New Westminster is blessed to be a community with an abundance of organizations and individuals who aim to make the community a better place for all citizens.
Local non-profits have long contributed to the wellbeing of the community in various ways, whether it’s helping to feed the city’s most vulnerable citizens or providing arts and seniors programs. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, non-profits have had to figure out ways of safely offering their much-needed programs and services.
Since 1996, the Record has published a Guide to Giving every December to help connect community members to some of the New West-based non-profits – some old, some new – that help to make the city a better place to live for all citizens. Here are some of the local organizations in need of your support during the holiday season – and beyond.
CENTURY HOUSE ASSOCIATION
What it does: Century House Association offers a variety of programs and services to local seniors. This includes the Senior Peer Counselling program, which has dedicated, trained senior volunteers providing support to their peers. Trained volunteers will support people through life transitions, such as bereavement, loneliness/isolation due to a move, loss of friends or health, as well as caregivers who need to talk to an empathetic listener, etc.
Wish list: The Century House Association relies on financial donations to run Senior Peer Counselling and other programs for seniors.
Contact: To donate to the Senior Peer Counselling or other programs, call 604-519-1066. You can go to www.centuryhouseassociation.com, click on the Donate Now button, which will give you a choice of where to direct your donation under the Fund section. (Any seniors wanting to speak to a peer counsellor can call 604-519-1064 extension 1 and leave a message for the counselling support consultant who will call you, listen to your concern and connect you with an experienced senior peer counselor.)
DON’T GO HUNGRY
What it does: The Don’t Go Hungry Food Program, launched earlier this year, is a food hamper program that distributes dry goods and perishable food on Saturdays at three sites in New Westminster and one site in South Burnaby. The sites, including Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Church in Queensborough, Knox Presbyterian Church in Sapperton and St. Aidan’s Presbyterian Church in the West End are now feeding between 500 and 600 people every week.
Wish list: The Don’t Go Hungry food program welcomes donations – $45 can be used to purchase one quality shopping buggy of items; $10 will purchase one hamper for a couple for a week; $20 will purchase one hamper for a family of four for a week; and $30 will purchase a hamper for a large family. Other donations that are appreciated include: new gloves, hats, and socks for various ages; used laptops or iPads; diapers (Size 5 and 6 in particular); feminine hygiene products; and coupons for turkey/chicken/fish purchases or other festive food for the holidays from local grocery stores.
Contact: Visit www.dontgohungry.ca or Facebook/Twitter at Dontgohungry.
FAMILY SERVICES OF GREATER VANCOUVER
What it does: Family Services of Greater Vancouver works to build stronger families, support youth in overcoming homelessness, end violence against women, children and seniors and develop more inclusive communities through a wide variety of programs. For families, seniors and youth faced with financial hardships, the holiday season can be a difficult time; Family Services’ clients are struggling with poverty, housing challenges, trauma – and more.
Wish list: Each December, the Caring Neighbours holiday campaign brings together individuals, families and organizations to support New West families and seniors in need by providing gifts and food for the holidays. Family Services has 200 families that need assistance through this year's campaign; the program will provide them with gift cards for the essentials and holiday treats.
Contact: To make a donation email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit caringneighbours.ca to make a donation.
FRASER RIVER DISCOVERY CENTRE
What it does: Fraser River Discovery Centre, located at 788 Quayside Dr., is an interpretive centre related to the Fraser River. FRDC works to “be the voice of the Fraser” by presenting the stories of the Fraser River and its contributions to the life, history and future of British Columbia. It offers programs, a resource centre and exhibits.
Wish list: FRDC welcomes donations (of any amount) to help it to provide: fun, interactive exhibits and activities for visitors of all ages; River School programs for students and teachers; celebratory events like RiverFest; and informative events like Faces of the Fraser and Fraser River Dialogues.
Contact: Visit www.fraserriverdiscovery.org or call 604-521-8401.
IMPACT PARKINSON’S SOCIETY
What it does: IMPACT Parkinson’s Society was created to make an impact on the quality of life for people living with Parkinson’s and their families and friends by offering programs that focus on mind, body and soul. Its centre had to close in June, but the society continues to offers programs, workshops and events (online or in-person if possible) and to raise funds in support of Parksinson’s.
Wish list: Financial donations are always welcomed and appreciated, as they will help ensure IMPACT has the resources in place to support existing programs and to develop and deliver new programming for individuals and families living with Parkinson’s.
Contact: Go to www.impactparkinsons.com, call 604-525-2631 or email email@example.com for more information.
LOOKOUT HOUSING AND HEALTH SOCIETY
What it does: Lookout provides a continuum of housing to homeless and under-housed individuals in 15 communities in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, including a number of services in New Westminster. Lookout’s services include outreach, Housing First, and community resource centres that include food security programs and connections to services, shelters, supportive and affordable housing. It also manages I’s on the Street, a clean-up program in downtown New West.
Wish list: At Christmas, Lookout gives out more than 2,800 gifts to tenants in its shelter, housing, health and outreach programs. The society relies on new clothing donations such as jackets, pants and sweaters, new socks and underwear for men and women. Year-round, Lookout accepts donations for men and women, such as new and gently-used clothing, coats, blankets, rain gear, socks and scarves, as well as personal care items (such as soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste), bus tickets and items to help folks set up a new home (such as bedding, towels, cleaning supplies, small appliances and kitchen items.)
Contact: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.lookoutsociety.ca.
LOWER MAINLAND PURPOSE SOCIETY
What it does: The Lower Mainland Purpose Society is a non-profit, community-based, multi-service organization that delivers a continuum of programs to children, youth and families. As part of its 29th Annual Christmas Hamper program in 2020, it will provide items to more than 110 families in the New Westminster, Burnaby and the Tri-Cities, and will gift 100 bags of necessities and goodies to its low-income and homeless clients.
Wish list: Donations of money, gift bag items (such as toiletries, toques, socks, mittens, scarves, small packages of chocolates, individually packaged hot chocolate, canned tuna or meat, cup of soup or other food items that do not require cooking) are appreciated, as are volunteers to help with the door-to-door delivery of the hampers.
Contact: To participate in this year’s hamper program, contact hamper coordinator Pam Bloom at 604-937-7163 or email@example.com, or Ashley at Purpose’s head office at 604-526-2522.
NEW WESTMINSTER ARTISTS
What it is? NWA Society is a non-profit organization managing the New West Artists Gallery on 12th, located at 712C 12th St. The group is committed to encouraging and enhancing the growth of a vibrant arts community, and is unique in that it offers non-juried, inclusive exhibitions for local emerging artists to showcase their art in an affordable, accessible space. The gallery is free to visit Thursdays to Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.
Wish list: Support small businesses in New West by shopping local. The gallery offers original art for every budget, a large selection of art cards, prints and photography, and gift ideas galore including magnets, face masks, jewelry, crystals, bath bombs and more. NWA is always looking for volunteers. Donations are also appreciated – for $40 you can become a member of NWA, for $75 you can become a friend of NWA or for $100 you can become a patron.
Contact: More info is available at newwestartists.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can be sent by e-transfer to email@example.com. To book a private, safe shopping experience at the gallery, call Lavana at 604-525-4566
ROYAL COLUMBIAN HOSPITAL FOUNDATION
What it does: Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation’s mission is to raise money to help the hospital save lives, restore health, and provide comfort to seriously injured and ill patients of all ages.
Wish list: As Royal Columbian Hospital takes on the numerous challenges of COVID-19, the Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation has focused its efforts on helping to ensure front-line healthcare workers and other groups vital to the hospital have the resources and support they need. The foundation has created a COVID-19 response fund to cover the costs of things that make it easier and safer to care for patients. From new medical equipment and initiatives to improve patient and caregiver safety to measures that support mental wellness, donors to the foundation are funding a wide-range of approaches to help the fight against COVID-19.
Contact: Donations can be made online at www.rchfoundation.com or by calling 604-520-4438.
SENIORS SERVICES SOCIETY OF B.C.
What it does: The New West-based non-profit agency has a goal of providing local and provincial programs and services to support vulnerable older adults (aged 60 and up) to live as independently as possible. It has three departments: housing services (includes a temporary housing program, one-on-one housing outreach to seniors who are homeless or at risk, and information about seniors housing); support services, including social, meal, transport and support services for New Westminster seniors to support their independence and wellness in their own home; and community education, which offers training and workshops on the fundamentals of working with an older population. During the pandemic shutdown, the society was designated a Safe Seniors Strong Communities Hub organization, providing volunteer-driven grocery shopping, meals, prescription pick-up or friendly check-in calls to keep seniors connected and safe.
Wish list: The Santa for Seniors program is designed to provide gifts and to bring smiles to local seniors who are least likely to receive a gift during the holiday season. This year’s initiative, which is online at www.seniorsservicessociety.ca, allows people to provide grocery gift cards, meals and necessities for seniors in need. Along with financial donations, the society always needs volunteers for services such as grocery shopping.
Contact: Call 604-520-6621.