By Janet McClean Senft, Eagle Valley Community Support Society
The Eagle Valley Community Support Society (EVCSS) generally serves the Municipality of Sicamous and Zone E of the Regional District of Columbia Shuswap, except in the case of Elderly Support Services, which we operate throughout Shuswap as well as Enderby and Chase with the Better at Home program. and resource / referral supports.
We have a very broad mandate, services that include resources and referrals, early childhood and parenting programs and services, family support and counseling for children, youth and adults, education programs on food security and nutrition, advocacy, the aforementioned senior services, support with forms, applications and technology, and the CRA volunteer tax preparation program. In addition, we have partnerships with many other groups and agencies that provide services to our community.
EVCSS has had a tumultuous year full of ups and downs. Some of our services have actually been improved because of what we have learned about service through technology; However, we also encountered many challenges in trying to provide the necessary level of service.
The support from the community has been incredible. A large donation received last year has gone a long way in helping us weather this COVID-19 storm, as well as additional support from the province through Food Banks BC and assistance from Food Banks Canada.
On the other hand, we have never had so many people in difficulty and the increase in the need for food support, safe housing, transportation and, in particular, a huge increase in the need for mental health support for children. people of all ages was a bit overwhelming.
Our Better Home program has seen huge changes in the way we have delivered services, but the new services we have provided to keep seniors safe in their homes have resulted in closer relationships that benefit all.
Many long-term plans and goals are on hold due to COVID-19 and it has been frustrating, but some bright spots have been that EVCSS has been chosen as the operator of the new licensed day care center in Sicamous District – something we have advocated for years, receiving funding to begin a process of certifying our kitchen for food processing and strengthening our relationships with indigenous communities in the Secwepemc region.
Overall, we are grateful to be able to serve, and while we are very happy to see the end of the pandemic, we have learned and grown a lot as an organization due to the challenges presented.
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