Poverty Olympics big hit locally and internationally

Photo of Muriel (in character) featured in Globe and Mail article called: “The grinch steals the games.”

Thanks to the nearly 100 volunteers of the 2010 Poverty Olympics. What a success! Volunteers pushed (and kayaked) the torch from Langley to Vancouver’s Poverty Olympics opening ceremonies, made placards, practiced and performed in skits, wrote scripts, made props, made buttons, wrote fact sheets about poverty, shopped for costumes, made sandwiches and a fantastic cockroach cake and so much more. Special thanks Old Hands and Robert Bonner for opening up the games, to Trish Garner and Rider Cooey from Raise the Rates who organized the Province wide torch relay. Also thanks to Bernie Williams and Gladys Radek and others who drummed the Poverty Olympics torch over the Lion’s Gate Bridge and to VANDU who lit our torch at the Japanese Hall.

And a special thank you to the groups and individuals that performed: Streams of Justice, CCAP Action group, Four Sisters kids and the Power of Women group, plus Hendrik Buene and Muriel Williams, Gena Thompson, Priscillia Tait and Bob Sarti, our wonderful mascots and MC’s. None of this could have happened without the behind the scenes work of Jean Swanson, Rose Keurdian and Donald McDonald, our fearless stage managers. It was truly a community effort.

Not only was the Poverty Olympics fun, there was a big benefit. Our point of view was heard across Canada. The international media covered our issues too.

The German coverage was exceptional – right on message about the shocking problem of poverty in a rich country like Canada.

For about 2 weeks leading up to the Poverty Olympics, we met with reporters from around the world: Sweden, England, Finland, Germany, France, and Japan to name a few. My Aunt who just lives up the street here, turned on the BBC one day and saw us there. My one friend, who lives in France, said she heard our message there a few times.

In Canada, friends in Toronto, Ottawa called to say the message was coming out loud and clear. A young woman in Gatineau Quebec found CCAP’s phone number and then started a petition at her college to stop the Assistance to shelter act and to get a National Housing Program. So we had some of the world abuzz for a while. Way to go Poverty Olympics!!