The Federal Emergency Community Support Fund provided $350 million of support for communities across Canada in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic — including more than $630,000 to help people in the Kamloops area. The fund included $635,000 that was allocated for Thompson-Nicola and Cariboo region United Way.
There were 44 different programs that were funded through agencies throughout the region, said Katie Neustaeter, interim executive director for United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo.
In Kamloops that included funding for A Way Home Kamloops, Kamloops Food Bank Society, The Mustard Seed Foundation and Volunteer Kamloops, among others.
“It was a really fast turnaround process,” Neustaeter said.
“The organizations could start using that money right away.”
Neustaeter said the fund has been able to meet a variety of needs in the region, with everything from vulnerable seniors to people with food insecurity, and even COVID-19 specific needs.
The amounts were allocated to each community based on population, and there was a portion of the original funding that was originally held back to have time to assess where needs might be the greatest.
For example, the United Way Thompson Nicola Cariboo originally received just over $400,000, but then received a further $200,000 after the scope of the need here was assessed.
“We’re grateful to have been given this opportunity,” Neustater said.
Cathy McLeod, Member of Parliament for Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo, also praised the funding.
“The boost of funding for those serving the most vulnerable is welcome news for our communities,” she said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our local economy very hard and coming amidst a softwood lumber crisis made this time even more difficult.”