Tag Archives: children

A Meat Eater Goes Vegan for a Week

Peter Thurley loves meat. If you don’t understand that, the rest of this post won’t mean a thing. He also loves his new job at the Children’s Foundation which supports Food and Friends a children’s nutrition and breakfast program that funds 80 programs in Wellington, Dufferin, and Guelph.

Peter is one of my Facebook friends. About a month ago, he asked people what he should give up for a week as part of the Livefree campaign. He would pick one suggestion for what he should give up for a week to raise funds for Food and Friends.

I challenged him to go vegan for a week, giving up milk, eggs and meat for 7 days. I would give him 10 dollars for everyday he can do it. Peter picked my challenge, knowing that as a meat eater this would be very hard for him but would also remind him of the kids whose only food in a day might be the breakfast of a nutrition program.

Along with the members of my church, All Saints Anglican, I am a volunteer at the Cedarbrae breakfast club and have not only served hot breakfasts but also made up bagels and veggies for kids who do not have a lunch either. I am also going to give 70 dollars to Nutrition for Learning, our Waterloo Region breakfast program.

So why vegan?  My oldest daughter has been a vegetarian for many years. Lately, I have been trying to get my eating into some kind of sensible order and I have also discovered I am very lactose intolerant. I am not vegan but I do eat less meat, fish and eggs. It is also amazing how many products have milk products, particularly whey in them! I can still eat a bit of certain cheeses, but not too much!

What I hope Peter, who is a blogger and tweeter, will learn from this exercise is what a shock it is when you begin to read packaged food and fast food labels. I don’t expect he will become a vegan. It’s a pretty hard row to hoe unless you are dedicated or it is your religion.

But there is a world of great meatless meals out there. So far he’s just eating the veggies so must be pretty hungry. I am making up a care package of yummy vegan meals for his wife and him this week-end.

To donate to Peter’s fundraiser, go here: http://www.livefreewdg.ca/live-free-life/2012-participants/peter-thurley

Update! Here is the Live Free Waterloo Region that I will be donating to as well. http://www.livefreewaterloo.ca/   Thanks Kathi Smith for this info. Kathi is going meatless until the end of March for Live Free Waterloo

For more about vegans, Google has a good range of recipe sites. (Most vegetarians use vegan recipes otherwise you get a life of constant cheese)Toronto Vegetarians website is fixed. Here is their veggie challenge. http://veg.ca/content/view/26/56/

Childcare Breaks My Heart

I’m  proud of the Region’s involvement in childcare. We have a large home daycare organization, daycares, and a subsidy system for poor people to get childcare. When the federal government cut the funds for childcare, we put in 1 million to keep things going.

Provincially, all day Junior and Senior Kindergarten will not only help get kids  prepared for learning but also help with childcare availability. Schools must have afterschool care on a cost recovery basis if parents want it.

Then just as I’m getting smug and my eyes are closed, along come parents with their stories to jerk me awake again.

At the church potluck, a couple with the cutest baby girl ever, told me how the mother may have to quit graduate school because as the sixth category of eligibility on the region’s subsidy list, they won’t get a space and won’t be able to afford daycare when she finishes her maternity leave. The husband is at Conestoga College.

Now as councillors we have been very proud of the fact that the Region hasn’t had a waiting list for subsidy. Recently, we had to institute one because the budget was hemorrhaging 100,000 dollars a month to top up the subsidy list. The province has changed the requirements to get subsidy, which is a good thing, but it has meant more people are eligible. Now there are 300 people on the new waiting list and that’s not counting the families that all along couldn’t even get on the subsidy list as all the other more urgent parents went ahead of them.

A father just wrote to me as well. He would like to use the Region’s home daycare program for after school programming for his 7-year-old twins and 9-year-old. For two hours after school. (Remember there are 300 on the waiting list) They were told that it is a three-year wait to get into the program at the daycare at their school. They sent a note to the grade 7 and 8 classes, they have put ads in the paper, asked around. NOTHING.  His wife has had to quit her job and their house is up for sale.

The after school programs? If they aren’t already full, the cost recovery is 30 dollars per child per day. No wonder there aren’t any new after school programs.

The least I can do is pledge that I will work on getting the Region to use some of the money we are getting for uploading of Ontario Works fees to the province to cover that 100,000.  Last night at the poverty forum, Tom Galloway and Jim Wideman said they would support that too.

The only ray of sunshine? The Cedarbrae breakfast program where I volunteer will still be having the free breakfasts for kids starting in October. No fee.

But as the title says, “Childcare Breaks My Heart”.  My mother had to work and had a hard time finding childcare for me. I had a hard time with childcare, finally founding the Waterloo Infant Toddler Daycare. Now the poster child for that daycare, my daughter, is pregnant and there is  little more childcare than 26 years ago. Quebec has 5 dollar a day childcare. Come on provincial and federal, after 50 years, it’s time!