On May 1st, Interior Savings announced an initiative to help non-profits in our communities navigate the ever-changing environment of COVID-19. The Community Relief Fund offers one-time grants of $2000 – $7000 intended to cover extraordinary, unbudgeted costs related to the pandemic. Since the launch of the Grant, we have received applications from across all fourteen of our communities; all speaking to the vital role that non-profits play in the health and well-being of our communities.

Though applications will be accepted until May 31, we’re pleased to announce the first round of successful applicants. We will make another announcement in early June with the second and final round of recipients.

Congratulations, and a heartfelt thank you to the following non-profits for going above and beyond to ensure critical services in our communities are available for those most in need.

South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry, Ashcroft: $5,000

Prior to the arrival of COVID-19, South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry was providing foodbank services to 754 households in the Ashcroft area. Since COVID-19, they’ve seen a 64% increase in need, and this doesn’t include the support they are providing to family food hampers at local schools. With donations dwindling, demand and food costs increasing, their organization is under great pressure.

With money from Interior Savings’ Community Relief Fund, they will purchase high protein food options (60 cases of tuna and 70 cases of all natural peanut butter).  They will also purchase a standing deep freeze to preserve the produce donated over the summer and harvested from their community garden; a more cost-effective and sustainable way to continue to support those in need.

Yellowhead Community Services Society, Clearwater:  $7,000

With services spanning from infants to seniors, this Society serves the Clearwater community with Child Care, Family Services, Counselling, Safe Home & Second Stage Housing, Affordable Housing, Food Security, programs for adults with developmental disabilities, transit and the Better at Home program for seniors.

Due to COVID-19, the majority of services are now delivered via phone, and in some cases through direct service for those who require the hands-on support. In addition, they have increased grocery shopping and medication delivery services to elders. Health and safety measures have been modified to ensure the well-being of their staff and those they serve.

Yellowhead Community Services will use this grant to purchase laptops, web cams and cell phones to increase their capacity to provide virtual appointments to at-risk families. The funding will also support a growing need to provide healthy and nutritious meals to low income, vulnerable individuals, families and elders.

Connect Counselling and Therapy, Kelowna: $1,500

This non-profit society supports the Central Okanagan with free counselling services and support groups for families, individuals, children/youth, couples and elders. Their main services focus on support for depression, anxiety, grief/loss, family issues, and for those who’ve experienced intimate partner violence or childhood abuse and trauma.

With support from Interior Savings, they will purchase a laptop, webcams and a digital drawing table to help them deliver effective and critical services to their clients, virtually.

Kelowna Gospel Mission Dental Clinic, Kelowna: $7,000

The Dental Clinic supports nearly 5,000 eligible low income individuals, families and older adults with emergency pain relief, basic dentistry, fillings and extractions as well as oral hygiene.

The clinic was required to close due to COVID-19, leaving a gap in community services. With support from Interior Savings’ Community Relief Fund they can purchase some of the essential supplies and equipment they require in order to re-open. These include a starting supply of personal protective equipment, isolation barriers and two chairside air extraction units for dental operations which are designed to capture air particles within a confined space.

South Okanagan Similkameen Brain Injury Society, South Okanagan: $5,000

Serving 1500 people annually impacted by the life altering effects of Brain Injury and Stroke, this organization has been unable to provide in-person group programs since the arrival of COVID-19. While they have begun offering on-line virtual group programs, approximately 75% of their clients do not have access to computers or tablets.

With help from Interior Savings, they will purchase 10 tablets and two laptops to share with their most isolated clients to allow them to participate in group programs and individual appointment sessions.

North Okanagan Community Chaplaincy Ministry, Vernon: $2,500

Working closely with the Upper Room Mission, Salvation Army, Turning Points, and Social Planning Council, this organization serves food, resources and hygiene products to street-entrenched and low income individuals on weekends and holidays when their partner groups are closed.

With funds from Interior Savings, they will purchase a handwashing station and a 6 month supply of soap and paper towels.  Not only is this key in the current COVID environment, but also gives volunteers peace of mind and is valued by their guests. For many of the individuals they serve, this is the only way they wash their hands and face. Some have said “it’s the first time they feel clean all day”. Post-pandemic, the washing station will continue to be shared with their partner groups in various capacities to support those most vulnerable.

CMHA Vernon & District, Vernon: $2500

As part of their overall programming, CMHA provides subsidized healthy meals for individuals in the Vernon area living with mental illness. Last year, they served nearly 10,000 meals, and since the public health emergency they have seen a substantial increase in people accessing their nutrition program.

To meet this growing demand in a climate of COVID-19, they’ve had to modify their operations to provide delivery of freezer-ready meals and educational materials, and have incurred additional costs for food, take-out containers and additional sanitation supplies. Funds from Interior Savings will help alleviate some of these extra costs.

West Kelowna Shelter Society: $2500

West Kelowna Shelter Society plays an important role in helping to support those who are most vulnerable in our community. They provide an emergency shelter and outreach in the form of food, water, clothing, wellness checks, resources and referrals, and harm reduction supplies to people who are homeless.

Since COVID-19, many community organizations have reduced or changed their services which has resulted in a higher demand for the Society’s services, including the basic essentials of food and water. Funding from Interior Savings will purchase a 3-month supply of food and water to serve their current level of demand and lighten the pressure this increased demand is putting on the organization.


Inspired to help?

Please share this post with non-profits in your community and help us spread the news of our Community Relief Fund. Community service organizations will have until May 31 to submit an application. The more organizations that are aware, the greater our ability to help.

Also, if you are looking for investment opportunities, consider leveraging your investment dollars for good with our Community Impact Term Deposit.

As a community, we have come together many times to get through hardship and we will do it again.