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All That Kids Can Be - Angela Casey

For the past 41/2 years, Angela Casey has been coming to Family Place in Enderby with her kids. “Some of the moms and I put our heads together to come up with why we like coming to Enderby Family Place” said Angela.  “We came up with a long list of reasons; anything from the kids getting together and learning to share and play; to visiting and having coffee with other moms where we can relax and not think about the dishes, laundry and making meals.  The kids enjoy crafts, colouring, songs, stories, snacks and playdough.  There is a clothing exchange, and Family Place provides information on other community programs and brings the Health Nurse and other professionals in for us and our children.”

“During the warm summer months we enjoy the playground and activities and lunch at the park” said Angela, “The tables are always full at lunch time with homemade soup and chili.  The most delicious biscuits are served! Every Wednesday, I look forward to the relaxation, many laughs and the carefree playing for the kids and social interaction with other moms.  It takes a whole community to raise a child, it's really true and it really does take a community.”

United Way invests in programs like Enderby Family Place to give kids the best start in life possible.

Strong Communities - Faith Loker

Community Kitchens has been operating in the North Okanagan & Shuswap for 20 years. The goal of Community Kitchens is to help people to stretch their food budget by teaching them how to cook nutritious, affordable meals in a group environment. Community Kitchens are 3 hours long and attended by groups of 4-12 people whose ages and abilities range significantly. There are single parents, seniors, young parents, clients of the mental health system who live independently, people with mobility difficulties, grandparents raising their grandchildren, people who access the food bank regularly, and more. They do this with a budget of one dollar per serving which the participants pay.

Faith Loker has been coming to Community Kitchens for a few years. “I enjoy meeting new people and working together on the cooking.” said Faith “it is great to try new foods that I might not try on my own.” Faith cooks for herself, her husband and family which includes grandkids who live with her. Sharing the chopping and cooking makes it possible to make 3 – 5 dishes in the 3 hours.

With 261 participants over the past year both they, and in many cases, their families have benefited. At a recent Community Kitchen one gentleman was there cooking most of the meals for the week for his wife, who is bed-ridden and his teenage son; good healthy food for $1 per serving. Community Kitchens is responsive to what the specific participants want to learn. A group of young parents expressed an interest in learning how to make cheap, and healthy breakfasts for their kids. The instructor taught a session that focused on that topic alone and the parents were thrilled. The groups made baked oatmeal, scrambled egg burritos, smoothies and more. This program will have a direct impact on the health of many young people and it may even help them to stay focused on school and not on their hunger.

“People shouldn’t have to choose between paying the rent and feeding their family” said Linda Yule of United Way “Community Kitchens helps to stretch the food budget and keep families healthy.”

United Way invests in programs like Community Kitchens because healthy people and strong communities matter.

Poverty to Possibility - Jim’s Story

Jim Paduch was a regular working guy for most of his life. Had a good paying job, a wife, family and friends. Then, during the 1980s Jim started using drugs. In order to live the drug life he began selling drugs, Jim spent ten years in the drug sub-culture.

However, as with almost any other job, you need to be able to see to do your job properly, eventually Jim realised that he couldn’t even see well enough to deal drugs. He had cataracts and was not making enough money to feed himself and his wife. “We were sleeping on the floor of a dingy old trailer with four other people. We began going to the Upper Room Mission because we needed to eat. “said Jim.

Once Jim started coming to the Upper Room Mission regularly, the staff offered him opportunities to volunteer around the place and they would provide him with food that he could take home for himself and the others he was living with. “I realised that life as a drug dealer was going nowhere and made the decision to quit that life.” Said Jim “The staff at the Upper Room Mission gave me purpose, and direction, and helped make the arrangements to get my cataracts fixed.” Bit by bit, he became a valuable volunteer, he started filling in as the truck driver for a couple of months and it turned into a year. The Upper Room Mission then offered Jim an opportunity to run their bottle return program as part of the Fresh Start Guest Work Program funded by United Way. This great program has now become partially self-sustaining. The Upper Room Mission’s Fresh Start Guest Work Program now has 3 clients employed and another 4 volunteering. Jim has now moved up to working full time as the receiver for the Upper Room Boutique Thrift Shop, has a nice townhouse to live in, and truly has been given a fresh start.

Change starts here with people moving from poverty to possibility with the support of United Way.

Lincoln Park Apartments