United Way Powell River and District has received a $30,000 grant from Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.
United Way, with support from First Credit Union, Senior Citizens Association of BC Branch 49 and Powell River Assist has approved a series of financial contributions to support the community’s senior population. The contributions are being coordinated by Elisa Renick, coordinator of Powell River Assist.
Renick said Powell River Assist has taken on some varying initiatives, one of them being food security for seniors in the community.
According to a media release, the first seniors-focused program to be supported is a frozen meal program originally developed and implemented by Gene Jamieson in 2017. Jamieson, past president of the seniors association, started the meal program in 2017 when she became aware of the need for nourishing, precooked meals for seniors. The media release stated she has also learned that a significant number of seniors in Powell River live below the poverty level and this funding will be a big help for them.
The funding from United Way will provide 600 free meals for seniors in need. Renick is working with organizations and individuals to distribute the meal coupons to seniors in need, according to the release. Similar support for seniors will be made available on Texada Island and Lasqueti Island with a goal of supporting existing seniors-focused programs while addressing emerging needs.
CARP, formerly the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, has stated that up to 10 per cent of seniors in Canada are subjected to some form of abuse: financial, verbal, physical or isolation. The release stated that unfortunately, history indicates that senior abuse also increases significantly during a pandemic or natural disaster. Funds from the grant will be used to communicate through social media, radio, print and mail drops all resources that are available to mitigate adult abuse in our communities. In addition, a wallet-sized card, which has contact numbers for community support agencies, will be available to all seniors in qathet Regional District.
“Too often, family members and friends may think abuse is occurring but are uncertain as to what to do,” the release stated. “A workshop will be held to help Powell River residents recognize signs of adult abuse. This will be offered by the BC Community Response Network through their program called It’s Not Right.”
Financial support has also been allocated to assist seniors to purchase food, cleaning supplies or prescriptions. Coupons will be made available for local pharmacies and distributed through community organizations such as inclusion Powell River’s Better at Home Program, the Community Resource Centre, Powell River Hospice Society, Vancouver Coastal Health, Senior Citizens Association Branch 49 Powell River and a home visitation program, as well as the Lasqueti Last Resort Society and Texada Seniors Outreach program.
“We intend to try and make a great impact on our seniors community,” said Renick.