Nova Scotia

Poverty dolls raise awareness of child poverty in Cape Breton

The United Church Women, a church group in Glace Bay, is bringing attention to child poverty by making and giving away dolls.

Handed out to community leaders, decision-makers

Catherine MacLean said the dolls made are attention-getters. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

A women's church group in Glace Bay is bringing attention to child poverty by making and giving away dolls. 

The dolls are meant to remind decision-makers about child poverty. (Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith/CBC)

The dolls are attention-getters, according to Catherine MacLean, president of the Maritime Conference of United Church Women.

"People see these strange-looking little dolls and they think, 'What are they about?' and then they ask more questions," she said.

Cape Breton has the highest rate of child poverty in Atlantic Canada — 32.4 per cent — with one in every three children living in poverty. For children six and under, the rate is higher at 42.7 per cent, second only to Nunavut.

MacLean, with help from other church members, makes the dolls with leftover fabric from quilting and old sheets. They are soft and colourful and have a typed message pinned to their bodies that includes a Bible passage and a list of demands for "affordable housing, nutritious meals each day, affordable child care, and a living wage for families."

MacLean has given the dolls to clergy, teachers and politicians, including Cape Breton MPs Rodger Cuzner and Mark Eyking.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was also given a doll by a United Church Women group in Ontario as part of the organization's national campaign.

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