'Generous' $50K donation will help The Mustard Seed offer new programming for women

$50K to help local women

A $50,000 donation from Kamloops Ram to the Mustard Seed Kamloops was announced on Wednesday, money the non-profit says will help start programming and advocacy work for vulnerable and street-entrenched women.

Kelly Thomson, the Mustard Seed Kamloops’s managing director, said to his knowledge, this is the largest non-government donation in the history of the non-profit.

Thomson said he found out about the donation on a trip to Calgary.

“It took me about three days to process that it was actually real,” Thomson said.

“I felt, No. 1, that the generosity of Kamloops Ram and Jason and his team, that was amazing. And then the next thought is that this is going to help our vulnerable women in our community, because that's a passion of mine.”

According to Thomson, the money is going to support vulnerable women in Kamloops, many of whom have found themselves homeless or are lacking stable housing.

Thomson said about 20 to 25 per cent of the people served by The Mustard Seed are women, but the non-profit doesn’t yet have any programs specifically focused on women — a group with specific needs and challenges that can be unseen on the streets.

He said part of the funds will go towards a program yet to be announced, while some will go to advocacy work headed up by Dolly Flynn, a woman with lived experience who has been involved with The Mustard Seed Kamloops for years.

“She knows the ladies and she's got the credibility and she knows where they are. So she's going to help us connect to people we've never been able to connect to before. And that's going to be a massive difference,” Thomson said.

"The women can begin to trust that we do care about them, that's my heart, is that they understand that we care, we want to know their names, and we want to know their stories, and we want to help them.”

Flynn said she got sober 15 years ago through The Mustard Seed, known at the time as New Life Mission.

I got sober from this room and managed to stay sober for the very first time,” Flynn said.

Flynn said she’s going to do the best she can to connect with women on the street and try to help them get sober.

“This money is going to be such a gift," she said.

"I see the need, I was one that was helped. So I’m going to try and help others.”

Jason DeBlois, dealer principal with Kamloops Ram, said he was prompted to make the donation after taking a tour through The Mustard Seed’s facility.

He said he hopes that this donation can help spur other businesses and community leaders as well.

“It's very apparent that there is a big need in the community for support. And we thought, well, we need to do something to assist that and to help our community that we're now living in and calling home,” DeBlois said.

He said it was apparent that there was a great need for women’s programming.

“It seemed like that was where we can make our best effort and really help make a change,” he said.

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