We've provided a $4,675 grant to Options Community Services Society for their “First Steps Early Years Settlement Park Play/Newborn Care Project” which provides essential supplies and activities to families while access to normal services and programs are unavailable. In addition, SurreyCares Community Foundation has also provided another $5,000 grant for Options Community Services Society’s “Child Care Resource and Referral Program” for their continued commitment to supporting parents, childcare providers and community through the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is providing free professional development and parent education, with a focus on tackling feelings of isolation, anxiety and the struggles of reopening childcare facilities.
“First Steps families experience multiple barriers at the best of times. Understanding societal norms, feeling confident to access services or being able to understand the terms of services provided can be challenging” said Paula Church, Program Manager at Options Community Services Society. “Numerous First Steps families have not felt comfortable getting out into the community during COVID. Most have been struggling with adjusting to online schooling for their older children while parenting younger children at the same time.”
Sharlene Wedel, Assistant Manager at Options Community Services Society in White Rock explained that, “Since the onset of the pandemic, many licensed childcare centres are temporarily closed. A reduced number of facilities remained open and many are trying to-open to provide emergency childcare services for essential service workers and existing families. Many licensed/regulated home-based childcare providers closed or reduced their numbers of children in care due to public health and safety concerns, or parents withdrawing their children from programs. We value the work of our childcare professionals and recognize they, as well as families, are feeling isolated and anxious during this time We value the work of our childcare professionals and recognize they, as well as families, are feeling isolated and anxious as we continue this. We want to continue to provide our community with the needed tools for success.”
The grants are made possible through the Government of Canada's new $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund, of which over $900,000 was allocated to SurreyCares for services in Surrey and an additional $35,032.00 for grants to charities serving White Rock.
Christine Buttkus, Executive Director of SurreyCares explained that “The childcare sector will have many barriers to overcome in the upcoming months, as childcare providers and schools adapt to COVID-19 practices. These grants will be able to make a huge difference in the lives of child care professionals, children and their families during this unprecedented time.”
"We’re grateful to the Government of Canada for this much-needed boost benefitting local charities," said John Lawson, Chair of SurreyCares. “Charities and non-profit organizations have been leading the charge to assist those who need it most in the fight against COVID-19. We know the need for funding is still significant and we’re continuing to advocate for additional emergency funds.”
Individuals and businesses who wish to support Surrey charities are asked to give to the Surrey Community Relief Fund. In partnership with the Surrey Now-Leader, Surrey Board of Trade and The Saheli Foundation, the goal is to raise $500,000 to support the most vulnerable populations in Surrey.