A Report on the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Methods LOFT Kitchen is using to Address Poverty in our Community – by Justena P., LOFT Kitchen Placement Student
There are many individuals within Ontario that are currently facing poverty. Poverty impacts many individuals that have potential to contribute to the economy while enjoying their lives. Ontario currently has a strategy in progress called the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy. This is a 5-year strategy that Ontario has designed in order to break the cycle of poverty for children and youth. This strategy creates employment opportunities that can aid in improving income security while also working to end homelessness.
I was going to add a definition of poverty but many of the definitions are quite archaic and dehumanizing to individuals; so I rather not include those. Instead my personal definition of poverty is essentially the state of having little or no money as a means of support. Now, this doesn’t mean that individuals facing poverty are just that — they have so much more to offer to society but they are currently facing a barrier that doesn’t allow them to do so.
According to the Toronto Vital Signs, children between the ages of 0-17 are at most risk of poverty and the child poverty rate has been fluctuating between 27% and 32% (Toronto Vital signs, 2016). This is an unacceptable amount of children that are facing poverty. Toronto Vital Signs has also stated that Toronto is the child poverty capital of Canada (Toronto Vital Signs, 2016).
However, LOFT Kitchen’s initiative and mission is quite similar to the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy, just on a smaller scale. LOFT Kitchen not only offers a program to support youth, we offer employment training and skills building. LOFT Kitchen offers an opportunity to allow youth to build life skills, shadow professionals, create networks and receive training while earning an income and contributing to the economy. LOFT Kitchen allows youth to get hands-on experience and training which helps build skills and knowledge. Our youth will then be able to obtain a more demanding, higher paying job while having knowledge of the culinary industry and an amazing skill set. After the youth move on to other jobs or experiences, we take in another set of youth who will then begin the same program.
There are many similarities between LOFT Kitchen and the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy: both aim to target poverty and homelessness while providing employment and skills, just on two different scales. Hopefully both LOFT Kitchen and The Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy will be able to target this social problem within our communities and province and give individuals that are facing poverty and opportunity to fully use their potential and skills.