OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas was honoured to speak at the Ontario Association of Food Banks’ Queen’s Park breakfast event marking Hunger Action Month – a nationwide campaign that encourages Canadians to work toward a future without hunger, through education, advocacy, volunteerism, and donations.
Thomas thanked the OAFB, and executive director Carolyn Stewart for their important work, and noted the importance of the outreach and advocacy that the Association does to bring decision makers together to tackle poverty and hunger.
The OAFB has a network of 1200 agencies that work together, including 129 direct member food banks and more than 1100 affiliates across Ontario. Each year, the OAFB distributes 6 million pounds of fresh and non-perishable food to those who need it most.
“I’m proud to say OPSEU has a long history of supporting food banks in communities across the province,” said Thomas. “Public service isn’t a career, it’s a calling. We’re drawn to this work because we’re driven to help people in our community. That drive doesn’t stop at the end of the work day. That’s why so many OPSEU locals donate to food banks; that’s why so many OPSEU members volunteer their time and energy to food banks.”
And according to Thomas, the best way to prevent hunger in Ontario is to ensure that people have good jobs that pay them enough to afford the food they need.
“Right now, many people are stuck with jobs that are part-time, short-term, and low-paying,” said Thomas. “It’s a recipe for hunger.”
In honour of Hunger Action Month, Thomas challenged all MPPs to take action to protect good jobs in Ontario – to reconsider the minimum wage question and continue with the plan to bump it up to $15, and to keep all of the other provisions in Bill 148.