Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new funding for the charities and non-profits April 21 – but not the billions he has offered for others sectors, and it won’t go far enough to help many groups.
He promised “an investment of $350 million to support vulnerable Canadians through charities and non-profit organizations that deliver essential services to those in need.”
The funds will support such activities as:
- Volunteer-based home delivery of groceries and medications.
- Transportation services, such as those driving seniors or persons with disabilities to appointments.
- Scaling up help lines that provide information and support.
- Helping vulnerable Canadians access government benefits.
- Delivering training and supplies to volunteers.
- Replacing in-person, one-on-one contact and social gatherings with virtual contact through telephone, texts, teleconferences or the Internet.
A CBC News story quoted one expert who knows the Christian charitable / non-profit section well:
Brian Dijkema of the Christian-based policy organization Cardus said the program announced today will help many community groups, while others will receive no government assistance.
He said a dollar-for-dollar matching program would be more equitable and easier to administer.
“As the government crafts the next stages of support for the most vulnerable in Canada, it should pursue a matching model that leverages its financial capacity to encourage all Canadians to support their fellow citizens,” he said.
In a series of tweets following the announcement, Dijkema said:
- One question: how is the gov’t is going to allocate those funds? Funds are limited; the need is huge. I understand the desire to not have certain charities (e.g. Heart and Stroke) hoover up all the money, but questions about how these funds can be equitably distributed remain.
- Let’s assume that the $350m is distributed equally across each province, with smaller amounts going to territories. Let’s say $30m per province, & about $17m per territory. Now divide that by major cities (3 per province, say), & you’ve got $3m per city. Significantly ltd funds!
- Those funds are going to go to the best connected charities in those cities. This isn’t taking anything away from the Red Cross, United Way or Community Foundations (all of which do amazing work!) but it does show the real limits of the government’s approach here.
Dijkema has focused on the issue for more than a month now, and has been quoted fairly widely by the media.
Charities in need
I have been receiving emails from a number of non-profit / charities which are suffering, even as they continue their good work. I am particularly concerned about some of the groups which work with at-risk populations. For example:
* M2/W2 Restorative Christian Ministries
The M2/W2 Association has for decades visited prisoners and kept in contact with them when they are released. Thy recently began a NOLA (No One Leaves Alone) program to offer prisoners support as they transition to life outside of prison.
But all of that has now changed. They recently wrote:
To help limit the spread of COVID-19, Correctional Services of Canada (CSC) and BC Corrections closed all federal and provincial institutions to visitors and volunteers. Presently, the only way for people in BC prisons to contact friends and family is through phone and video. Thankfully, CSC has waived the cost of phone calls while visits are on hold.
Prisoners are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. For example, 65 inmates and 12 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution alone.
M2/W2 has been forced to close its Hidden Treasures Thrift Stores in Abbotsford and Chilliwack, thus depriving the ministry of considerable financial support and removing the opportunity to mentor former inmates.
I have written about some of the refugee ministries which are suffering from lack of funds over the past few weeks – Journey Home, Kinbrace, New Hope – but there are many other groups carrying out a wide range of good works which are in the same boat.
Following are just a handful of good news stories I have noticed, all of which are very much in keeping with these churches’ normal activities:
North Shore Grocery Shop
An April 21 Province story included North Shore Alliance in its rundown of many good works going on around the region:
The North Shore Alliance Church has been running a Grocery Shop Program for North Vancouver’s most vulnerable citizens. It is offering grocery shopping for seniors and those in isolation or quarantine who should not be going to the store.
Pastor Dave Sattler says those in need can call 604-984-6422 and a shopper will call them back in the next 24 – 48 hours to set up a shop.
Users who are able, can pay. Those who can’t, the church is offering up to $100 per individual for the month of April.
Blood donors are needed more than ever these days, and many churches are offering space for clinics, including:
* North Lonsdale Church, North Vancouver
* Peace Mennonite Church, Richmond
* Blue Mountain Baptist Church, Coquitlam
* All Saints Catholic Church, Coquitlam
* Evangelical Chinese Bible Church, Port Coquitlam
* Maple Ridge Alliance Church
* Star of the Sea Catholic Church, White Rock
* Willoughby Christian Reformed Church, Langley
* Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley
* Church in the Valley, Langley
Other churches – Westside, TriCity and First Baptist, for example – are holding Blood Drives. The latter states on its website:
There is always a need for blood donations – and this is especially true during COVID-19. Giving blood is a tangible way the Church can serve our community in this time – so we’re doing a Blood Drive along with other churches in the Lower Mainland. We want to encourage those who are able to book an appointment to give blood in April or May.
The Globe & Mail featured Baptist Housing in an April 16 story: ‘A look at Vancouver-area care homes that are dealing well with coronavirus outbreaks.’
Here is the beginning of the story:
Marc Kinna was curled up with his wife watching a cop show when he got a call notifying him that a care aide at the West Vancouver nursing home run by his non-profit society had tested positive for COVID-19.
The worker’s last shift at the 230-bed facility was a week earlier, March 21, but the outbreak protocol for Baptist Housing was put in place immediately and a team from the Vancouver Coastal Health authority was on the ground within 24 hours, Mr. Kinna said.
A similar squad from the Fraser Health Authority was deployed last month at his organization’s Evergreen Heights assisted-living complex in White Rock, B.C., when a resident tested positive for the virus after a doctor’s visit over what the resident thought was a common sore throat.
At both sites, only one person was confirmed to have caught the highly infectious virus and both are now close to or fully recovered, he said. The West Vancouver nursing home lifted its outbreak protocol April 3, he said, and the White Rock facility should lift its own next week some time. . . .
Go here for the full story.
St. Thomas: Good Neighbours
St. Thomas Anglican Church in southeast Vancouver was recently recognized for its good works both before and after the pandemic. Randy Murray reported on the Anglican Diocesan website that Rev. Michael Batten was contacted earlier this month.
Murray quoted at length from the notification by Shelley Jorde, director of seniors’ programs and food initiatives, South Vancouver Neighbourhood House.
Here is a portion:
I am writing this email on behalf of the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC and the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House to congratulate St. Thomas for being awarded a 2020 corporate Good Neighbour Award.
The Good Neighbour Awards were developed in 1984 to acknowledge the valuable work of volunteers and to reflect the Association of Neighbourhood Houses of BC’s commitment to making neighbourhoods better places in which to live. The Corporate Good Neighbour Award acknowledges an agency that has made a significant contribution to the community through their support of neighbourhood house activities. . . .
As part of the nomination process I submitted the following description of your efforts . . .
. . . Their support to the SVNH goes beyond fundraising as we work collaboratively with their Outreach Committee who have helped us to secure space at the Church to offer activities that build social connections. Their tireless efforts have allowed us to offer new programs such as the monthly Community Dinner and ESL Conversation Circles.
Most recently, SVNH has been the beneficiary of the church’s Lenten project, with funds being donated to help us address some of the food insecurity challenges that have been the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. . . .
Go here for the full story.
And another positive note from Anglican quarters. Archbishop Melissa Skelton struck a cautiously optimistic note in terms of re-occupying church buildings in the Diocese of New Westminster. She began:
After consulting with many in the Diocese and with the Provincial Health Officer’s updates in mind, I am extending the time for the suspension of in-person worship in our churches into June. For now, I am setting Sunday, June 14 as the date by which we might move back into our church buildings for in-person worship. Keeping this date will, of course, very much depend on what the Provincial Health Officer provides in both the written directives and in the daily updates all of us are watching. . . .
Go here for the full statement.
Apr 2020Canadian Youth Worker Prayer Call (every Friday) – April 17, 2020 - April 24, 2020 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Postponed: Spiritual Care Series: Caring for Aging Seniors (Thursday mornings) – April 23, 2020 at 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
Webinar: Social Isolation & Political Tribalism – Reversed Now, or Intensified? – April 23, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Webinar: Moral & Ethical Choice in Video Games – Are My Games Corrupting Me While I Shelter at Home? – April 23, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Virtual Cafe A Rocha – April 24, 2020 at 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Global Prayer for Tech – April 24, 2020 at 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Cancelled: Loreto Aramendi Concert – April 24, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Postponed: Everyday Theology Seminar: Share a Meal, – April 25, 2020 at 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Virtual Earth Day 2020: Uniting from Home, with Katharine Hayhoe – April 25, 2020 at 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Cancelled: Spirit(us): The Baroque Mentorship Orchestra – April 25, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Good Seed Sunday – April 26, 2020 at All Day
Coronavirus and the book of Job with John Walton – April 27, 2020 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Missional Commons Webinar: God and Neighbour – April 28, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Virtual Event: Business as Calling – Speaker Donna Cheung – April 30, 2020 at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Missional Commons Webinar: God and Neighbour – April 30, 2020 at 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Reaching Your World: How to Share Hope During Social Distancing – April 30, 2020 at 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
May 2020Virtual Book Launch with David Taylor – May 1, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Livestream with Graham Ord – May 1, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Postponed: Faith and Work Conference: Knowing Your Why in Life & Work – May 2, 2020 at 8:30 am - 3:00 pm
Webinar: A Call For Christian Marketplace Leaders: Facing The Economic Challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic – May 6, 2020 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Webinar: Creating an Environment of Hospitality on Alpha – May 7, 2020 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Online Event: 'Round the Kitchen Table, hosted by Journey Home – May 7, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 7:45 pm
A Rocha Volunteer Day – May 9, 2020 at 9:30 am - 2:00 pm
Life Week – May 11, 2020 - May 15, 2020 at All Day
Livestream: Iwan Russell-Jones: God in the Painted Caves – Prehistoric Art & the Quest for Meaning – May 11, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Missional Commons Webinar: What Do We Want to Bring With Us? – May 12, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Postponed: Pat Barratt: Build My Life Worship Nights – May 12, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Conservative Leadership Candidates by Zoom – May 13, 2020 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Livestream: Amanda Russell-Jones: Sister in the Wilderness – Hagar in Art, Music & Literature – May 13, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Virtual National March for Life – May 14, 2020 at 12:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Missional Commons Webinar: What Do We Want to Bring With Us? – May 14, 2020 at 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Cancelled: The Trip to Bountiful by Horton Foote – May 15, 2020 at All Day
Free Income Tax Service (Tuesday & Saturday mornings) – May 15, 2020 at 9:30 am - 2:00 pm
LIvestream: Darrell Bock: Mind the Gap – From Living Event to Gospel Story – May 18, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Virtual Night of Power Prayer Meeting – May 19, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Alpha for Youth Webinar: Reaching Your Friends, With Ben and Jason – May 20, 2020 at 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Postponed: The Road to Healing: an evening with Kim Phuc Phan Thi – May 20, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Livestream: Diane Stinton: Immanuel, Image of God –Aspects of Popular Christology in Sub-Saharan Africa – May 20, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Alpha Canada Webinar: Prayer, Leadership and Evangelism in a Season of Separation – May 21, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Webinar: Hope in the Midst of Crises – COVID-19, Climate Action and Faith – May 21, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Cancelled: HistoryMaker Weekend 2020 – May 22, 2020 - May 24, 2020 at 6:00 pm - 12:30 pm
Cancelled: Do Justice, Love Mercy – May 22, 2020 - May 23, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Ecumenical Faith Break: Together in the Risen Lord – May 23, 2020 at 10:00 am - 11:15 am
Virtual Book Launch: 'Exiles on Mission: How Christians Can Thrive in a Post-Christian World' – May 25, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Livestream: Gordon T. Smith: The Trinity & the Shape of Christian Worship – May 25, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Livestream: Joshua Coutts: Living According to the Lord's Day: The Formative Role of Worship in Early Christianity – May 27, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Leading into our New Future: Canada's Recovery Plan and Christian Charities – May 28, 2020 at 9:30 am - 10:30 am
Virtual Book Launch: 'To Think Christianly: A History of L'Abri, Regent College and the Christian Study Center Movment' – May 28, 2020 at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Virtual Event: Business as Calling: Speaker Josh Davis – May 28, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Walk in the Spirit of Reconciliation – May 29, 2020 - May 31, 2020 at All Day
Postponed: Centreing Prayer Mini Retreat – May 29, 2020 at 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Together in One Place: An Online Ecumenical Prayer Service for Pentecost – May 30, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Postponed: Crystal Hicks: Stand Up for Something – May 30, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Postponed: Crystal Hicks: Stand Up for Something – May 30, 2020 at 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Awaken BC: Arise and Seek the Lord! – May 31, 2020 at All Day
Day of Prayer for Camp – May 31, 2020 at All Day
International Day for the Unreached – May 31, 2020 at All Day