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Charity in qathet region provides financial relief to families

Child health crises expenses covered by nonprofit organization
[From left] River Kids board of directors Holly Barnes, Cait Holmes, Dan Buckland and Tanya La Fave.

Founded in July 2021, River Kids is a nonprofit society located in the qathet region that aims to alleviate financial stress for families facing child health crises. The society covers costs such as transportation, accommodations away from home and other unexpected medical expenses, which can add up quickly.

Since its inception, the charity has impacted seven families in the region through donations and sponsorships from the community. This assistance helps keep families together during one of the most difficult times they may face. River Kids also helps pay for funeral costs in the event of a child’s death.

Eligibility is simple. Anyone with a child aged 18 years or younger facing a health crisis, who lives in the qathet area and needs financial assistance, can submit an application by email to

Holly Barnes, a board member for River Kids, explains that the charity was established to provide financial aid to families facing medical expenses.

“Our goal is just to financially help as many people as we possibly can, as fast as we can,” explains Barnes. “That’s what we’ve been doing for the past two years. It’s such an amazing cause that my heart couldn’t say no.”

It takes a lot of money to fund families through River Kids, and donations can be made through the website, or by cash or cheque, she adds.

The cost of having a sick child can be astronomical, and many families are required to be away from home for weeks, months or even a year at a time to have access to specialized medical care. While parents are at their child’s bedside, bills at home continue to come in, adding to the stress of families already in crisis.

“It’s nice to be able to provide this service to the community because there was such a need,” says Barnes. “Every community should have something like this. The work that [River Kids founder] Cait Holmes is doing is really, really important.”

Support can also be provided through purchasing a ticket for an upcoming Gatsby Gala, which, according to Barnes, is an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate the work of River Kids. The event will feature a themed party, with attendees asked to dress up in 1920s attire.

The fundraising gala will take place on Saturday, May 13, and feature the big brass swing group Supersonic Hearts Band, gourmet catering, a silent auction, signature cocktails and a live painting. The event is expected to be a success, with donations and sponsorships pouring in from the community.

The gala will be a chance for the community to come together and celebrate the important work of River Kids. Tickets can be purchased at the Peak or online at (search for Great Gatsby Fundraising Gala in benefit of River Kids).

Volunteers are a crucial part of the organization’s success. River Kids encourages people to join its team by filling out the volunteer registration form at Volunteers are needed to help plan and set up events, run events and assist with the day-to-day running of the organization.

River Kids also extends a huge thank-you to generous community members for helping support local children and families.

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