As part of the province-wide 'Day of Action Against Poverty,' protesters took to the streets of Kitchener on Friday to get their message across.

Members of the Alliance Against Poverty and Poverty Makes Us Sick began the day at Kitchener Centre MPP John Milloy's office.

They are upset the Ontario government is cutting assistance for the 'Special Diet Allowance' program, which they say is already inadequate.

Nadeem Lawji, of the Poverty Makes Us Sick group, says "To balance our budgets on the backs of the poorest people in the province is the wrong way to go."

In addition, they say it's been 16 years since Conservatives slashed welfare and froze disability benefits, and the Liberals have failed to take action.

For protestors, a massive income gap between the rich, and the rest, is also a major issue. They say cutting benefits leaves those on social assistance struggling to afford food and housing.

Supporters also gathered for an afternoon rally at Speaker's Corner in downtown Kitchener and at Kitchener City Hall Friday evening.

The protest did get noisy at times, and Waterloo Regional police kept a close eye on the group.

At the Cambridge Self-Help Food Bank there is serious concern about the impact cuts could have on the 1,600 families they help, especially as the cost of food continues to climb.

The food bank's Bonnie Dion says "It's really taking a toll on a lot of families."

The biggest concern is that more people will need assistance, fewer people will be in a position to help and the donations won't go as far as they once did.

Dion says "Last February for 2010 we had spent $4,000 on food, this year already we've spent $8,000."

Community volunteer Jim Bindernagel and his wife help at the Out of the Cold program at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Kitchener.

He says the need is growing, "What you notice is people coming out with younger families and people coming and looking for support."

Anti-poverty groups say the best they've been able to get from the provincial government is a pledge for an 18-month review of the welfare system, but action is needed now to address the poverty crisis.