The basic necessity of healthy food is often taken for granted, but what is easily accessible for some is often out of reach for others.
A $6,500 Valley First Community Endowment grant administered by the First West Foundation is helping the Penticton & District Community Resources Society (PDCRS) provide nutrition to some of the most vulnerable community members, low-income families and youth.
Through its Nutritional Enhancement Project for Penticton Childcare Continuum, PDCRS is increasing nutrition and food security for young families and youth, as well as providing nutrition education to further improve quality of life.
The project targets youth care and support with programs such as the Penticton After School Program, Hand in Hand Infant Toddler Centre and Little Triumphs Early Childhood Centre.
“There are about 175 children benefiting from these programs, and we have seen wonderful results,” said Tanya Behardien, executive director of PDCRS. “Children are provided with a healthy morning meal, they are learning new skills and having fun. And, they are engaged in cooking and nutrition education. Young families and parents are less stressed and many have expressed their gratitude for the program.”
Last year, Valley First contributed $2,000 towards a kitchen upgrade for the nutrition enhancement program. The most recent grant will assist with food costs for PDCRS initiatives as well as provide needed supplies to maximize the use of the kitchen facility.
“Helping families with their nutritional needs is paramount to a healthy community,” said Seline Kutan, executive director of First West Foundation.
“We are not only happy to support the nutrition and education of the children in the programs, but also to relieve some stress for parents and families.”
The Valley First Community Endowment was created in 2010 with an initial $1 million donation from Valley First as a lasting legacy of community support. Each year, First West Credit Union donates a portion of its profits to grow the endowment. Since establishment, $82,000 in grants have been presented to charities and initiatives helping children, families and youth at risk of hunger throughout Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valley communities.