Letters to the Editor

Readers write about poverty, celebrating a life, and the Ashcroft firefighters

Dear Editor,

We would like to thank the Ashcroft Volunteer Fire Department for their speedy response to the fire at the rear of our building on Monday, Dec. 2.

A very happy Christmas to our wonderful team of firefighters.

Sam’s Diner

Ashcroft, B.C.

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the Ashcroft and District Hospice Program, I would like to thank everyone who took part in our “Celebrate A Life” Tree project, held in Ashcroft and Spences Bridge this year. Your generous support was overwhelming!

We acknowledge the most important part of this event: the opportunity to remember so many wonderful people, who are especially missed during the holiday season.

We wish everyone a peaceful Christmas, with hope that love may touch you all in some way, every day.


Deborah Tedford

Ashcroft and District

Hospice Program

Dear Editor,

The National Post had a recent weekend feature article on rural poverty in Alberta. But rural poverty isn’t unique to Alberta, never was, and still continues to be reflected in every province across Canada. I wonder why neither the politicians nor the media mentions this?

In our own community, the word is never used, yet we’re all made aware of poverty. The manifestation and evidence is scarcely a secret. It’s a funny phenomena. We have two soup kitchens, one of which is promoted as a social event in the Journal. The other, The Equality Project, is a more direct assertion of need. Basically, what I understand The Equality Project says is “We’re here if you need us but don’t feel bad about needing us.”

When I arrived in B.C. in the late fall of 1959, the evidence of rural poverty was widespread. People who could not live in houses and apartments in towns and cities, for reasons of lack of income and employment, lived in virtual isolation, many of them in metal buildings (referred to as mobile homes, many of which are anything but mobile). There were buildings that were little more than shacks, separated by miles of woodland and prairie in between. Dwellings that did not have the resources we take for granted in municipalities, many of which did not even have hydro.

Why, you may ask, would people live in places like that? Well, they live in places like that because its the cheapest way to live. It’s the only place they can afford to live in with their families.

I saw this in Williams Lake. I saw poverty, naked and not altogether pleasant to look at or to smell. That was in the early 1960s, when I lived in the Williams Lake area. But it wasn’t just that town, which now has city status. It saw it in surrounding communities, hamlets of families “making do”, living as best as they could. The social fabric of any community is deeply affected by poverty. The working poor live in cities, as well as in rural areas.

There are people here, many of them, who must work at more than one job to sustain themselves and their needs. People who must work at two or three jobs to make ends meet. Pay their rent, maintain a vehicle (because you can scarcely live in rural areas without some kind of vehicle), and have food enough to maintain a healthy body and mind. One person I have met has to choose: food, or a vehicle to get to work?

Statistics Canada pegs poverty as any income under $30,000. a year. Yet many of us seniors, and many others, are able to live fairly comfortable lives for less. I am one of them. Still, there are many services, both governmental and voluntary, that keep our communities going. The Equality Project is one of them, Soup’s On is another. And we have two thrift shops in Ashcroft that supply clothing, household items, books, and much more.

Poverty is more than a statistic to read about. It’s the reality of life in this vastly prosperous country, whether we want to think about it or not.

Esther Darlington

Ashcroft, B.C.

Correction: In an article about the spaghetti fundraiser dinner held in Clinton on Nov. 27 that appeared in the Journal on Dec. 12, it was stated that the funds raised were for the Clinton Museum. They were in fact for the Clinton food bank. The Journal regrets the error.


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