The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “charity

A Crying Shame

Posted on April 13, 2017

“The waste of plenty is the resource of scarcity,” noted Thomas Love Peacock, and in Canada, right now, there is no better example of this than what we do with our food. If it’s true that we are what we eat, then it’s also true that we become what we toss out. So, it’s only logical, then, that we grow a little troubled and philosophical upon discovering that each year Canadians throw out 200,000 tonnes of food into our landfills – $31 billion dollars worth. That’s $31 billions dollars of lost revenue – all at the same time that roughly 850,000 people turn to food banks for help each month. And it’s troubling to learn that 13% of Canadians lived in a constant state…

Witnessing Change is Never Enough

Posted on January 19, 2016

YESTERDAY WAS MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY, so we spent some time watching his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, only three months before John F. Kennedy was slain. The rhythm and passion of his phrases still struck deep chords. He wasn’t trying merely to reconcile various groups of people, but was striving for a world that had a more equitable future. It’s only proper that we appoint special days to remind us of our ideals and what we believe to be our greatest aspirations, but there’s a difference between honouring someone and participating in changing the world by following in their footsteps. Some people like King and his wife, Coretta, naturally accomplished that, but for…

Food Bank Myths

Posted on April 2, 2015

FOOD BANKS ACROSS CANADA HAVE BEEN with us for some three decades now, and despite the fact that they have been highly public and faithfully supported, assumptions continue to be made about both food banks and their clients. Here are some common misconceptions. Food Banks have a high rate of dependency That’s not what the statistics reveal. In the London Food Bank, for example, 40% of our clients came only once a year, and 75% came four times a year or less. According to the Ontario Association of Food Banks, close to half of the people assisted in 2013 at food banks were there for the first time, while an equivalent number stopped using food banks. Food banks are still primarily used for emergency…

Why Do We Give?

Posted on November 12, 2013

This past weekend’s activities, along with speaking with some Afghanistan veterans during yesterday’s Remembrance Day activities, put me in a philosophical mood. Seeing so many citizens put their best foot forward caused me to ask, “Why do people give so generously?” Lots of theories popped into my mind, but still, the act of sacrificing something you own for someone else is perhaps the most noble trait resident within the human race.  Some give in order to get something in return (recognition or favour), while others donate through a kind of enlightened self-interest.  Still others give because there is a personal connection to some ultimate cause. And then you volunteer for the London Food Bank in the Santa Claus parade and you witness another dimension…

The Ones That Got Away

Posted on June 13, 2013

You can always tell when democracy is in a period of decline when there is an increase in volunteerism, charity and celebrity status.  It sounds counter-intuitive, but hear me out.  We have entered a phase where civil society has to pick up the slack from where governments increasingly leave off.  It’s something of a mug’s game, where more becomes expected of citizens than is required of government. And then there is that third great sector that doesn’t really have to worry about such things very much at all.  The fabulously wealthy, the businesses they run and own, and the financial institutions through which they flourish – become increasingly disconnected from the daily lives of average Canadians and feel little connection to country anymore; their…

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