More than one in 10 local households are “food insecure” according to the Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit. In response, officials are launching a new initiative called Rethink Poverty: Changing Minds, Changing Lives.

“We know many low-income earners in the City of Kawartha Lakes are food insecure, especially those working in low-paying, unstable jobs,” says Aisha Malik, a Registered Dietitian with the HKPR District Health Unit. “Working full-time hours at minimum wage no longer guarantees someone can afford basic needs, including food and rent.”

People are asked to visit to learn more about local food insecurity and what they can do to help solve it. The Rethink Poverty site includes resources and videos about food insecurity, and most importantly a template letter that residents are encouraged to email to their MPPs and MPs. The letter asks area politicians to continue supporting and pushing for income-based solutions like a higher minimum wage, better employment standards and a Basic Income Guarantee. While ‘food charity’ (such as food bank use) may address food insecurity in the short-term, it is not a long-term solution. Poverty is the root cause, and the only way to fix the problem is to provide people with more income, Malik adds.