KTW Christmas Cheer Fund: A Seed that blossoms into hope

Though its name has changed a few times, The Mustard Seed New Life Community has always been focused on bringing hope to the hungry, hurting and homeless.

New Life’s merger with The Mustard Seed, a non-profit organization from Alberta, means the group will be able to do even more.

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“As The Mustard Seed, we’re very excited to be here in Kamloops and working with New Life Community and seeing how we can improve and enlarge and add new programming to the already existing stuff that they’ve been doing,” said Boris Lesar, director of clinical operations and programs.

The organization runs recovery programs, does day programs for those in need and operates a thrift store, a barber shop and a dental clinic.

But perhaps the biggest feature of The Mustard Seed New Life Community is the lunch program.

It provides a healthy, nutritious meal every day to those who would otherwise be able to fill their bellies.

It’s to that program that KTW Christmas Cheer Fund money will be dedicated, with a renovation to the kitchen. Updates will allow the group to serve more meals and more efficiently.

Lesar said being able to get a good, nutritious meal is vital for ensuring people can function better.

“That way, you can start working on some other areas of your life, perhaps your addiction or perhaps you can start thinking about getting a job and moving into sustainability,” he said.

With locations in Edmonton, Calgary, and Red Deer, this is the first time that The Mustard Seed has worked with a location in B.C.

“We’re also very strong in housing, we’re very strong in health and wellness, we’re very strong in employment, helping people find sustainable jobs, so we want to bring all of that to Kamloops as well,” Lesar said.

Jeff Arlitt, the organization’s outreach centre supervisor, welcomes The Mustard Seed’s arrival.

“Nothing has really changed too much since The Mustard Seed has come on and merged with us,” Arlitt said.

“If anything, it’s just gotten a lot better and we’re looking forward to some new programs and new things going on in the future.”

Doors are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Along with daily lunches, dinners are served on Monday and Friday nights.

While Cheer Fund money will help with kitchen upgrades, Lesar said the social agency is still hoping for the pubic to help in other ways.

“People can always get involved,” he said. “There’s lots of volunteering options.”

Donations of cash and items such as tuques, gloves, coats and blankets are welcome.

“It’s getting cold,” Lesar said.

Donations can be dropped off at the outreach centre downtown at 181 Victoria St. West. Information on volunteering is available online at theseed.ca.

HERE'S HOW TO HELP A GREAT CAUSE

Charities being supported this year include the Y Women’s Emergency Shelter, Out of the Cold shelter, The Mustard Seed New Life Community, Kamloops Brain Injury Association and Boys and Girls Club’s Falcon Program.

To donate, go online to kamloopsthisweek.com/cheer or visit the KTW office, 1365B Dalhousie Dr. in Southgate. Office hours are Mondays to Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

All donations collected will be held by the United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo for distribution in January. Online receipts will be issued immediately by the United Way; cash donations will generate receipts in January.

Thank you, Kamloops This Week readers!

During the KTW Christmas Cheer campaign, we will recognize donors, along with a running tally:

THANK YOU, DONORS!

• St. John Vianney Friday Afternoon Bridge Club: $100

• In Memory of Peter Botham: $100

• Valerie Brown: $100

• ND McGowan: $100

• KTW Social Fund: $321

• Kamloops This Week: $2,070

• Anonymous: $100

• Anna Evenrude: $50

• John and Val Kemp: $100

• Spencer and Janet Bryson: $200

• The Posse: $100

• Irene Anderson: $20

• Lynne Totten: $100

• Marg Clements: $100

• Anonymous: $500

• Darren, Sharlene & Kyle McIlwain: $158

• Tracey Mourre: $20

• Rick & Judy Collinge: $100

• Anonymous: $25

Tom & Sharon Moore: $100

• Amy Regen: $100

Wally & Wendy Reddeman: $75

Jerry & Wendy Patrick: $100

Rick Bennett: $50

Teresa & Colman Byrne: $200

Anonymous: $100

Evelyn Meyer: $60

Buzz & Jane Osterloh: $100

Anonymous: $200

Anonymous: $320

TOTAL TO DATE: $5,569

© Kamloops This Week

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