On May 5th, people came out in droves to participate in a day of food and festivities hosted by the Kamloops and District Labour Council (KDLC) and the JUMP program.
Every year, unions and labour organizations take part in a Union Protein Project (Protein for People). Member organizations, unions, labour councils, and individual union members donate cash, and the power of bulk-buying is then used to subsidize food bank purchases of protein-based foods that are generally in short supply at food banks.
This year, the KDLC partnered with JUMP – a Kamloops based not-for-profit food security community kitchen and day shelter that provides more than just a warm meal. It also aims to relieve poverty and homelessness through helping people access housing and services.
The goal of hosting a joint, public event was to raise awareness of the fact that protein, a key nutritional element, is severely lacking from the diets of most people living in poverty, and to highlight the shortcomings of an economy that forces large segments of the population to rely on charity and food security programs in order to feed themselves and their families.
Labour organizations promote the creation of sustainable, living wage jobs that offer people dignity and choices, and hope to see the need for food banks and other food security programs eradicated in the not-too-distant future. Unfortunately, this type of autonomy is not reality for many people. KDLC President Barb Nederpel states, “we feel a responsibility to support everyone in our community and we’ve been advocating strongly for poverty elimination strategies through our governments. But it is the work on the ground that gives provides the dignity and direction everyone deserves and that is why we are shining a light on the amazing work done at JUMP.”
JUMP Director Glenn HIlke agrees that the program’s partnership with the KDLC is great “because both organizations have the same goal but bring the right elements together for real impact.”
In keeping with the Protein theme, the KDLC and JUMP served up a hearty meal of roast beef on a bun with a variety of salads and other goodies. We initially planned on feeding about a hundred people, but it is estimated that over 300 people showed up to partake – give or take a few repeat customers. Thanks to the help of a few dedicated volunteers who made some extra food runs, the day was a phenomenal success.