We Need You: Keeping Charities Going Keeps Community Going

Leanne Hammond, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan.

Leanne Hammond, Executive Director of the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan.

If there has ever been a time to recognize how important the charitable sector is, NOW IS IT.

What a difference a month makes!

As we all try to stay safe and healthy through this difficult time, it’s a time to stop and think about what is really important. I have never been so proud to work in the charitable sector – the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan has stepped up to help out in this time of need to ensure that no one gets left behind.

In the last two weeks, the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan board has signed cheques totalling more than $50,000 to support non-profit organizations on the front lines, notes Leanne Hammond, the Foundation’s executive director. “These charities go quietly about their work every day, and when we were all told to ‘stay home,’ they found ways to make sure people who don’t have a home were not forgotten.”

It takes time for government to mobilize help, and in the meantime many charities have seen their resources shrink and for some, completely disappear, Hammond says. Yet many charities have continued to work tirelessly, finding ways to distribute food in a way that respects social distancing requirements, providing mental health support online instead of face to face, and sending staff home to try to work remotely without the required technology and training to do so.

And all this, without grumbling once.

Groups receiving funding in our first round of Rapid Response Grants include:

  • Salvation Army – House of Hope Foodbank
  • CMHA Vernon – Mental Health and Food Distribution programs
  • NexusBC – Seniors Support and Food Distribution
  • Archway Society for Domestic Peace – Help for women/families experiencing domestic violence
  • Starfish Backpack Program – Food for kids and families in need

“I am so proud of our community! Look at us, taking care of ourselves and each other without missing a beat,” Hammond says. “I’m also increasingly impressed by the collaborative and innovative spirit in our area. Let’s keep that going!

“Thank you to all the donors who have contributed to our new ‘BETTER TOGETHER: COVID-19 Community Response Fund,’ she adds. “We’re able to turn around donations to this fund immediately and get the money out to charities on the front lines taking care of seniors, low-income families, children, the homeless and other vulnerable populations.”

To find out how you can help keep our charitable sector going – check us out at www.cfno.org Give if you can, and we will make sure your donation gets to where it is needed most. For more information or to arrange larger donations call 250-542-8655 or email Leanne@cfno.org.