Ontario’s poverty reduction fund to support 2 Hamilton organizations

Ontario government to invest $250 thousand into Food4Kids to collect data and extend its reach. Sara Cain, 900 CHML

The Ontario government is looking to tap into the success of two Hamilton organizations working to break the cycle of poverty.

Peter Milcyzn, the Minister Responsible for the Poverty Reduction Strategy, announced Tuesday that Food4Kids will receive $250,000 to analyze and report back on a model that provides 1,700 children in need with healthy food every weekend.

The goal he says is to understand the impact on individuals and whether the program can be replicated.

“If we see children getting more nutritious food, are the outcomes in school better?” he said. “Are there fewer trips to the doctor, to the emergency clinics?”

READ MORE: Hamilton anti-poverty group asks Ontarians to reveal the contents of their fridge

These are questions Lena Bassford, the executive director of the organization, says she also wants answered.

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“In Kitchener-Waterloo we will go from 150 children that we started feeding last year in the pilot program to 300 this coming year,” she said.

The funding will also allow the city of Brantford to include more children in its program. Last year, a two-month pilot program included 60 children. That will increase to nearly 200 children this year.

Outside of the grant money, Food4Kids says it’s looking to launch its food security program in Niagara in January 2018.

READ MORE: Hamilton councillors approve specifics of spending $50 million on poverty reduction

The other Hamilton-based organization that has caught the province’s attention is Centre 3, a media arts hub on James Street North.

They will also receive funding from the province to track the outcomes of its youth employment programs.

Milcyzn says once the data is compiled it will be made available to the public in the hopes that researchers, government and other service providers will turn to it to determine best practices.

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