Chew On This!

A bushel basket sitting in the sun on the sidewalk, filled with brown paper lunch bags with the words Chew On This written on them.

For the past three years, Canadians have been serving up food for thought on street corners in cities across the country. Poverty activists and people passionate about human rights, are calling for a Federal Anti-Poverty Plan to eradicate poverty and hunger for the 850,000 people in Canada who use food banks each month and the millions of others struggling to get by.

Each year Canadians gather on or around October 17 to host Chew On This! as they mark the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

In Canada, hunger is a real problem.

If food banks, soup kitchens, and other frontline agencies across the country were to shut down tomorrow, poverty and hunger would become much more visible.

  • 852,000 people in Canada visit the food bank each month.
  • 1 in 3 people helped by food banks in Canada are children.
  • Food banks were started in Canada in the early 1980s as a temporary way to address hunger. They were never intended to be a permanent measure.
  • 1 in 8 people in Canada experience some level of food insecurity.

Why a Federal Anti-Poverty Plan?

While charity is necessary in helping survive right now, it doesn’t address poverty’s root causes. A comprehensive approach that guarantees a right to food for all people in Canada is key to eliminiating poverty. But we still don’t have a plan. government controls income security payments, tax benefits, pensions, and the vital funding for provincial/territorial health and social service programs. The federal government is responsible under international human rights law to eradicate poverty. Committees from the House of Commons, Senate, and the United Nations have all said that Canada needs a Federal Anti-Poverty Plan

Dignity for All

The model National Anti-Poverty Plan is an outline for a responsibly funded and accountable strategy to eradicate poverty with a focus on six key areas including food security. Endorse the Dignity for All campaign and join Chew On This! next fall to help make poverty an issue for decision makers.

Last year, 490 people participated and over 330,000 people were reached across the Country. We are looking for local organizers to bring this event to towns and cities across Canada in October 2016.

Are you up for the challenge of organizing a local Chew on This! event? Contact Kathleen () to let us know!

Finding Volunteers

We know that front line workers are tired of seeing people living in poverty with no long term solution in sight, so talk to your networks and to local food banks, meal programs, and shelters to find volunteer participants. There's no target number of volunteers but you'll need at least six people for one site. If potential volunteers in your area contact us, we'll let you know!

Picking a Location

Choose a place that is visible with high pedestrian traffic over the lunch hour. Depending on the number of volunteers you have participating, you may want to have several sites (roughly 6-10 volunteers per site). You may also want to plan a bad weather location, such as at a local mall. Be aware that certain locations may require a permit from City Hall.

Preparing Materials

We will send you the bags, postcards, a sign-up sheet and clipoboard, but it's up to you to get the apples (or a similar snack) and to pack the bags. Some organizers may have a budget for apples or snacks, while others may need to source donations. Some groups may want to create buttons to wear, or signs and banners to hang at the event. A material order form will be available onthis web page as the event approaches.

Contacting Media

We will send out a customizable press kit for your local media. The press release will need to be sent to newpapers, TV stations, radio stations, or online publications in your area about two weeks before the event. The follow-up media advisory can be sent two days before the event.

Taking Pictures

Whether you're painting signs, or handing out bags on a street corner, please share your pictures via social media (, on Twitter). If you have a photographer, please have them take so good quality photos of the event that may be submitted to local media and to share with Dignity for All for our national media outreach. 

Engaging Your MP

You can invite your Member of Parliament to come by the event and pick up a bag, or you can arrange to bring them one before or after the event. When you meet, emphasize that people in their riding, including food bank and meal program volunteers, are calling for a Federal Anti-Poverty Plan! Tell them about the model plan developed by Dignity for All and direct them to this website. Be sure to grab a photo with you MP if possible.

Organize a local Chew on This! event