Hunger: Food is not a universal right, but Hamilton has a safety net

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By Jon Wells

A universal right to food does not exist in Canada, not like health care.

But in practice, the emergency food system in Hamilton is ubiquitous and resourceful enough that it has elements of universality.

Hamilton Out of the Cold volunteers ask no questions, other than your first name, in order to keep track of gender patterns, as they serve hot meals six days a week during the winter at local churches and the Wesley Centre.

Men are far more common at the 11,000 breakfasts and 16,000 dinners served from November until the end of March by HOOTC. A women-and-children-only dinner recently began on Saturday nights at Christ’s Church Cathedral.

If you find your way to one of the meals, the philosophy is that you need to be there. HOOTC administrative assistant Janice Ormond, whose voice is the one you hear when you phone the office, said she heard that a couple of years ago, one of the guests drove what appeared to be an expensive car to the dinners.

“You can’t judge,” she said. “Maybe he slept in that car. We welcome everyone, with no questions asked.”

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Article and image source: The Hamilton Spectator

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