1 in 5 children in BC grow up in poverty, and Penticton has one of the highest child poverty rates in the province. First West Foundation has been helping Penticton & District Community Resources Society (PDCRS) lower this statistic and build food security for youth in the South Okanagan with $31,300 in Valley First community endowment grants over the last four years. In 2015, FWF gave $11,400 specifically towards the Penticton Hand in Hand Infant Toddler Centre and Keremeos Childcare Centre to support food security and childcare programs.
“Without financial advocacy, such as grants from Valley First and First West Foundation, we wouldn’t be able to operate these programs and impact as many youth as we do,” says Tanya Behardien, PDCRS executive director. “Helping families and youth with their nutritional needs is paramount, and together we are creating healthy and strong communities with opportunities for all.”
Hand in Hand is a partnership between PDCRS and School District #67 that supports teen parents to go back to school by offering food security and full daycare for newborn babies until age three. Operating year-round, the program provides care for children while parents are in school, and feeds both parents and kids healthy breakfasts, lunches, snacks, formula for infants, and if possible, extra groceries for at-home nutritious meals.
“I am very thankful Hand in Hand has implemented a breakfast program for the older sibling of the children attending. I have used this program often, as I am a single mom with five children attending college and finances are tight. With this program my children have had many healthy breakfasts. I think this program is amazing and very helpful to low income families that struggle day to day. This program is very beneficial to the children, as breakfast is the most important meal of the day and with this, these children can have a great start to their day.”
– Hand in Hand program participant and young mother
In the community of Keremeos, the Keremeos Childcare Centre staff see children come to daycare with little or no healthy snacks to get them through the day. With the Valley First community endowment grant, PDCRS supplies food and snacks at the centre to provide for hungry kids and support families’ needs year-round.
The Keremeos and Penticton programs serve approximately 175 at-risk children and support more than 120 families, feeding hunger, fueling minds, and forging communities across the South Okanagan.
About Penticton & District Community Resources Society
PDCRS has been providing quality supports and services to communities through the South Okanagan/Similkameen for nearly 50 years. From care for newborn babies to transportation to seniors, we are proud to serve over 600 individuals and their families every day.
Tanya Behardien, Executive Director, PDCRS