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Letter: We need the right ingredients for a downtown task team

City needs a task team that ensures programs valued by the homeless and marginalized are financially supported and not taken away
The city’s downtown task team needs to be committed to ensuring the homeless and marginalized are fed. (File)

Re: The Nov. 20 article “Groups who work with the downtown homeless wonder why they have been excluded from mayor’s task team”

Does Sudbury need a task team consisting of people that do not directly have contact with the homeless, or with the marginalized?

One of the key issues a homeless person experiences is hunger.

I would like to know how much money the federal government commits to feed the hungry here in Canada, and specifically how much money for Sudbury if it commits millions of dollars to fight world hunger?

If the federal government gives money to the provincial governments to fight hunger, how much does it give? If the provincial government receives money from the federal governments to fight hunger, how much does it give to its municipalities? How much do municipalities give to the organizations that actually feed the hungry?

The same questions can be asked about mental health, basic needs, and education. How much does a person in need actually receive? For example, this Christmas, can we financially tally up how much turkey and potatoes is actually ingested in the mouths of the hungry? Can we tally up the costs a domestic incident over the holidays will cost our cities and provinces in policing, and healthcare fees? Do we have the data on what a good education in our public system is worth? How much of our community services that directly provide to those in need are being funded by the original donation from the federal government?

Do we simply agree it is fair to further bill the taxpayers and rely on donations from generous members of our society to pass out the carrots because financial accountability of government funds is too expensive to carry out? Do we need a task team consisting of CEOs and chiefs (whose salaries alone “put to flight” the people who are hungry) to sit at a table and simply discuss these issues? Let’s not just “have coffee” with our friends over these issues. Let us roll up our sleeves and "make cookies" with those we don't know.

I am sure that we have some very well paid people in our community who can do the math and add up the costs of "being hungry." If only we had $350 million worth of “turkey and potatoes” this Christmas and a large inclusive table to eat from, people would feel festive. 

Maybe then the CEOs and Chiefs at the table could hand out a complete meal free from profiling, classifying, discriminating, and misjudging additives.

The city needs a task team that ensures programs valued by the homeless and marginalized are financially supported and not taken away. The city needs a complete Christmas meal free from additives that is personally delivered to each person in need. It is the responsibility of the city to make sure it has a task team that checks to see if it is handing out an unhealthy meal given to curb some appetites, otherwise even the starving won't eat from it. One thing that is for sure, politics and food do not mix.

Jen Young