Local Poverty Concerns Socially Conscious Students

(March 19, 2009 —Thunder Bay, ON)
Poverty in the Thunder Bay community is the focus of the campaign for the month of March for a group headed by Lakehead University students called Be The Change.

Be The Change has teamed up with Thunder Bay Shelter House to help raise awareness about poverty in Thunder Bay, and to help relieve some of the dire conditions facing many local citizens.  Three events will be held to collect donations of clothes, non-perishable food items, and linens.  People can bring their items to the Agora at Lakehead University on both Monday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 25 between 2:30 - 6:30 p.m., as well as on Friday, March 27 from 3:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Alex Boulet, a student of socio-anthropology in his fourth year at Lakehead, and the lead facilitator for Be The Change says, “It’s been reported that 16,750 people are living in poverty in Thunder Bay, which represents 15% of the total population.  Moreover, 44% of Thunder Bay's Aboriginal population live in poverty, and 50% of Canada's Aboriginal children live in poverty.” 

Boulet says that utility costs are the second largest cause of homelessness in Canada, with people who live in poverty more likely to live in older, poorly insulated homes with outdated heating appliances.  Information about poverty in Thunder Bay has been taken from the poverty census released in 2006 by the Thunder Bay Economic Justice Committee.  The figures are drawn from a "relative" measure of poverty using Low Income Cutoffs.

“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to help those who are in need, and we regard it as our civic duty,” says Boulet.

For those who wish to donate items to Be the Change, prizes are available, including gift certificates to the Mind Body Centre and the Great Northwest Coffee Company.  For more information, or to make alternate donation arrangements, Alex can be reached at 251-9921 or by e-mail at bethechangetbay@care2.com.

Be the Change helps people to secure healthy choices, and fosters an environmentally and socially accountable way of life for the community of Thunder Bay.


Media:  Alex Boulet is available for media interviews. For more information contact Lisa Pelot, Communications Officer, at 343-8177, or commun@lakeheadu.ca

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,900 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit www.lakeheadu.ca

Last updated March 20, 2009

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