After a successful $10k fundraiser during the holiday season, the Naramata Child Development Centre will continue to offer its services to the community. (Photo courtesy of the Naramata Child Development Centre)

After a successful $10k fundraiser during the holiday season, the Naramata Child Development Centre will continue to offer its services to the community. (Photo courtesy of the Naramata Child Development Centre)

Naramata Child Development Centre lives Christmas miracle, raises more than $10k

Naramata’s only child care centre needed to raise $10k by Dec. 31 after declaring ‘critical situation’

It felt like a Christmas miracle to Will van Middendorp who on Boxing Day found out the Naramata Child Development Centre had reached its goal of raising $10k before Dec. 31.

The not-for-profit organization declared the situation critical on Dec. 16 amid the centre’s staffing shortage.

According to van Middendorp, Naramata’s only child care centre was unable to retain staff, pay benefits and provide vacation time to its employees.

But as the saying goes, it took a village (Naramata Village) to raise a child.

With the support from NaramataSlow, Penticton’s Cannery Brewing, other local businesses and individuals, the centre was able to surpass its fundraising goal for 2021 and ensure its services will continue in 2022.

“There were many local wineries and coffee makers and others who all contributed,” van Middendorp said. “That really is the community feel that we stand for and we are so blessed for all generous donations and having the public want to help out.”

On Dec. 23 the centre received a substantial donation, solidifying that the organization would surpass its fundraising goal of $10k.

Along with local businesses supporting the cause and the substantial gift from one particular donor, van Middendorp was stunned to see how the community came together to make the centre’s dream come true.

“It’s a small community where people saw the value in the Naramata Child Development Centre and put their efforts in whether it was a small or large donation,” he explained. “People rallied together and it was definitely a Christmas miracle.”

The organization struggled to attract qualified staff prior to its holiday fundraiser. That struggle, along with having a lean budget, a lack of affordable housing around them and the ongoing pandemic, forced the centre to describe their situation as critical.

As a result of the newly-found $10k, however, van Middendorp says that he and his team can now offer benefit packages to current and new employees.

“We’ve had interviews with two individuals, one from Summerland and one from Penticton, and both of them really needed the health-care benefit side of things,” he explained. “We just couldn’t offer it at that time, but being able to now add that into the mix puts us in a little bit of a better spot.”

The community’s only child care centre has served Naramata for over 40 years.

But in the eyes of van Middendorp, closing the doors to the building can’t ever be an option.

“I have two young kids, I’m a father myself,” he said.

“I need us to keep our doors open. Children are our livelihood and if you close that down, what is there to attract young families to our community? I hope with being able to continue our program and hopefully doubling our numbers with qualified staff, we can attract more young families to join us and be part of this.”

READ MORE: ‘Critical situation’: Naramata Child Development Centre in urgent need of $10k


@lgllockhart
logan.lockhart@pentictonwesternnews.com

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