I recently received a letter from the Edmonton Gleaners, who run the Edmonton Food Bank. It was almost boastful of its longevity, thirty years.
If I were involved in the organization, I would be tearing my hair in disgust that such a shameful need should have persisted so long. I know that organizations like this do a wonderful job in the context of our grasping society, but I also wonder whether the people running them have lost sight of the thought that the society has an obligation to meet these needs, not through charity, but as a central social function of government.
As a result, I shall in future append a note similar to that which I sent to the Youth Emergency Shelter in Edmonton.
"It is my profound belief that essential services are provided by YESS and that these services should not be dependent on the generosity of citizens, but on the obligations of citizens through an equitable progressive taxation system. In making my donation, I wish to make it clear that it is my full expectation that the volunteer administrators of YESS will refrain from support of our present taxation system, in favour of a fairer system which would provide adequate funding for all emergency social services."
I think it might do some good, and can do no harm, to remind charities of the problem. I invite you to copy my example if not necessarily my text.
My donation was made in memory of Jack Layton.