So, after a lot of anger and sadness, and frustration, I've decided to write this blog in a very constructive matter.
Recently my City of Calgary Neighborhood social worker did a community survey, one of the topics that came up was the necessity of basic needs (food), that people in our community seem to lack.
So they did the survey, the concluded that this was an issue, and they made a plan to "solve" the issue of food insecurity.
What was the answer to "solving" food insecurity to them?
To bring in a food bank to our South West community.
Now, I'm no expert, but:
1. Food banks have never solved food insecurity in the past.
2. Would you not ask the next question as to: "WHY is food insecurity an issue for you? AND
3. What would YOU like to see brought in to the community to help to bring you food security?
When I asked the community social worker if the last two questions had been asked to the community, the answer was no.
According to the City of Calgary's Enough for All strategy, reducing the usage of food banks is a goal to the city, and from my understanding, City of Calgary Neighborhood social workers are supposed to be working on these goals.
My City of Calgary social worker also asked me to join the conversation of this at their next meeting. As she thought my voice and opinion would be valuable in it.
So ... I went to the meeting. I asked the questions about how bringing the food bank would:
1. Bring food security to the community.
2. How the food bank brings dignity to people who use them, AND
3. If they have discussed this on a deeper community level with people.
Needless to say, I was dismissed. At least, I felt dismissed. I felt unheard, dismissed, disregarded, and like my thoughts, ideas, views were invalid and stupid.
The location of the food bank was also decided upon by these agencies, with absolutely no consultation with the people who live in that community.
So, yeah. I am more than a little disappointed with the City of Calgary Neighborhood services, and the agencies they partnered with on this.
I'm also a little ticked at the house in my neighborhood, where the girls who live in it are supposed to be actively engaged in the community, and I have not seen or heard from them at all.
And the Calgary Housing support worker I have, as she does not seem to support me anymore either.
So Calgary, Thank You. Thank You for not supporting me, listening to me, making me feel validated, or important, or a strong member of my neighborhood, or that I belong for that matter.
Perhaps, maybe, in the future you could:
1. Listen to the people who live in the community.
2. Dig deeper into the issue instead of thinking you can "solve" our problems for us.
3. Actually listen to me and others, validate us, and making us feel like we matter.
4. Treat us like WE ARE the experts of our OWN lives!