yourself a skeptic— so was Thomas!
Santa! Santa! Can you hear me?
Please, just before you leave Glen Walter, can I ask you for a present for next year for my gran? Please, oh please?
She’s smiling a lot more since you dropped her Christmas present down the flue this year, thank you very much, but she’s still shouting at the TV.
When the newscaster tells her how many people in the country have caught COVID-19, or how many people are in the hospital because of COVID-19, or how many people have died because of it, gran jumps up out of her rocker and shouts at the TV.
She shakes her fists at the TV and shouts, “comparison! Comparison! What’s the point of just giving us figures? Let’s have some comparisons.
“How many people have caught pneumonia compared with COVID? How many people are in hospital because of dementia compared with COVID, and how many people died because of old age compared with COVID?
“For God’s sake, credit us with some common sense.”
I don’t know if I’m allowed to wish forward, Santa, but if I am, can you drop a ‘comparison’ into gran’s stocking?
Could you please let Rudolph know I still love him; I know the poop he left on our roof was an accident.