Campbell River Seniors Centre Society asks city for funding for lunch program staff

The Campbell River Seniors Centre Society has turned to the city for help in finance a paid staff position for the lunch program.

At 65 meals a day, five days a week, the Seniors Centre lunch program is an overwhelming success.

But Helen Whitaker, president of the Seniors Centre Society, says with the number of meals increasing and the number of aging volunteers going down, the society needs some help.

With very few options, the Campbell River Seniors Centre Society has turned to the city and is appealing for help in financing a paid staff position.

Whitaker said the society is asking for either partial or full support for a staff position at a cost of $45,000 annually, for roughly 30 hours a week.

She added that the position, which has been running on a trial basis over the last five months, is key to sustaining the lunch program and ultimately, the Seniors Centre which operates out of the Campbell River Common Mall.

“The revenues from the kitchen pay our bills – our Hydro, our insurance, our janitorial – and we now recognize that we cannot sustain this program on a regular basis with volunteers only,” Whitaker told council at last week’s Monday meeting.

Doug Vater, treasurer for the Seniors Society, echoed that.

“The kitchen pays our bills,” he said. “If we were to close the kitchen today, we would not have a Seniors Centre.”

Vater added that implementing the paid position would eat up the revenue the society is currently making from the lunch program but said the plan going forward is to apply for federal and provincial operating grant monies.

The only glitch, Whitaker said, is that in order to qualify for such grants, the society has to have at least one staff position funded for at least a year.

Coun. Ron Kerr likened the situation to a “catch 22” and praised the group for doing what it can with what little it has.

“This group really does carry its weight,” Kerr said. “You’re not always coming with hand out, you do your work. And your food is great, I’ve eaten there.”

Coun. Colleen Evans suggested the Seniors Society pursue Job Creation opportunity grants as well as grants available through NIEFS for reengaging seniors in the workforce.

Whitaker said the society “would be happy” to engage with NIEFS and pursue that suggestion.

In the meantime, council deferred making a decision on the funding request until 2017 budget planning meetings which are scheduled for early December.

Mayor Andy Adams said, however, that the society’s work has not gone unrecognized.

“We are indebted for the work you do on behalf of the seniors in our community,” he said.

The Seniors Centre, which has 650 members, provides 12 to 15 different free activities throughout the week, including a yoga program that is overflowing.

The society has also provided work experience for special needs students on a weekly basis for the last five years, as well as work experience and coaching to special needs adults through NIEFS.

The society also arranges for North Island College and Discovery College nursing students to come to the centre and put on presentations for its membership.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gold River ready to welcome visitors and restart local businesses

In contrast to single-industry remote communities, Gold River’s diversified economy might help it better survive after reopening

JAK’s raises more than $3,000 for Campbell River Food Bank

Campbell River locations took part in the JAK’s Gives Back campaign on May 30

Campbell River bike park receives full funding

Looking for volunteers help to finish project

Campbell River Art Gallery to reopen June 4

38th Annual Members’ Show will be on display for month of June

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Mirror business directory and map

If you’d like to be added to the list, shoot us an email

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

Most Read