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Child poverty in B.C. a backdrop for fundraiser

Shon Bartok, president of the BCNDP Chilliwack – Hope Constituency Association, chats with Sheila Friesen of the Meadow Rose Society while touring the facility on Spadina Avenue last week.  - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS
Shon Bartok, president of the BCNDP Chilliwack – Hope Constituency Association, chats with Sheila Friesen of the Meadow Rose Society while touring the facility on Spadina Avenue last week.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

The child poverty rate in B.C. is the highest in Canada.

It’s a statistic that BCNDP Chilliwack-Hope Constituency Association president Shon Bartok said he can’t overlook.

Bartok toured the Meadow Rose Society headquarters in Chilliwack last week, where he launched a special fundraising drive.

“We want to help B.C. families and to assist The Meadow Rose Society to meet the needs of those struggling in this difficult economy,” said Bartok.

With one in five kids living in poverty according to 2013 Child Poverty Report Card, the numbers are at a “historic, tragic” level in B.C., said Bartok.

The local NDP association will collect everything from diapers, and baby formula, to furniture, toys and cash, with 100% of all proceeds going directly to Meadow Rose.

“What is very touching is the way they help women and children who are struggling in the community,” said Bartok. “They have a special way of reaching out at Meadow Rose and I found it inspiring.”

His own family faced its own set of struggles, so he can relate to those who are desperately trying to make ends meet, and have trouble affording staples like diapers and strollers, for example.

Meadow Rose is focused mainly on helping parents and guardians of infants and toddlers.

“Over the past two years we have been amazed by the growth of Meadow Rose and how we are meeting a need in our community,” said Kathereen Kessler, president of the Meadow Rose Society.

They help people in a range of situations, from families on assistance, to working families, and even grandparents raising their children’s children.

“You never know what life is going to throw you. You could be in their shoes at any time or your neighbor could be.

“The outpouring of support from our community has been uplifting and we owe them our gratitude as they have helped us in many ways to meet our clients’ needs,” Kessler added.

The fundraising effort for Meadow Rose is meant to build on the tradition of community outreach initiated by former Chilliwack NDP MLA Gwen O’Mahony, Bartok added.

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