Community Foundation of South Okanagan Similkameen distributes

Pandemic relief distributed

Community service organizations in the South Okanagan Similkameen have received a boost from the federal government aimed at helping them emerge from the pandemic.

The Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen was responsible for delivering $306,000 from the Government of Canada Community Services Recovery Fund, alongside other community groups for a total of $900,786 awarded to projects by 22 organizations in the region.

One beneficiary is the Penticton & Area Access Centre.

The centre was highly disrupted during the pandemic, losing 50 per cent of their staff and many of their most experienced volunteers.

New policies and remote work scenarios forced a fast adjustment, at the same time as demand for their services soared. Revenues dropped as annual fundraisers were cancelled, and staff dealt with mental health issues due to heightened stress.

Despite the challenges, they persevered, and are now building back a stronger and more resilient organization.

“Like so many community service organizations across the country, the pandemic deeply challenged us,” said Brandi Beckett, executive director of the Access Centre, in a press release issued Monday.

“With the help of the Community Services Recovery Fund, we are already making significant progress towards building our resilience to weather future challenges. The improvements we are making are definitely driving us forward in our work helping people navigate social systems in our region."

The fund is a one-time investment from the government.

“We’re very proud to announce this funding, and to celebrate the collective investment made in our region through the [fund],” said Aaron McRann, executive director of the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen.

"The organizations benefiting from this funding have learned hard lessons from their pandemic experience and determined the steps they need to take to become more resilient—through their pandemic recovery and beyond. We're excited to support them on their journey.”

The full list of organizations receiving funding through the Community Foundation are listed on its website here.

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