The Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre recently had a funding request approved by the Lac La Biche County which will add $57,185 to their coffers.
As grassroots organizations, Friendship Centres rely on the valuable contribution of volunteers, staff, and funding to make their programs successful which improve the quality of life of urban Indigenous people.
“We are asking for the continued support of the county to cover the costs for the coordinator and a part-time assistant,” Donna Webster, Executive Director said in her presentation to the Council on Tuesday, April 6. “These two individuals throughout the year have and continue to collect food for distribution, they stocked shelves, they ensure that everything is meeting Alberta Health standards.”
Funding will be used to run the Family Support Program which provides emergent provisions to families and individuals in need. They also help facilitate opportunities for families and individuals to learn about food security methods, supports, and services available to low-income households. The group provides a network with landlords to clients, as well as services and government agencies to make available information and resources to assist individuals and their families dealing with poverty
The money will also be used to train and organize volunteers.
The centre has been diligently trying to survive this past year with COVID-19 Webster says taking advantage of every opportunity to fundraise in any way that they can, having lost their two main fundraisers which include bingo.
“A lot of the fundraising was done online,” Webster told the Council in Tuesday’s meeting. “The schools as well were a great support, as well as some organizations like the Catholic Church.”
She explained that the community of Lac La Biche County was very supportive of the organization and various people would give them a call and donate through food drives, or through cash donations, and keeping that amount up so that they were always fully stocked well, so they could continue to serve the community despite financial struggles.
“We had to use all of our gaming money to cover the costs for a coordinator and then find other revenues to pay for power and heat and our photocopier,” Webster said. “Thank you, County for providing the money for the staff, and now they can focus on stocking those shelves and keeping them fully stocked.”
The Centre distributed almost 1200 food hampers between January to December of that number, Webster says they had 1112 brand new families that were brought in as new clients.
“Our families, on average, have between three to five children. And we’re serving a larger number,” Webster said. “So when you look at 1200 hampers, there’s more behind that number. And like I said, 1112 brand new active clients during the time of COVID-19.”
The decision to provide the grant funding to the centre was carried unanimously and Lac La Biche County Mayor Omer Moghrabi thanked the Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre for providing such a valuable service to the community.
“Thank you and the County thanks you,” Mayor Moghrabi said.
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