Monday, July 28, 2008

More than 2 miles

I was talking to one of our guys here and he said he was tired of going to the pharmacy. That's always a bit of a red flag because members taking their medication is a good thing (most of the time) so my ears pricked-up.

He went on to explain that he was all for taking his medications but that the walk to the pharmacy was wearing him out. It's a three mile walk for him round trip - he has eight scripts all with different refill dates.

Based on my math he's walking about 50 km a month just to and from the pharmacy. Would any of us drive to the pharmacy eight times a month because our doctor, or insurer, or government, deigned it to be so?

I think not.

This is how those stuck in poverty are typically victimized - not through malicious ill-will, but through inattention and indifference. Those in morbid need often don't know enough to act on their own behalf (or how to act, or who to contact) so it becomes a "S2Bu" (Sux to be you) situation and nothing changes.

If you are looking to make a difference, try and fill that need for someone near you.

Remember, poverty is about need - not money.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

2 miles in their shoes

I just got back from the store. I bought a few things for the Center, some discounted pastries and fresh fruit for our coffee club today.

Typically, I would have ridden my bike, since our trusty old Volvo is getting her voice back. (muffler trouble) However, my bike chain broke yesterday, and as a result I had to walk. It was a nice walk and my bones needed to get moving anyway.

I thought about yesterday's conversation at the Center about the rising costs of cab fare. It is now $12.00 round trip in town and when you don't have a car, or a friend with one.....

While that price might seem an inconvenience to some, and a pittance to others, it is a monumental price tag to the folks I work with each day.

I took a minute or two to map out some incidental costs in St. Stephen:

Coffee/Pop: $1.50
Doughnut: $1.00
Hot dog or Fries: $2.00
Cab fare: $12.00
Medium Pizza: $20.00

Since everything we buy is just a small part of what we have to spend. I used those numbers to make some percentages, relative to their total monthly income of about $600. Then I went to Stats Canada and took the average total income for unattached individuals from 2004, and watched the numbers.

What follows is what the Center's member's see when they look at the "everyday" costs we barely regard:

Coffee/Pop: $7.13
Doughnut: $4.76
Hot dog or Fries: $9.52
Cab fare: $57.00
Medium Pizza: $95.02


The walk back to the Center was all downhill. Five minutes into the trip the few items I had bought became leaden and the bags began to dig into my fingers. Two hundred meters down, one thousand five hundred to go.

How come you can never find a cab when you need one?