May 10, 2019 7:58 pm
Updated: May 15, 2019 6:31 pm

Okanagan family centre makes urgent appeal

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It supports hundreds of families every year, but now the Kelowna-based centre is in need of support.

Called the Central Okanagan Family Hub, the centre operates out of Pearson Road Elementary School in Kelowna’s Rutland area.

“It’s a much needed service in the community,” said Katelin Mitchell, director of services for KCR Community Resources.

“It’s an opportunity to bring a number of family serving agencies together all in one place as a one-stop-shop to be able to support families in our community.”

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The centre provides support by connecting families, many who are new to Kelowna, providing a place for children to play and offering referrals to the many social agencies in the Central Okanagan.

“There is a large number of different service providers and lots of different options for service, and sometimes people are not even sure what it is they need,” Mitchell said.

The centre also provides a compassionate ear to families going through hard times.

Lijie Qiu moved to Kelowna from China two years ago and uses the centre, along with her three-year-old daughter Hailey, frequently.

“When I came here, I had no friends you know and I don’t know this community,” she told Global News. “So it offers me a lot of information and gives kids a place to play.”

Lijie Qiu and her daughter Hailey are frequent users of the Family Hub. The family moved from China two years ago and have come to depend on the centre for a number of services.

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But the Family Hub is running out of money and is at risk of having to shut down.

“The reality is if we can’t secure enough funding, we may have to close our doors,” Mitchell said.

The Family Hub opened three years ago thanks to a one-time $300,000 donation. It has also been receiving about $50,000 annually from the provincial government, but this year’s application for a government grant was rejected.

On Friday morning, a five-week fundraising campaign was launched. It’s hoped the community steps forward to help.

“We are appealing to the community,” said Rob Zoppi, Pearson Road Elementary principal and education consultant for the Family Hub.

“First and foremost is to make a donation, every little bit helps, whether it is $5, $10, corporations, business, whatever you have it will make a difference for us getting to our goal and keeping our doors open while we look for sustainable funding into the future,”

The goal is to raise $100,000 during a campaign billed as “A lot for a little”.

“This is really a grassroots cause,” Mitchell said. “There’s an opportunity to help a large number of families.

“We do a lot for a little, so I think it is important. It is a great opportunity to continue to support families.

Click here if you would like more information or to donate.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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